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Help me select an MP3 Player





Guyon
Help me select Mp3 players for my family.

I need info on what mp3 player to buy I want it to be under $300 and looking for any and all input of units, features, pros, and cons.

Some of the features and questions I have are:

******************

4 GB minimum

I can turn my Cd's in to MP3. I NEED the player to accept these. I have head some players will not let certain media on it. Any thoughts?

How do audio books work?

Can I buy a song from a service and share ti with my family? How do you send mp3 form 1 player to another. I guess some players will not do that?

I need a good set of play list features

Arm band or belt clip a must. Even if I have to buy a case to do it.

Connect to lots of services, not just 1. Is that possible?

VERY important,. Easy to put songs on to.

That is all I can think of for now.

Thanks for your thoughts on what units to buy for my family.
Arno v. Lumig
I would go for one of Creative. They are really great and solid. They have lots of features and are of great quality.
TheGeek
I actually would recommend a 30GB iPod but that's just me. I have owned several different MP3 players and they have all had their disadvantages but all in all the new iPod Gen 5(video) 30GB is the best one I have owned. I had a creative Zen Touch most recently before it and it was better than most of the MP3 players of the time but it only laster about 6 months of every day use and it broke. I have had this iPod for over 4 months and so far nothing has happened to it with every day use just like the Creative one. They go for about $250 give or take a little and can play MP3 format audio and I believe a few assorted others.

Audio Books are basically just MP3 files of someone just reading a book. They were designed for blind people to help them read books not available in brail but a lot of people use them because they find them better than reading a book.

Yes you can share media that you buy from a song service but it is not legal so I can not discuss it in this forum, but it requires you to remove what is called DRM protection from the song. I will leave it up to you to figure that part out though. Transfering it from player to player just requires that you have the song on a computer and then you can transfer it to any device connected to the computer.

The iPod has a ton of different protective cases for it, some have arm bands and some have belt clips...some have both. But that is an advantage of iPod over others because they have more accessories available.

It is always possible to get songs from more than one service because when you get the songs from a service they go to your computer and then you put them on your player, iTunes just works with the iPod a little more effortlessly.

iTunes is very easy to use and setup is basically just a matter of reading the intro they put you through during install.

If you have any more questions just let us know.
Guyon
I have not made a purchase yet but am strong looking at the SanDisk Sansa.

It seems to be more sturdy with the chips for storage instead of the hard drive and reports say the case is better against scratches. I have also noted these features:

* Sansa has FM radio
* Sansa has voice recorder, and can record from the radio
* Freedom from overpriced accessories. Apple is starting to take on the razor/blade model.
* The Sansa price will fall over time - Apple's never will.
* Replaceable battery


I do see that ipods have more accessories but have to see how many of this I really need or want.


thanks for all your help and please keep sending any comments especially about the SanDisk Sansa.
TheGeek
O, and I just remembered this company. Take a look at Archos MP3 players. They are very nice and usually pretty in-expensive and have up to a 100GB model Very Happy . The only thing is, is that you have to order online because they do not ship to retail stores to keep their prices down.
Chrisjs
Well, while I have a SanDisk Sansa e250, and love it, make sure you by a hard plastic case, from Griffin or similar. I just had the screen crack today, after having it for about four months, but then again I treated it rather hard. Keep in mind, that there's about an eighth of an inch space between the outside screen and the actual LCD, so while the screen cracked, the LCD remained in perfect condition.

Personally, I would go for a SanDisk Sansa Connect, which I believe was released in January of this year. If you have Wifi in your area (unsecured) it can connect and automatically download music without a computer. 4GB too, and I believe it has FM/voice recording, but I haven't gotten a chance to try one out, so I can't say for sure. EnzoTen from AnythingButiPod (*hopes that doesn't start a war*) said on IRC today that he's planning to do a review in about two weeks on the Sansa Connect, if you are interested.
HoboPelican
After many problems with my 30 gig ipod, I picked up an 8 gig sansa. Not big enough to put all my tunes on, but big enough to put quite a collection on. Biggest issue for me was the difficulty of getting playlists on it. I could drag and drop tunes easily, but I want multiple playlists, to suit my mood. I did find a third party freeware application that did the job for me, Sansa playlister, so now everything is rosy. Laughing

