I need a new MP3 player
February 5, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm seeking recommendations for a new MP3 player.

I need recommendations for a new MP3 player, and I'm also seeking warnings against certain players if you have any.

I currently use an iPod Nano 2nd generation with 8GB of space. It's about five years old. It works well enough, except:
1. I'm out of space
2. It freezes regularly, about once a day

I'm not really a fan of Apple -- I just bought it because iPod is synonymous with MP3 player, and I didn't want to invest the time to research other options. I've been happy with it in terms of ease of use, size, sturdiness, and battery life.

Here are my requirements:
1. I use it will running so it needs to be easy to navigate while moving. It should be small enough to hold or better yet fit one of those arm sleeves.
2. It needs to be sturdy, as I frequently drop things. Some people have recommended clip on players but I'm a bit leery of them falling off.
3. It needs to have more than 8GB of space -- it should have 16GB at the very least.
4. Good battery life. In addition to using it while running, I also use it while walking around, driving, working, etc.
5. It shouldn't be complicated to load music from different sources, podcasts, etc. I was mostly able to navigate iTunes with no problem though it was sometimes a pain.
6. Not too pricey. For example, a quick look on Amazon tells me that buying a new Zune with my space requirements would cost me at least $330 and as high as $500. That's too much. (I'm willing to buy a used player if there's no way to avoid such a price tag.)

posted by unannihilated to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sansa Clip and a 16 or 32 GB MicroSDHC card. Cheap, small, nearly invincible. I use the Clip for running and at the gym all the time; it doesn't fall off because it's very light.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:40 PM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I like Sansa Clip.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:40 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I should add that I learned about it right here in AskMe.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2012

I have a Sansa Fuze by Sandisk. My model comes with 4gb and has a MicroSD slot for all the expansions you want. It fits everything you list, it is very well made, and its battery lasts for 24 hours of playback. It has excellent sound of course, with decent phones.

Note this is the older "Sansa Fuze" and not the current "Sansa Fuze+". Amazon reviews show that many people who have both are disappointed with the changes made to the newer "+" version.

New or factory reconditioned "Fuze" models can still be found under $100.
posted by caclwmr4 at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2012

Nthing the Clip. We have 3 of them in the family.
posted by COD at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2012

Previous Clip thread.
posted by Bangaioh at 2:19 PM on February 5, 2012

IMO the major shortcoming of the Clip+ is the lack of gapless playback in the original firmware but that can be avoided by using Rockbox.

There are also reports of noise problems with some of the later produced models, though I haven't noticed anything wrong with my unit bought late last year.
posted by Bangaioh at 2:36 PM on February 5, 2012

Sadly, with the rise of mobile phones and the general crappi/wackiness of Korean mp3 makers like Cowon, and their move towards Android and multimedia-orientated players, the only acceptable answer to your question, now and in the forseeable future, is the Sansa clip.

I tell you, I would give my eye teeth for a simple mp3 player, with an expandable slot, runs rockbox, that takes AA batteries and gives at least 30 hours of playback. I dream of that player.
posted by smoke at 2:57 PM on February 5, 2012

Sansa Clip is the usual non-audiophile non-iDevice answer.
posted by box at 2:58 PM on February 5, 2012

Do Zen mp3 players not exist anymore? Mine was cheap and I'm quite happy with it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:31 PM on February 5, 2012

I got the Sansa Fuze last year and love everything about it, esp with how it handles podcasts, and the option to also view by folders. Except I finally got a smartphone last week and wonder if I should've just gotten the smartphone instead of the Fuze in the first place.

It's slightly bigger than the Clip (presumably to offer the option of tiny video viewing) but it sounds like the latter would Clip your needs perfectly. Not sure what other differences there are between the two.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:37 PM on February 5, 2012

Wow, I have to say thank you to those recommending the Sansa Clip. I've never heard of this device before and I'm really looking into it myself.

My older iPod video 30GB is looking to be replaced anyway. The battery doesn't hold much of a charge anymore and I'm getting tight on space. I also like the idea of flexibility of space with the memory card. That's a big plus.
posted by jwmollman at 4:53 PM on February 5, 2012

sansa clip+ 4GB with a 16GB or 32GB microSDHC card is an incredible value. I found the player and 16GB on Amazon for a total (w/ tax and shipping) for ~$50. There are scores of positive reviews on the Clip line, but here is a very technical article explaining how on many measurement, the Clip+ actually surpasses the ipod:
posted by kelechv at 8:54 AM on February 6, 2012

Nthing the recommendation for Sansa Fuze - that thing is solid. Many of the Sansas show up on Woot fairly often, if you can wait to pull the trigger.

The microSDHC cards are awesome and pretty cheap - the faster the better, but mostly the difference shows up in how quickly the library loads.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:07 AM on February 6, 2012

Bangaioh: Clip+ has gapless playback, actually! I have one and it's great.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:00 PM on February 6, 2012

I stand corrected, then. I was talking based on somewhat old information from the HA forums (eg this), it's possible that Sandisk has addressed the issue in newer firmwares. I don't know since I've always used Rockbox.
posted by Bangaioh at 2:34 PM on February 6, 2012

Yeah, I think it was a firmware fix.

There's also the Clip Zip, which adds AAC (unencrypted .M4A) support and a color screen for tiny album art, but personally I think the design is a little uglier and most of my digital music is from Amazon as opposed to iTunes anyway. The Clip+ is also a little cheaper, $35 vs $40. I think either would be a great value, ultimately, but unless you need rock-solid AAC support (not sure how it is in Rockbox?) I think the Clip+ might have the edge.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:30 PM on February 6, 2012

box: "Sansa Clip is the usual non-audiophile non-iDevice answer"

It's commonly the audiophile answer as well. They purportedly sound phenomenal for their price, coupled with the fact that they can be rockboxed make them very popular amongst budget-conscious audiophiles.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:25 AM on February 7, 2012

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