MP3 for the cheapskates
April 12, 2006 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Cheap but functional Mp3 player?

Okay, theres a lot to choose from now a days when it comes to MP3 players. I want to get one soon, and the following are my priorities (ranked):

1. Value- Around $100 or less.

2. Functional- visual, categorized browsing system that lets me play playlists and find specific songs without hitting the next button 300 times

3. Good software- I'd like to be able to have some easy to use software. I prefer being able to just drag and drop mp3s on to the device ('syncing' is a pain in the butt when you're rotating the selection you want available), but I'd also like to be able to automatically get free podcasts etc on there.

4. Large capacity- I don't mind expandable capacity at all. But I'd like to hold at least 1gb to 5gb at some point.

I don't mind buying used (i'd almost prefer it). What models do you recommend, and where should I look?
posted by ZackTM to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
There was a sub $10 one released recently - I heard people gave it bad reviews (cheap construction, apparently) - but it worked and was cheap - I wonder what they expected for $8.50!
posted by Dub at 1:25 PM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: yeah, I've got a god awful one that runs on a 1gb card, but it's almost obsolete for anything besides books on tape. The random function consistantly plays the same songs over and over while never playing 80% of the music, and it doesnt support playlists or browsing. I'd bet money we're talking about the same one. thats why I want a replacement one
posted by ZackTM at 1:31 PM on April 12, 2006

The Sansa m240 is a 1 gig player that I picked up for $30 from a deal (double rebates). The case cost me an extra $10 but was worth it. It has all of the features you describe above and is the best flash player I've owned so far (and I started with the original diamond rio). My only nitpicks are:

-The fast-forward/rewind is a bit slow and doesn't accelerate like most players.
-The headphone jack seems a bit fragile and will probably be the failure point (it is on most flash players, I tend to beat them up in sports).

I've seen this player pop up several times on the deal sites like fatwallet. Seems they overestimated the demand and are trying to unload them.
posted by Manjusri at 1:42 PM on April 12, 2006

got an rca lyra 2312 for $45 on woot after I lost one. It records fm to mp3, has a mic AND a seperate line in that's a smaller headphone input -I haven't had a chance to try it yet but the regular mic is pretty crappy. SD card expandable, lets you change the background color between red/blue/purple, came with an fm transmitter, works without drivers on new os/es so it can be used as an sd card reader. my only quibble is it just has preset EQ's instead of something with sliders. The recoding fm to mp3's is nice and the extra back w/ a clip is handy. I would reccomend any flash based mp3 player tho, they last over 12 hours on one AAA battery, are cheap and take a licking.
posted by psychobum at 1:53 PM on April 12, 2006

I got a ZEN Nano with 1GB and it been great so far. You just drag and drop files on to it like its a flash drive. I got mine with a instant rebate from Amazon for about $80.
posted by gus at 2:20 PM on April 12, 2006

For just $29 more than your target (with educational discount), the iPod nano is pretty flippin' sweet.

(Not sure if that link will work for you or not; it just goes to the Apple Store for Education.)
posted by designbot at 2:36 PM on April 12, 2006

im amazed that no one has suggested this yet but 3rd Gen Ipods are easy to find for under $100 on EBAY. I purchased one about a year ago, and managed to get all the accesories (also on ebay) for around $ sure you can do better now that they have released a million new models.

You will most likely need to get a new battery, which can be found on teh interwebs for ~$25 and is very easy to replace (battery comes with tools and instructions).

Despite being the most one of the most expensive MP3 players, in a true supply and demand market such as ebay, the market is flooded and you get really good deals.
posted by I_am_jesus at 2:42 PM on April 12, 2006

Ars Technica has a review of inexpensive flash players.
posted by QIbHom at 4:01 PM on April 12, 2006

ZackTM, you should contact me. My gmail address is the same as my username.
posted by ryanrs at 5:27 PM on April 12, 2006

Are you counting the iPod Nano out for some reason? I'd just save up a little extra dough and go for the Nano.

The "screen gets scratched" issue is way overblown, too. Don't worry too much about that.

It seems that the iPod nano will meet all of your requirements, except #1 - but sometimes you do get what you pay for. :)
posted by drstein at 6:55 PM on April 12, 2006

Brand new Lexar LDP-200 are selling in the 20-30$ range on ebay. They do all what you asked for, exactly, and nothing else. That was good enough for me.
posted by gmarceau at 8:14 PM on April 12, 2006

I'm a big fan of my Sandisk 1GB flash player. It's slightly bigger than an iPod Shuffle, has the same capacity, and adds a display and a decent FM tuner. (It also has a voice recorder, which I've never used.)

No DRM. Plug it in with a USB cable, and Windows registers it as another hard drive. Interface is simple drag-and-drop. You can organize songs by folder.

It runs for weeks on a single AAA battery. I bought mine for $95 on Amazon.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 3:01 PM on April 13, 2006

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