Cheap alternative to Ipods

Is there a cheap crappy (or uncrappy) alternative to the IPod? I looked at some MP3 players and they’re still basically in the same price range. Anything else I can look into?


Any of the 265 MB or 512 MB mp3 players should be pretty cheap these days. I have a 2 GB Sansa that I love. Sansas might not be the sexiest players out there, but they’re pretty well designed.

What do you consider “cheap?” You can get refurbed iPod Shuffles for something like $50.00 now. I recently saw a device that allows you to convert a flash drive into an MP3 player, but I don’t know if that falls into the “not cheap/not crummy bracket”. But if you already have a flash drive or memory card, it might be worth looking into.

Expensive? Run over to the Apple store online and snag yourself a refurbished 512meg Shuffle for $49.00. Look for the red tag “specials” link in the store.

It’s a shame there isn’t some way of linking this thread to some ads for cheap ipods.

Thanks guys.

By “cheap,” I meant “cheaper than the cheapest crappiest IPod.”

So the 50 dollar refurbished shuffles don’t do it for me.

I was thinking more like 20 bucks.

“Cheap” describes one more thing other than the ipod-substitute I crave.

How many songs can I store in 128MBs?


Inexpensive Sandisks, Samsungs, iRivers, and Rios are all to be found on eBay. They all work with Microsoft Media Player and Napster.

I’ve been using MP3 players for over six years, starting with a Rio. There are all kinds of things out there. Nothing is quite as gizmo-compelling as an iPod, in my opinion. But I don’t have one, because I don’t want to be bound to using iTunes. I just helped a friend load up her iPod Shuffle with music. Dang, if that’s not a cool device!

That’s something I’ve been wondering: What’s so cool about it?

What recommends, for example, an IPod Shuffle, beyond its utilitarian value as a device to play music with?

Why would someone pay extra bucks for a Shuffle, instead of an MP3 player?

Also, do I understand correctly that with the Shuffle, you have no control over what songs will play back and in what order? You just load it up, and it just plays the whole list at random? How often does it repeat itself, or is it designed not to repeat til its cycled through the whole playlist?


It’s a very well designed device to play music with. And it works with the iTunes Music Store without fuss.

The iPod is an MP3 player.

No, it has a Shuffle mode and Normal (sequential) mode. In sequential mode you can use the forward/back buttons to find the song. But it has no display, so it can be difficult to look for a specific song you want. The device design really is optimized for Shuffle mode. It only has a few buttons, but those are oversized and quite easy to use - you can control it by feel without looking at the device.

To echo scr4’s comment above, the iPod Shuffle is super-well designed. It is a pleasing device to look at. It feels well balanced. It is cool. You end up wanting to hold it in your hand just because it feels and looks cool. It kind of echos in your brain.

I am no slouch when it comes to gadgets - I have a Treo 650. The iPod Shuffle makes the grade. Someone did a great job in designing that little sucker.

Well, for REALLY cheap, just get a small CD or even Cassette player.

I picked up a 256 meg MP3 player for 20 bucks at my local CompUSA store. It was a “doorbuster” item in a sale.

Just watch the ads. Someone will have another sale soon enough.

I’m assuming you mean flash media and not hard disk (ie, 128MB-1024MB, not the 10GB MP3 players).

My 128MB Iriver is 2 years old and I like it. I’m wary of buying electronics on ebay myself because of bad experiences. Too many broken items and cheap Korean knockoffs.

Go to or and look for deals on MP3 players.

You want cheap? You should be able to pick up a used MP3/CD player for $20 or less. The capacity is over 600 Mb, so it holds a lot more than the cheapest iPods, Irivers, and the like. Collect all of your music on iTunes (or whatever) and burn it to an MP3 CD. Stick it in the player and you’re good to go. It’s a little large, but what the heck? It’s cheap.

Adding to the above, the Shuffle is dirt cheap (for most of us, anyway), and is also ideally suited for audio books. What do you need a screen for?

And it also does something that keeps me from buying a hot, cool nano: it works as a self-contained USB flash drive. Maybe not all that important to a lot of people, but it’s the lifeblood of my industry (heck, we don’t even get floppies or optical drives on future desktops!).

I use a PocketPC* as, among other things, a MP3 player; of course that is not the cheapest way around, but… it´s the most versatile because I use the same memory cards (SD and MMC) to store the MP3s as the one in my camera and as a storage device. There are very cheap players out there that use memory cards, if you already have a digital camera or if you would like to use the card as a storage device it´s a sensible option.

  • It cost me much less than an Ipod and has a screen the size of a credit card, it plays movies, has my agenda, wakes me up in the morning, I can draw on it using a Photoshop look-alike when I´m on a cue, has a universal remote control and Bluetooth, keeps my e-mail accounts, I´m thinking about adding a GPS and WiFi card to it, batteries last up to 14 hours, it´s waaaay cool looking and I can even play Worms Armaggedon and frigging Tomb Rider on it… Honestly I can´t understand what´s so great about an Ipod… :smiley:

I love my 2GB Sansa. Audio books galore. More than $20, I’m afraid. You could always buy a CD player for 10 bucks.

Ditto for the Nano. I sometimes just sit there fondling it while I listen. It looks nice and it’s nicely dense. There’s the scratch issue, but I got an $8 skin for it and it doesn’t detract from the appearance. The interface is magnificent.

I don’t understand the iPod craze. There are better MP3 players out there at a fraction of the price. For example, this baby: iAudio X5.

And no iTunes crap. You just copy the songs from your computer into the X5

For the cautious, the iPod is a proven commodity; everything else is a gamble. Then there are the little teen girls that must have an iPod 'cos everyone else has an iPod. Also there are Apple fanboys who have iPods because they’ve been Apple users and they want to support Apple. When you reach a certain station in life, you’ll be able to appreciate buying the finer things merely because they’re finer; not other items just because they’re cheaper.

iTunes is crap? Back when I only has 5GB of music or so, I got really, really tired of maintaining a structured hierarchy of my entire Music as well as managing the filename metadata and the embedded metadata, and then figuring out which of the songs to copy to my PDA (pre-iPod), and generally managing the entire friggin’ mess (same with pre-iPhoto photos, too). With iTunes, every bit of that extra work is gone away, although at some point I’ll have to bite the bullet and assign ratings to everything. Pretty much, “You just copy the songs from your computer into the iPod.” And no, I’m not locked into the iTunes Music Store. I’m a fan of myself.