Hardware bleg

In the summer of ’11, I reported the death at age four of my old MP3 player, a 4 GB Sony that vaguely resembled a cuttlefish. I have not gotten around to finding a proper replacement; I did toss fifteen bucks on a below-Chinese-quality boxlet sold by Woot, which does in fact work, but its controls are utterly inscrutable, despite an uncharacteristically readable manual, and I suspect its internal battery to have been supplied by Mayfly Industries.

Desiderata for proper replacement:

  1. At least 8 GB, expandable via SD or microSD;
  2. A shuffle routine that will indiscriminately mingle files in base memory and files on the expansion card;
  3. A proper drag-and-drop loading system, which eliminates any iGadgets right off the bat.

Nice to have but not mandatory: a plethora of equalization curves; the ability to play un-DRMed AAC files (as vended by Apple); all that Bluetooth stuff. (My car, at its advanced age, is immune to the latter.)

Last one I looked at was this Creative ZEN, which meets 1 and 3 handily, though I’m not sure about 2. (I downloaded the manual, which suggests the shuffle is broad enough, but doesn’t make clear whether it includes all files on the player.)

Your suggestions are welcomed.


  1. Bill Peschel »

    17 March 2013 · 10:20 am

    My device doesn’t fit your criteria, but I like the Sansa Clip. It is not expandable, doesn’t take AAC files or do Bluetooth, but it’s cheap (an 8MB is $60), rugged and ridiculously easy to use.

  2. Bill Peschel »

    17 March 2013 · 10:21 am

    (Of course, I looked at your Zen link and see it’s the same price, although mine has the bookmark function a commenter complained is missing.

  3. CGHill »

    17 March 2013 · 8:31 pm

    I’m looking into the Clip Zip.

  4. Jeffro »

    17 March 2013 · 9:58 pm

    I’ve got an older Clip as well – but I hardly use it. Seems to work fine when I do.

  5. Trumwill »

    17 March 2013 · 10:26 pm

    I go with Sansas, though I couldn’t tell you how well they match up with your criteria.

  6. CGHill »

    18 March 2013 · 11:08 pm

    Decision made. I have ordered the 4 GB Clip Zip with a 32 GB microSDHC card. Total $60 before shipping. Thank you all for your suggestions.

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