Consumer Reports: mini "Too Basic?"; Shuffle Given Good Marks

Appleis Mac mini is an "adequate" and "basic" personal computer while the iPod shuffle offers "appealing" performance, according to mini reviews by Consumer Reports magazine.

The independent, nonprofit consumer testing group reports in its May issue on two of Appleis newest products, announced in early January. Its conclusions were neither positive or negative toward the Mac mini, but primarily upbeat about the iPod shuffle.

Looking at their overall value, Consumer Reports testers questioned whether the Mac mini at either US$499 or $599 are "a little too basic."

While CR concluded the PowerPC G4 processor and its standard 256 megabytes of memory is "adequate for basic computing," the added expense of a mouse, monitor, and keyboard could "hike the miniis price past $1,000".

"Other upgrades, such as increasing memory or adding stereo speakers or a wireless network card, may well be a necessary added expense," CR testers said.

The magazine said the shuffle was "the lightest player weive seen" and offered "the performance that makes full-sized iPods so appealing."

CR ranked the shuffleis ear-bud headphones "among the best weive tested," but the subcompact music player not as good as some other competitors when it came to battery life before another charge.

"The iPod shuffle offers a very inexpensive and simply way to enjoy music on the go," reviewers concluded. "But choose it only if you value compactness and low price over versatility."

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