Monday, June 10, 2013

Buying a Simple Usable MP3 Player

My MP3 player stopped working so I went out to buy a new one. I had assumed they would have become very cheap in the intervening years. But what seems to have happened is that the range of players available has diminished and the simple ones have largely disappeared from stores due to competition from on-line retailers such as Amazon and from smart phones.

What I wanted was a device about $20 which had a USB plug at one end, a small screen and a few buttons. I found one unit at Dick Smith (EM646) for $29.98. This seemed a little expensive, so I looked further.

Adelong Electronics had a "OEI" MP3 player for $19.95, which resembled an early model Apple iPod shuffle. This came with a 4GB microSD flash card. I purchased one of these but I found the battery lasts only about 30 minutes and the fast forward-rewind function doesn't work. There is no display and not synthetic voice to tell you what is playing, so all you can do is press the forward button to listen to the next track. The unit also seemed to simply stop in mid track every now and then and have to be switched off and on. In addition there seemed to be no way to load new tracks to the device via the USB cable (that seems to be just for recharging). As a result I had to buy a separate microSD adapter for my computer. This made the cute little player much more complex, as I had to have it, a USB adaptor cable for charging and a microSD adaptor for transferring files, all of which was alrger than the player. This was not satisfactory so I looked further.

JayCar had an AM/FM/SW Rechargeable Radio with MP3 for $29.95. This has a display which I thought would make searching for MP3 tracks easier. But on getting the unit home I found that the MP3 player did not work with the display. All I seem to be able to do is play a track or skip to the next, there is no display as to what the track is and the fast forward function does not work. In addition the radio functions of the unit are primitive. I can turn the dial to find a station, or skip through the frequencies to the next, but there seems to be no way to memorize favorite stations.

So I have now spent $49.90 and not got a usable MP3 player. I should have simply bought a more expensive, but more functional unit in the first place.

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