Ascetic MP3 Player
October 8, 2008 1:00 PM   Subscribe

ExerciseBoredomFilter: Need a no-frills, old, cheap MP3 player that need store no more than one podcast at a time.

The boredom during exercise is turning me off from doing it. I also have a lot of podcasts that I'm not making progress on. I figure I should combine the two activities.

I have no interest in MP3 players for general use, but I think I'm willing to bite the bullet if I can have a cheap one to use for just this activity, if it meets the following specifications.

* Detected by Linux, and mounts simply as a drive in /dev/sda or /dev/usb, with no bullshit software necessary for file transfer.
* sub-$40
* No ergomonics/interface stupidity. I want to have one podcast, at most two, and just be able to launch it without navigating into a silly tree or with playlists and such. (e.g., hit play and it will start from the first track - which should not be an issue if there's only one track on there)
* no eBay
* not the size of a brick

The following are not dealbreakers, but might be nice:
* plays ogg files
* FM tuner for NPR
* internally powered/chargeable (like a flash drive)

Most of the podcasts are an hour long anyway, so even two will probably be excessive. The less storage space, the better - if there is some solid, low-capacity device (128mb?) from a reputable maker that has since been obsoleted, and can be had for a song, that would be great. I have no need for new hardware. SD card type is also fine.
posted by softsantear to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
why not get one of those USB stick mp3 players? Example
posted by Mach5 at 1:13 PM on October 8, 2008

Best answer: I have a Creative Zen Stone. I don't know if it meets all of your requirements, but it's somewhere to start.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:14 PM on October 8, 2008

I still use a Sansa e130 - uses AAA's (I use rechargeables in it), has an SD slot so even if Linux can't see it, you can just copy to the SD card.


I am not endorsing the retailer in the link, it just happened to come up when I googled.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:26 PM on October 8, 2008

I would check places like Big Lots, if you're in the states. Seems like they would be overflowing with old usb-stick players.
posted by piedmont at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2008

Woot regularly sells refurbished Sansa e200 series players for $30-$50, depending on capacity. I have two, and they're great: You can switch to USB mass storage mode for Linux compatibility, you can install Rockbox (which lets you bookmark where you leave off on podcasts), and you can expand the capacity with microSD cards.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:34 PM on October 8, 2008

(addendum) e200 series also have FM tuners, and Rockbox can play oggs (native firmware can't, although I think an ogg-friendly firmware upgrade is available from Sansa's site).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:41 PM on October 8, 2008

If you love America, this 1GB MP3 player preloaded with patriotic songs might fit the bill. Only thirteen bucks, which seems pretty good considering how much America is included.

(I love my Sansa e280 that I got on Woot!, but they're probably a bit more complex than you want.)
posted by substars at 2:11 PM on October 8, 2008

I use an old Samsung Yepp (YP-T5) for exactly this purpose. All I have to do is drag and drop the podcast, and when I'm ready to go just hit play. The navigation between files on the player is bare-bones: just hit left or right to pick another if you so desire. If you pause in the middle of a podcast, it will automatically shut off after 10 seconds or so and then resume in the same place when you turn it back on. It also has an FM tuner.

I can't find any reasonable place to purchase one, since they've been discontinued for a couple years, but it looks like the next generation model is widely available in your price range. Runs on a single AA battery, and has OGG support. I haven't used that model, but mine has great sound quality and good battery life (usually between 1-2 weeks of hour-a-day use).
posted by kyleg at 2:50 PM on October 8, 2008

Best answer: I have a Sansa e280 for everyday walking, library, between-class use and it's great.

I also have a Sansa Clip for the gym and jogging. This thing is an ipod shuffle on steroids. Screen, FM tuner, mounts as drive, charges by USB, tiny and cheaper than an ipod! Can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by KevCed at 3:14 PM on October 8, 2008

I will also recommend one of the Sansa c or e series players. I have bought a few (lost a couple, and I like having a couple around). I haven't paid more than 45 bucks (for the 2G e200 with the 'fancy' color screen). They are often 20-30 bucks at online stores. I think I've had four of them, and 3 were refurbs and I have had no problems with them.
posted by glycolized at 8:51 PM on October 8, 2008

Another Sansa I like, $15-free shipping. This is the first one I had and lost.
posted by glycolized at 5:38 AM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: Great answers here, folks. Jumping off from Green Eyed Monster's suggestion, I'm going to try this thing. I like the fact that it is screenless, and from what I read, the monaural speaker is quite functional for spoken word stuff, so it sounds good for podcasts. I dislike headphones anyway, so this is a real boon.

If it doesn't work out, I'll return it and go with the Sansa Clip/the $10 thing.
posted by softsantear at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2008

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