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So you’ve got your wish, and Mum, Dad, your partner or just your own credit card has given you the Christmas present you wanted – a shiny slap of Apple’s finest. The thing is that, making that initial investment is just the beginning of a slippery slope of potentially endless accessory buying. Once upon a time, your iPod used to come with everything you needed, but that’s not so any more.
With the iPod’s famously sensitive shell a good case is an essential addition. Once you’ve sorted that out, then I suggest you pick up Gear4’s BluEye – to steal my own thunder it’s fantastic.
What’s great about the BluEye is that it’s actually three devices in one, all of which are genuinely useful enhancements for your iPod. It enables you to receive and make phone calls without having to even take your phone out of your pocket, it has an FM radio and it also acts as a remote control. After just a few minutes I honestly wondered how I’d got by without it. It works with the 5th gen iPods, the mini, and 1st and 2nd gen nanos. It also works with the iPod photo, but not mono screened 4th gens.
The BluEye itself is about the size of an iPod shuffle with an integrated clip for attaching to your lapel or wherever works best for you. At the centre is a large Play/Pause button surrounded by skip controls to the left and right and volume controls above and below. Beneath this is a button with the Bluetooth logo on it. You plug in your headphones at the top edge while a connector is located at the bottom. A cable (not pictured) attaches to this and plugs into the bottom connector of your iPod. It draws all its power from the iPod so you don’t have to worry about separate batteries, though the inevitable downside is that it places a noticeable extra drain on your battery.
I immediately liked the fact that it connects at the bottom and not at the top. On my old third gen iPod, the remote attached to the top, and the end of the cable tended to snag on my clothes and break, causing wires to pop out – that won’t happen here. On the downside it means that you can’t use it to listen to radio if the iPod is placed in a speaker dock.
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