Other random info.
FM player and recorder
Voice note recorder.
get a case...scratches almost as easily as the iPod.
Light and solid.
the 4 buttons are a little hard to use blindly, but you get used to it.
Plays videos nicely, but you have to use the sansa utility to get them in the right format.
Software included is very weak. I got mediamonkey (free) and it works great.
I feel much better about the flash memory. That hard drive on the iPod caused lots of problems for me.
Has a nice slot for add on memory. up to 2 gigs on each card.
Sound quality is fine. Not audiophile, but good for us normal folk;-)
battery life is fantastic. getting 16 hours per charge. the battery is replaceable by the average user, unlike my iPod.
Price was 219USD in December...not a great price compared to the hard drive units, but I expect it to last longer.

Note- the ads talk about a metal back plate to resist scratches...I don't CARE about the back! It is the lcd screen we care about. Get a case as soon as you can with whatever you get.
jay84h
I'd recommend a Creative, they are indeed solid and of great quality. Especially the sound from the ear buds that come with any of they're MP3 players. When Creative specializes in sound, then you will obviously get great sound quality as well.

Plus, Creative MP3 players tend to have a lot of features included as well.
Bones
Guyon wrote:
I have not made a purchase yet but am strong looking at the SanDisk Sansa.

It seems to be more sturdy with the chips for storage instead of the hard drive and reports say the case is better against scratches. I have also noted these features:

* Sansa has FM radio
* Sansa has voice recorder, and can record from the radio
* Freedom from overpriced accessories. Apple is starting to take on the razor/blade model.
* The Sansa price will fall over time - Apple's never will.
* Replaceable battery


I do see that ipods have more accessories but have to see how many of this I really need or want.


thanks for all your help and please keep sending any comments especially about the SanDisk Sansa.


I think the one that you are referring to is the Sansa e200 series? I have the e250 (the 2G model) and I LOVE it! (it also comes in 4, 6 and 8G models) and you can use micro SD mem cards in it to increase storage space.

I would recommend doing firmware updates if you buy it, as it will add a couple of extra features like a custom EQ etc.

I get about 20 hours of battery life per charge. Actually battery life is great because it is flash memory based and not hard drive based like some mp3 players.

So far the only software that I have tried with it is Media Monkey and Windows Media Player 11 (both of which work great with it) or you can just drag n drop music to the device if you prefer.

Also, if you dont mind voiding your warranty, there are lots of firmware hacks etc, that you can install. Oh, and the best part is that it isnt a proprietary PoS like Ipod is!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, or even check out this forum for the e200 series http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=9
Guyon
Excellent comments HoboPelican! That is exactly what I was looking for. And thanks for the tips on the upgrades. That may make or break my decision.

Thanks Mr. Jihad. But I was actually looking at the the 8GB model. I do now see that you have a rechargeable battery with that. Which I don't like. But right now the SanDisk Sansa is at the top of my list.

Anyone else have comments on the SanDisk Sansa?


I was also looking at the Creative Labs mp03 player, but was worried if I do running would that dammaged the hard drive in that model. which is why I was looking at the memory card based version.
HoboPelican
Bones wrote:
...
I would recommend doing firmware updates if you buy it, as it will add a couple of extra features like a custom EQ etc.
...
Also, if you dont mind voiding your warranty, there are lots of firmware hacks etc, that you can install. Oh, and the best part is that it isnt a proprietary PoS like Ipod is!

....

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=9

Thanks for the firmware reminder, MJ. I haven't done that, but will ASAP.
And I will have to check out that forum, also.
Bones
HoboPelican wrote:
Sound quality is fine. Not audiophile, but good for us normal folk;-)


I picked up these ear buds for it: http://www.thesourcecc.com/estore/product.aspx?language=en-CA&product=3319684&category=NoiseCancellingHeadphones&catalog=Online&tab=1#more

Much better than the stock ones, so sound quality is much better. Also, if you don't have the custom EQ..do the updates and you'll get it, which also improves the sound.

