Are there any mom-friendly mp3 players &/or car adapter kits?
December 6, 2009 10:52 AM   Subscribe

My mom has a long commute, so I'm thinking it would be great to get her an mp3 player for the car. I will be setting it up, but it should be easy for her to use. She is more used to VCR buttons than click wheels and cord-squeezing, so iPod-style interfaces are out. Does anyone know of a reliable mp3 player or car adapter kit that will fit the bill? I'd like to go old school here.

The easy part: No lower size limit (4 gigs is more than enough). Also, she won't be loading or removing songs from it - trust me - so it doesn't matter if that process is simple or byzantine.

Are there any mp3 players with:
- large controls that are regular pressable buttons
- just a few, clearly labelled buttons: play, pause, volume, skip, back
- a large display that allows for easy song selection (but no video)
- nice loud speakers, and not tinny - she's getting slightly hard of hearing

Something like this or this from Creative, but with more clearly labelled buttons, would be nice.

I haven't seen any car adapter kits that have play/forward/back buttons for controlling an mp3 player - does anything like that exist, as an alternative?

Thanks MeFites!
posted by lesli212 to Shopping (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've had a Samsung YH-925 for a couple of years, which might fit the bill: play/pause is one button, flanked by an advance button and a rewind button. Volume is controlled by a rocker switch: press it at the top for louder and at the bottom to reduce.

I don't know your mother, but I am confident I could explain this machine's operation to my own mom, a senior citizen whose home stereo is a vintage-1975 JVC that weighs as much as a beer fridge.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:11 AM on December 6, 2009


I installed a iPod adapter from USA Spec. It lets you control the iPod from your car head unit (radio). I put the iPod in the glove box and leave it alone. The adapter also keeps the iPod charged. They don't make them for all cars. Check them out and see if your mom's car is on the list.
posted by Morgangr at 11:21 AM on December 6, 2009


Does she have a tape deck in her car? Something like this might let her use an interface she is more familiar with.
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2009


We have something like this, which plays music through the car stereo via an FM transmission. It's brilliant as it doesn't have any wires, plugs easily into the lighter (no batteries to charge) and comes with it's own, easy to use remote. All you need is a USB or SD card with music plugged into it.
posted by brambory at 12:53 PM on December 6, 2009


I would go for an in-dash car radio that plays MP3s on CD.
posted by megatherium at 12:55 PM on December 6, 2009


I love the cassette mp3 player that actually works like a cassette tape for her! She has never quite gotten used to CDs. I couldn't find one for sale just now, but I will keep looking.

In the meantime, I think transmitters with interfaces like brambory's suggestion are great. Any others like that?

Thanks everyone!
posted by lesli212 at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2009


What make and model car does she have? I picked up one of these for my Mazda, but I'm sure they'd be available for other makes and models.

They plug into the car's original head unit and emulate a multi-CD changer, allowing you to use built-in steering wheel controls, etc. I use SD cards with mine, although it can take USB or even 3.5mm jack plug play through as well.

All that said, if you're willing to swap out the head unit, brambory's suggestion of an MP3CD head unit might be a better choice.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:26 PM on December 6, 2009


I had an older version of this Pioneer DEH-P3100UB player and loved it. It is one of the few players with a simple design and I loved the remote control. I believe this one will play mp3s off a USB thumb drive as well.

Some other similar pioneer models.
posted by Yorrick at 2:28 PM on December 6, 2009


I got my mom this Sansa e260, which she seems to like, with something like this adapter. I also got her into audiobooks ince she has a decent commute herself.
posted by pyro979 at 3:34 PM on December 6, 2009


My mom is very similar - I got her a Sansa Clip last Christmas and she really loves it. Any tape adapter will get it working with a car stereo.
posted by BZArcher at 4:28 PM on December 6, 2009


One route is just to get an iPod, and then buy a car interface from a company like blitzsafe. They make magic little boxes that plug into the CD changer port on the back of your factory head unit, and trick the car into thinking an iPod is a CD changer. This lets you use the native controls on the cars head unit, so if she can handle the previous, next, play, pause buttons that are already there she should be good to go.
posted by floam at 5:12 PM on December 6, 2009


And if you tell us the model of her car you're trying to work with and confirm if she still has the factory head unit, we can probably help further.
posted by floam at 5:16 PM on December 6, 2009


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