Dear Lifehacker, I know the norm nowadays is to simply carry large amounts of music on your phone for every occasion, but there are times when I'd much prefer to just have a dedicated MP3 player and save my phone's battery and memory for other things. What are the best options out there for dedicated MP3 players that are easy to use and reasonably priced? Thanks, Budding Listener
MP3 player picture from Shutterstock
While modern technology is all about convergence, I'm definitely with you on owning a dedicated MP3 player. Between phone calls, text messaging, photography, social media and web browsing, my smartphone has enough on its plate without adding music to the list. Plus, MP3 players tend to be a lot more portable which is handy if you're into running and the like.
With that said, I'd personally avoid iPod Touch-style devices that offer oodles of deluxe features. You're better off plumping for something small and affordable that does the basics well. Think of it as the cup holder in your car (i.e. — it should have one function only.)
For the past few years I've been using the Samsung YP-U4 music player which is as bare-bones as they come — it doesn't even have a touch screen or any video functionality. What it does offer is a pocket-friendly shape, battery life that lasts for days and a simple drag-and-drop interface that will accept most audio files.
In other words, there's no need to lock your music library into a proprietary software ecosystem, such as iTunes. (On a related note, be sure to check out our roundup of the best music management software.)
The U3 also comes with an inbuilt USB connector which makes file transfer a breeze: if you're one of those people who constantly misplaces their gadget cables, this is a huge plus. The YP-U4 is still being manufactured by Samsung although the company doesn't appear to be selling it in Australia anymore. Subsequently, eBay is probably your best bet.
Some other basic MP3 players that are held in high regard include the SanDisk Sansa Clip+, the iRiver T9 and of course, the iPod Shuffle and Nano. If you go down the Apple route, it might be worth checking out their refurbished offerings to save a few bucks.
As always, we'd also like to hear what readers think. Let fly with your MP3 player recommendations in the comments section below!
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