As you are possibly aware from my previous articles, I have a shortlist of my top six favorite cheap mp3 players on my BuyCheapMp3Players site.
A couple of my top six are lower end of the price range machines from brand name manufacturers (Apple iPod and Sony).
Most people will be pretty familiar with these two companies and the quality of the products that they produce. Also, most of mp3 players that they have produced have been covered in some depth elsewhere, on review sites, in press reports and the like.
I therefore see little point in recovering well trodden ground by describing these machines in any detail.
What I would like to do instead is go into a little more detail with a short comparative review of a couple of cheap mp3 players from lesser known manufacturers.
Both of these machines, in my opinion, beautifully encapsulate the reasoning behind my impartial recommendation to buy a cheap mp3 player, rather than perhaps wasting our money on an expensive brand name machine.
The simple fact is that there are many cheap mp3 players that offer great quality at exceptional prices, and why pay more than you need to?
In other words, the two players that I have highlighted below simply provide tremendous value for money, and who amongst us doesn't want that?
iRiver iFP-700 (780T model - 128MB - @$60)
The first point to note about this player is the great sound quality, and my previous articles have all attempted to highlight how important this is. The bass response, in particular, is simply outstanding, making this a very good choice for those who will use their mp3 player mainly to listen to rock music, hip hop and the like.
The 128MB available to you translates into something like four hours of music, well within the lifespan capacity of the battery, which can easily last twenty hours plus in normal use.
It will play MP3, WMA & OGG music files, and can record from any sound source, not just through your PC. It also features an FM radio, is pretty resistant to the skips and jumps that are often a feature of Flash based players, and weighs in at just 3 grams!
So, there are a heck of a lot of good things that you can say about the 780T, making it an outstanding buy in its class and price range for me.
I do, of course, have a couple of small gripes!
First, the radio reception is often not particularly good. Obviously this is only relevant if you are interested in listening to radio, but, it is something to be aware of.
Second, I found the earphones a little difficult to use, and pretty uncomfortable into the bargain. Not that the 780T is unique in this, and, of course, earphones can be bought separately, but I didn't really like the standard phones that come with the 780T.
That being said, it is still a very, very good example of what you get if you buy a cheap mp3 player, and for the price, it is exceptional value for money.
SanDisk Sansa e100 (e140 - 1GB - $80)
This one comes with 1GB memory, so it obviously has the ability to load up considerably more music than the 780T above.
Again, this is five star mp3 player, great quality from a lesser known name, that can play mp3 or WMA files, weighs in at 0.4ozs and has a battery life of 15 hours continuous playback.
Also like the 780T, this one offers terrific sound quality, with its "TruBass" feature again adding considerably to the response at the lower end of the tonal scale.
The controls are extremely ergonomically laid out and are simple to use, and the backlit LCD screen, allied to the detailed album and/or song information shown on it, make this a very easy player to actually operate.
It has the added advantage that there is no requirement for special software to load songs on to it - simple Windows "drag and drop" is all that is required - and for pure functionality, the Sansa e140 is pretty hard to beat.
Again like the 780T, downsides are very few.
There does seem to be a noticeable (and slightly irritating) gap between tracks playing on the e140, but this seems to be a feature (or fault) that I have found with some other Flash based players a well, so maybe it is an inherent fault of the technology, rather than the manufacturers.
I also, once again, found the earphones uncomfortable, but (given the frequency that this appears to be the case) maybe I should blame that on the shape of my own ears, rather than on the phones!
In conclusion, the iRiver 780t and the SanDisk Sansa e140 represent all that is good about the idea of buying a cheap mp3 player!
Both retail for well under $100 in the high street or local mall, but, before buying, don't forget to check the special eBay deals from my signature at the bottom of this page for extra cheap prices!
Both offer great sound quality, excellent functionality, light weight and good looks.
So, your choice is pretty simple.
Do you want to pay the extra $30 or so necessary to move up from four hours of music with the iRiver 780T to the fifteen hours or so (before a battery change becomes necessary) with the Sansa e140? Otherwise, there is so little to choose between them….
As they say, you pays your money, you takes your choice!
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