Guyon wrote:
Thanks Mr. Jihad. But I was actually looking at the the 8GB model. I do now see that you have a rechargeable battery with that. Which I don't like. But right now the SanDisk Sansa is at the top of my list.


The battery is user repacable. You just take out the four screws on the back cover, take it off, and you can lift the battery right out.
Guyon
DO you have to send away for the LiIon Battery for the Sansa? Or can they be bought locally?
Bones
Guyon wrote:
DO you have to send away for the LiIon Battery for the Sansa? Or can they be bought locally?


Good question. I'm not sure but I think you cn buy them retail. I wnt to the sandisk site and found this link:
Code:
http://www.sandisk.com/Products/Item(1988)-SDAMX4-RBK-Sansa_e200_Series_Battery_Replacement_Kit.aspx


I was surprised to find that the battery kit is only $20 and even comes with a screwdriver and new screws.

There is also a link on that page that says Find Retailer and it lists stores like Best Buy, so it looks like you can get them retail, but you might want to have a look around in your area.
ganesh
I have heard about Archos MP3 players being good. However, iPod craze exists and if you want to show off to friends, then iPod is the way to go!

What did you eventually buy?
Guyon
@ganesh

This is for a may 1st birthday, so here is my decision. I have it between the 8 gig Ipod nano and the 8 gig SanDisk Sansa. I am going to buy both at best buy and check them out and keep the best of the two.

I will give a nice little review of what I find and hope that will help anyone else that is looking for a similar mp3 player.

Thank you all for your help.
glenn83e
I just recently purchased 2 RCA Lyra mp3 players that are 1 gig each, one for myself and one for my fiance. So far no probs at all and can fit a massive ammount of songs on them. so far reached over 200. sure they don't have the full color fancy display but they show what song is playing by who, you can shuffle the tunes, also pick up local radiostations. we paid $200 in total for them and that included a 3 year extended warenty for both of them.
Guyon
Since the whole family is going to get one for birthdays we had some serious decisions to make. All birthdays are very close too which makes this an ideal family venture. Although it was not with out great controversy. I like to research an item into the ground were my wife like the fast safe solution.

We ended up with a split decision My wife and daughter got the Ipod 8 gig nano. And my son and I will get the 8 gig Sandisk sansa e280

I would like to thank everyone for taking thier time in helping me make the decision we came to.
Guyon
I forgot to add the why we did what we did.

My wife and daughter wasted the safe decision. Ipod is a solid unit with "possible" accessory updates. Plane and simple they got exactly what they wanted with no unfortunate surprises.

My son and I got the Sandisk sansa e280 for things the ipod didn't do or cost extra:
FM Radio
voice recorder
Owner replaceable battery (Huge Bonus)
No itunes (Huge Bonus)
Jury is currently out on the video
The bad thing about the sansa was we had to pick between only 5 cases for it.

For music management we are using Winamp with great success. It is a breeze to rip our CDs, organize and edit play lists with. I like ir much more then the ipod software.


One final thought. With Ipods service they charge $1 per song. So it you buy 1000 songs it will cost $1000.
With other mp3 players you can get unlimited downloads for a monthly fee.


Again many thanks, everyone here is very happy with final selections.
Guyon
Here is an update to my purchase. I got my hands on an 8 gig Sandisk sansa e280 and absolutely loved it after playing with it for a few days.

We found 8 gig Sandisk sansa on sale at Dell.com for only $159.00 wiht free shipping (tax was extra). That is a huge difference from the 8 gig Ipod nano that is selling for $249.99. That is $100 cheeper, so my wife now switched form the Ipod nano to the Sandisk Sansa. Note if you added the FM radio to the Ipod it sould be bigger/bulker and even more expensive.

Note: I am not saying this to put down the Ipod Nano, but if you are in the market for an MP3 player the 8 gig Sandisk sansa. This was my choice after about 2 weeks of research.

I want to thanks everyone here for there ideas, suggestions, and information that helped me arrive at the final decision.
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