MP3 Player
December 9, 2003 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend an MP3 player that meets ALL the following requirements? 1. At least 512MB of capacity 2. FM tuner 3. Under 60 grams 4. Costs under $200 5. Driver-less "pen drive" functionality, a.k.a. mounts as a volume, no software required to load files. [more]

Most of the well-received players out there fail in one of the above, or cost around $250, or both. Several look great except for poor reviews of the clunky "MP3 management software" required to put files on them. Any other suggestions? Obviously a chorus of negative reviews will disqualify a candidate. Expandable memory, line-in recording, and a built-in mic are plusses.
posted by scarabic to Shopping (17 answers total)
The MSI Mega Stick 1 meets all your demands except the capacity.
posted by riffola at 11:59 AM on December 9, 2003

Pretty much any of the CD based MP3 players would fit that bill... :-) They're the only way I would use MP3s on the go.
posted by shepd at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2003

Thanks, shepd, but I should have mentioned something about CD-based units. I'm looking for something for the shirt-pocket. But if any CD-units come in under 60 grams, I'll give them a look. Any particular suggestions?

That Mega Stick 1 looks pretty nice too. Great Anand review. But it's the same story with everything I look at. Awesome unit only comes with 128MB. 256MB version costs $100 more. This unit over here has all the features and the price is right but- oop! no FM tuner. Damn!

Actually I'd love a Digisette, but their capacities are all pathetically low.
posted by scarabic at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2003

This is a much better player than the Mega Stick.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2003

I've seen the Jens of Sweden smergy-gergy here and there, monju, but the brand was superunknown to me. CNET seemed to like it, though, ja. Do you have der chickie? Der shmergy-gergy review?

[throws headphones backward over head]
posted by scarabic at 12:59 PM on December 9, 2003

I don't own the Jens player, as I am sticking with the minidisc player I foolishly purchased last year. However, a good friend has the Jens 110, and is very pleased with it. She too would prefer to have more than 256 MBs of memory, but you're not going to do a whole lot better at that price and that size. The only other drawback is the USB 1.1 interface, so it's not quite as snappy as it could be. Altogether, though, a good buy.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:06 PM on December 9, 2003

How about this, new on ebay right now for exactly $200.
posted by ewagoner at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2003

I understand you wanting a pen drive model... you might be surprised by this but the Creative Jukebox Zen NX is.. well, more future proof!

It weighs 7.9 ounces, has a removable battery, 20GB of hard drive space and can fit in your pocket. The price is around $280-$260. A little over your limit, and not a pen drive. Just a cheap and portable Hard Drive based Mp3 player. Not to mention special software will turn it into a portable Hard drive.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:47 PM on December 9, 2003

While we're on the subject, can anyone recommend a reasonably inexpensive, smallish portable audio player which supports Ogg Vorbis and does not suck? Suckage being defined as requiring magic client software or drivers working only under Win32, containing crashy firmware, or really any other hideous flaw that would make the recipient want to hurl it at a wall.
posted by majick at 2:15 PM on December 9, 2003

Keyser - I appreciate the suggestion, but I already own a 20GB hard-drive based player. Now I'm looking for something small. Believe me, I only resorted to posting here after doing a ton of research and not being able to find anything meeting the requirements above. That's where I need the help, specifically.

Checking out that SlimBox...
posted by scarabic at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2003

Ah, I see.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:41 PM on December 9, 2003

Check out some of the iRiver players. I have the iHP-100 (10G harddrive-based). It meets all of your criteria except price, is smaller than the Zen, and does not require software (also unlike the Zen, IIRC).

iRiver has a big product line, many are solid-state and very small. I don't *think* they require drivers, so they may work.

I also had a Frontier Labs Nex II. Their newer players are Compact Flash-based and at least one of them has FM.
posted by turbodog at 4:20 PM on December 9, 2003

Oh and, iRiver had already added or is adding Ogg support to the players than can support it. Check their community forum for exactly which ones.
posted by turbodog at 4:21 PM on December 9, 2003

Well, the SlimBox looks very good in many respects but it sounds like it doesn't do USB mass storage plug'n'play. I know I won't use the thing if I have to fiddle with some 3rd party app to load the MP3s I already keep quite organized., incidentally, is a great site. Lots of info, and they seem to hand-pick their inventory, reviewing every product themselves. Lots of helpful customer reviews too.

Anyway it doesn't seem that I'm going to get 512MB solid state for under $200. With only 256MB to work with, I think it's especially important to be able to organize files easily, without a 3rd party app.

Right now I'm mulling over two players with 256MB: the DAH-1100 which costs only $139, and the $150 iRiver iFP-190T. They both seem to have the features I'm looking for, the very small size, FM radio, plug'n'play USB, and a modest price tag.

Thanks, all for the suggestions! And please keep 'em coming if you find anything else.
posted by scarabic at 4:39 PM on December 9, 2003

I guess the Samsung YP-55 is a contender, too, also at 256MB.
posted by scarabic at 4:41 PM on December 9, 2003

There are a handful that take memory sticks/flash cards instead of having dedicated memory. Something like this might work for you... never heard of 'em, though.
posted by ph00dz at 7:51 PM on December 9, 2003

I thought about the Neuros, but it doesn't resume.
posted by turbodog at 12:21 PM on December 10, 2003

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