What is the best mp3 player for audiobooks?
June 27, 2016 10:30 PM   Subscribe

Basically I want a MP3 player that is of good quality and will last a few years. I love the functionality of my old Sansa Clips and would love something similar but better quality. I am willing to spend up to $300. I want multi-book bookmarking, podcast bookmarking, and minimum 10GB of memory, prefer a smallish size (but it's not a dealbreaker), also want a sleep function, I will also be using for music. Thank you all!

Okay, this may seem like a silly question but it hasn't been addressed on MeFi for for some time and if you actually start googling and spend a lot of time on it - which I have, there isn't a whole lot of options or information available...

It used to be easy - either the sansa clip or a related model has pretty much been the only MP3 player that will play all the audio formats and bookmarks, as well as keeping podcasts, music etc all nicely organized. Apple has stepped up apparently but I don't want an apple product - or itunes for that matter. I have gone through about 4 Sansa clip players and they die after only a year or two and from my reading I have discovered that the newest players the sport and the jam, don't work well for audiobooks despite updates to their firmware by sansa. I took a gamble the other day and bought a more expensive fiio X1 which seemed to work well despite it's honking huge size but then it totally crashed and also doesn't support audible anyways.... so it will be returned.

I don't want apple, I don't really want to buy another sansa that is just going to fall apart, especially if it's audiobook functionality has actually decreased.
I would appreciate any thoughts!

Thanks all!!!
posted by risaroni to Technology (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, not wanting an iPod and having so many bad experiences with Sandisk leaves you with very few options in the MP3 player market at this point. (Sony still makes traditional MP3 players, or did last year, but I've never used one.) Maybe you could try an Android phone without a SIM card? The slower, non-LTE version of the 2nd-gen Moto E is about $70 unlocked—the 2014 model is even cheaper—and you could put a 16 or 32 GB microSD card in to give yourself plenty of storage space.

From there you could use the podcast/audiobook/music clients of your choice.
posted by Polycarp at 11:05 PM on June 27, 2016

You can buy an android cell for six bucks -- I bought two for seven bucks, shipped -- from one of the dollar stores. The phones are so cheap because they want to hook poor ppl into expensive cell service. You needn't register it with any phone company, just use wifi to get whatever software you want off google play store (or wherever else) plus you can put Audible on it, if you use Audible. Slap a 32 gig SD card in it and you're off and running. Whoops -- you dropped it into the stream? Throw it away, get another one. Rinse repeat.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:13 AM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not sure about a sleep function, but Sony's range of mp3 walkmans are great quality and great sound and pleasingly simple to use (the earlier ones don't have a touch screen).
posted by srednivashtar at 1:34 AM on June 28, 2016

Spend $20 on a generations old smart phone at Walmart, put your apps of choice on it, and be happy. I keep a 4 or 5 year old phone on my bedside table as a Pandora / Amazon Music device, along with a free sleep timer app, and it works great.
posted by COD at 5:43 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nth ing Andriod, Smart AudioBook Player is by far the best audiobook experience I've ever had. Fancy features like built in per-book EQ, per-book speedup/slowdown, powerful bookmarking, an amazing sleep mode where the book will stop playing after a few minutes unless the device is shaken, jump for/backward 10 seconds & 1 minute etc.

Plus, like the Sansa you can just plug the phone into a computer and copy files over unlike apple products.
posted by gregr at 6:21 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a very old iAudio player that lets me bookmark every file, and I'm pretty sure has a sleep function. I like it much better than my android phone for listening in bed, because it doesn't light up the room nearly as much, and I can do most of the functions (play, pause, stop, rewind, fast forward, next, prev, on and off) without looking at the screen at all. I think it's 11 years old, and still works fine. I don't know what the new ones are like, but the Cowan site has descriptions and manuals.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:21 PM on June 28, 2016

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