Shuttle review: the Google Now of music players totally deserves its popularity

Developer: SimpleCityDownload: Android
Genre: Music & AudioPrice: Free (paid version available)

One thing that makes smartphones better music players than the dedicated "MP3 players" of old is the sheer freedom of choosing different music apps at whim. If you are truly addicted to music, you can't simply choose a music player and stick to it forever, but Shuttle Music Player begs to differ. Described as a "simple, lightweight and powerful music player" with a "fresh Google Now interface", Shuttle's free and paid versions are already enjoying massive popularity in Google Play. Let's see what all the noise is about then, shall we?

We loaded up some of Her Majesty's finest psy-trance (courtesy of Nano Music), and got the party started within Shuttle's free version running on a LG G Pro 2. Don't worry, we passed on the LSD. At the entrance, we were greeted by the Vienna Boys' Choir. We felt the boys didn't belong to our party, so we tried politely escorting them out. That's when our first hurdle with Shuttle emerged - apparently, you can't simply remove a song from the player's lists. The only option is to delete it from your device's USB storage. This includes the inability to delete a song off a playlist, for example. What gives? Oh, it's just us being temporarily clueless that removing a song from a playlist happens with a simple swipe! Ta-dah! In addition, Shuttle's maker has addressed unwanted songs with the Blacklist option. If you don't want a song in your playlist played, ever, simply paint it black.

After dealing with the boys' choir for good, we were greeted by what is best described as "Google Now Player". Shuttle doesn't make it a secret which app it's designed after. The player has a clean, almost sanitary Google look to it, which fits perfectly within Android. Of course, Shuttle offers a choice of color themes, but the free version is to dark (black), light (black and white), hybrid, and the white and blue theme, which felt right at home to us at PhoneArena.

Opening up an album presents you with the songs it contains. Next to each song, you will find a menu that lets you choose a particular song to play next, add to playlist or queue, use as phone ringtone, blacklist, or delete. Playing a tune brings you to the Now Playing view, which fills most of the screen with the album's artwork. Music controls are positioned down, and choosing a song happens from a menu on the upper side which is accessible with a button. Above that, you will find buttons to Favorite a song, Share it through social media, and another round of useful options. There, you will find a lyrics display, which either reads embedded lyrics off the tune or grabs the words from musiXmatch. There's also the option to save a tune to a playlist, clear the queue, delete a song, activate a Sleep Timer, adjust the equalizer, change the song order, and access Shuttle's settings. Of note there is the player's ability to seamlessly scrobble music to via Simple Scrobbler, and options to automatically pause playback on headset disconnect, resume on connect, and activate gapless playback.

Shuttle comes bundled with a variety of widgets styled in the same uninterrupting, minimalistic manner. There are 2x1, 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4 widgets that can be colored in a gradient shade of your choosing. Their functionality is limited to showing album art and music controls. Sancta simplicitas!

For all its straightforwardness, Shuttle isn't bare-bones or anything like it. It's a very polished, supremely focused music player with just a few shortcomings to even out the scales' balance. First, there are no visualizations of songs – yes, although these can be quite corny, at least a spectrum analyzer and some electric colors to please our eyeballs would have been a welcome addition. Also, in certain situations, such as browsing in Album view, the cover art is able to obscure the top three buttons for Search, Favorites, and Options. They are borrowed from Google's iconography and have a hint of transparency to them, which makes them hard to discover on anything but a dark background.

All things considered, Shuttle is almost perfect for what it is – a simple, intuitive music player. Hopefully its creator SimpleCity will continue improving and expanding it without bloating it with too much functionality in the process.


  • Simple, intuitive interface
  • Social and music services integration


  • Not the most visually exciting player
  • Some important functionality (tag editing) reserved for paid version
PhoneArena rating:

Developer: SimpleCityDownload: Android
Genre: Music & AudioPrice: Free (paid version available)



1. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

I still think Sony's recently updated Walkman app is one of the best music player out there, too bad it's only for xperia!

5. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I agree... and the oldie from 4.1.2 is not bad either... XDA team should port this one for the rest :) it really is the best for me too.

7. Meleagru

Posts: 92; Member since: Dec 03, 2012

I have an older version installed and am very happy with it. What does the new version have extra?

14. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I think the changes are mostly cosmetic... if you have a Jelly Bean Walkman app it shouldn't be much different to what it is available now... The Movie app did changed more, allowing subtitles and other aspects, though in this area Samsung is way ahead with his own Video Player (reaching MX Player levels) But in my opinion Walkman > iPhone Music, Samsung Music, Google Play Music, etc... stock players PowerAmp is the best in the Play Store, but the simplicity of Walkman and appearance is still king for me. Cubed (3) is also a good option for simplicity and great visuals... but very limited in features. I also tried before getting an Xperia, the TuneWiki Player, MixZing Music Player and had the old Moto Atrix with a nice featured Player but very buggy. The only complain I have with Walkman as of 4.1.2 version is that when dragging and moving songs around in playlist or queued list, the file scroll very slow after reaching the edge of screen... so if its a long list I rather don't move it too much...

9. mitulvohra

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

i have tried every music player out there and the new walkman stands out in terms of ui and music quality. never going back. this is for permanent now. phonearena should review the new walkman.

17. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

I actually find the Walkman app to have a horrible appearance!

18. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

beauty is subjective... though you are definitely one of the few with that opinion... I love how it changes colors subtlely to match some part of the album art... Also when you download the music info in the settings, you will get pictures in the background of the music main screen of the artist thats playing which is also a nice detail... I never get bored using it...

2. Cyberchum

Posts: 1066; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I'll quick with Poweramp please.

4. Jommick

Posts: 221; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

I'll crick with Play Music please.

3. Cyberchum

Posts: 1066; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

fuk autocorrect ↑ STICK.

6. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

"If you are truly addicted to music, you can't simply choose a music player and stick to it forever," Totally agree. I always have at least 2....even tho PowerAMP gets used the most. Usually I have others for playlist creating. Still waiting for a good music player that does that good. I admit I havent searched for anything new in a few years. Gotta have that PowerAMP equalizer too.

16. Cyberchum

Posts: 1066; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Neuron is good too but the UI is completely meh. And very true about not using one music app. I've used Player Pro which is also good but I found PowerAmp's equaliser to be much better. Have Musixmatch now but it is rarely used. It's almost useless but I won't uninstall it until my subscription expires. It's good for lyrics plugin and music ID and that's just that.

8. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

One sole reason I'll continue using Google Play Music is sync across all my devices (PC, iPod, Android, tablet). Thats actually one of the reason I use Google apps.

10. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Xbox music is better imo...

11. jibraihimi

Posts: 806; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Poweramp for me, and stock music player along with viper fx......... Viper fx, is really awesome, but problem with it is that, if you are using it to its max. ability then either it will affect your phone's speaker or headphones.........

12. azers07

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 17, 2013

PowerAmp is the Best... However HTC music player is awesome too If I haven't paid for Poweramp, year ago, I wouldn't pay for it to replace HTC one player

19. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yeah the HTC also looks nice, but what impressed me the most is that M8 has the best Audio output performance according to GSMArena! kudos to HTC

13. hockc17

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

I use Google Play Music and I've used to the Walkman app but the Walkman app doesn't recognize the files on my SD card from Play Music :( but I'd use the Walkman app if I could

15. antifanboy14

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 26, 2012

I had this before and the widgets were horrible.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.