mp3 player - recommendations sought

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thomasp interpolator
i'm in the market for a decent, small mp3 player. i've never owned such a device - have been using a PSP for this but need something smaller, lighter that fit's into a shirt pocket or such. i googled around a bit for different models and opinions - are there forums covering those devices? couldn't find anything that looked insta-decent and certainly, and such, full with reviews from people who just got it the other day, are not really helpful to me.

what i am looking for is something that i can just plug into USB and directly transfer mp3 files for playback, no extra software, no drivers required, should run on windows, linux or mac without a fuss, really and just register as a removable drive.
and it would be ideal, if it could be charged through USB as well or at least use standard batteries and not come with some extra, bulky proprietary recharger.

radio, video-support, display-size et all are totally secondary to me, audio quality should be good tho.

any device you could think of that might fit my requirements? smile.gif


  • greenj2
    What kind of storage capacity are you after?

    For ease of use as well as being mod friendly, I'm a fan of iRiver players myself. I've also bought players made by Creative and they're pretty decent too.
  • Vito
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    Vito polycounter lvl 12
    I use an iPod Shuffle, the new ones that are just little clips, just as you describe. You can set it up in iTunes to work as just a USB mass storage device, copy your MP3s on and off it, and run an update script (that you keep on the shuffle) to update the playlist, never needing iTunes after the initial setup. Works fine on Windows, Mac and Linux.

    Since it doesn't have a USB jack onboard, I also used the "USB Mini Jack" adapter from here, as to not have to carry around the bulkier Apple cradle:
  • Rick Stirling
    Decent and small? You can pick up a 1GB Pen drive style MP3 player for about 20 quid these days. Pure drag and drop, should work on any OS, usually rechargeable from USB. Creative do on called a Zen Stone (Windows only it claims).

    I've got a couple of them lying around, the audio quality is good enough.

    I know people bitch about the ipod, but my mini and the missus nano are superb.
  • sonic
    If you're looking for a small one, get one of the new small Zunes. Video playback, 8gb storage, awesome sound quality, Wifi sync, awesome touch wheel/button pad, great UI, tiny and sleek, and you can find them for around $130.
  • notman
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    notman polycounter lvl 12
    I got my kids some Sansa e250s for Christmas and they're pretty cool. The only disappointing part is the video support. They claim is supports just about everything, but the reality is that it's windows based software, will convert MOST formats to the correct format. And it makes multiple videos if the input video is too large.

    Anyway, aside from that, you can plug it into windows or linux and just drag/drop music and photos onto it. It also has a radio built in and does voice recording. It has 2GB of ram built in, and a micro SD slot to expand. I got them from for $30, refurbished. Since then, they've popped up quite a bit as refurbished units, but I haven't seen the same price again. Keep an eye out and they still get near $30
  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 12
    an mp3 player is hardly going to break the bank, scrooge.

    just get the one you think looks the best, as they do pretty much the same thing.

    personally I'd go with vito's advice or get a nano.
  • Vailias
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    Vailias Polycount Sponsor
    I've got an insignia from best buy last year.
    2gb on board with a microSD slot for expansion. (a 2gb microsd card is like 30$)
    Has a radio tuner, voice recorder capability, and video support.
    Works with windows media player, or the software its bundled with, or winamp, or just windows explorer.

    Only complaint is that the jogdial thing has become a bit over-sensitive, but the dial is also a 4way switch and that works just fine.
    Price last year was 99$
    looks like you can get the 4gb model for 109$ now.
  • Joshua Stubbles
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    Joshua Stubbles polycounter lvl 12
    I guess it depends on how you acquire your mp3's as well. I usually buy mine from iTunes, so in my case an iPod was the logical choice. They can be accessed on a computer as a portable disk, so you can actually store anything you want on it, via drag & drop. I haven't tried putting my own MP3's on it yet (outside of synching via iTunes), so I'm not sure if that will work. But it's easy to add the music through iTunes. You just add a folder, connect the iPod, done.
  • Slash
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    Slash polycounter lvl 12
    My 8 gig nano should be arriving any day now. I'm fairly exited about it, mostly because its shiny and holds promise for homebrew. And what can be better than portable 2girls1cup?

    (No i dont know what kind of homebrew, but it doesn't matter, i'm a geek. :P)
  • James Edwards
    Those 32 gb Zens look sweet. All flash mem, plus extra memcard support if you ever needed it.
  • Striff
    Yep those 32 GB Zens are quite amazing and so tiny too. The screen is also great for movies as well.
  • sonic
    Just like Vassago said, it also greatly depends on where you buy music. I've used both iTunes and the Zune Marketplace and they are both awesome. For example, on the Zune Marketplace I choose to have new Man vs Wild video podcasts (they are like 5 min summaries of different episodes), X-Play game reviews, Comedy Central Stand Up, Ask a Ninja Episodes, etc uploaded to my Zune in my car when I do the wifi sync. It also adds all the music that has been bought on the Marketplace or that has been added to the "My Music" folder. It is amazing!
  • Jesse Moody
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    Jesse Moody polycounter lvl 10
    I won a creative zen vision m this summer and it's been pretty awesome. I am wanting a zune though because of all the accessories so maybe i'll give this to the wifey and get a zune.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp interpolator
    cheers guys. well as i wrote initially - being independent from any extra software is a big thing for me, i can't run around gracing everyone's pc with the latest itunes or WMP updates, nor do i want this stuff on my own setup. apart from that the ipod i was shown today was quite sexy indeed. smile.gif

    i'm not really into buying music in a form other than CD (and converting it myself) as of yet and storage-wise, i'd be looking at or around 4GB, seems to be plenty, i struggle to fill even a quarter of that in the car stereo's memory. but the more the merrier, obviously.

    the Samsung player series looks quite interesting from here but i have to check out the zen as well, i suppose.
  • fmnoor
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    fmnoor polycounter lvl 10
    The new Sony Walkman players support drag and drop now (no SonicStage funkiness) and they look pretty sexy :
  • Entity
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    Entity polycounter
    you can easily transfer music/videos to your ipod with floola, drag and drop. No itunes bullshit smile.gif
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