MP3 Players

Anyone have any MP3 players they recommend? I've been looking for one for about 2 weeks. There's so many! :)

thing's I'd like.

-AM/FM Radio
-Enough Memory for maybe like 3 CD's or so
-Long Battery Life

This is the one I've been using for a while:
Frontier Labs NEX IIe
It's been around for a few years.

I've been pretty happy with it. It doesn't have a radio (there's a newer version that does). It has no internal memory and uses compact flash cards (this was one of the main reasons I looked at this one to begin with). I don't use the headphones that came with it (I don't remember how they sounded (probably not great), but I don't find them very comfortable). The construction feels a little cheap (I'm always a little concerned when I open the battery door.

A 512M compact flash holds 7 or 8 CDs worth of mp3s at 160Kbps. I've connected it to the computer to download files, but usually I just put the CF card in a card reader. I like the fact that this player does not require a special program or drivers loaded on the PC. This was also one of my requirements (I have an older Creative Labs player that I liked, but the proprietary program required to load music drove me nuts (especially since the hardware was limited to USB 1.0)).

Battery life is good (it uses 2 AAs) but I can't give you numbers. You can power it from a USB port, too.

I've been using my PDA for mp3s for the past few months. I still prefer the NEX IIe, but it's more convenient to reduce the number of things I'm carrying.
Well here is one. I know NOTHING about the device, but this looks like a decent price.

Archos Ondio 128MB MP3 Player/Ripper with FM Radio
Rip your own MP3s from any source - including the built-in FM radio
$39.99 + $5 Shipping and Handling

This is for today only.

I did some research and found some less than enthusiastic reviews.

However at the price, and it does appear to support MMC for expansion.

The specs.

Capacity: 128MB
Add Multimedia Cards for more memory
Interface: USB 1.1
MP3 playback: 30 to 320 kbps
MP3 recording: Variable Bit Rate up to 166 kbps
Does not support WMA format
Real-time encoding from any analog audio source
30 seconds retro-record buffer function for radio
Built-in FM tuner: FM band 88 to 108 MHz
Scan function - 30 preset stations
Display: LCD, 112x64 pixels (8 lines of characters)
Input/Output: Stereo Line-In, Earphone Jack, Microphone
Signal to noise ratio: >90 dB
Max output power: 100mW
Frequency response: 20 HZ - 20 kHz
Sound settings: Volume, bass, treble, loudness, balance, bass boost
Play modes: Normal, single, repeat all, shuffle, queue and scan
Continuous playback time: Up to 12 hours
Power Source: Internal, 3 AAA batteries
Dimensions: 3.1"x 1.8"x 0.9"
Weight: 2.1 oz

System Requirements:
PC: Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP
CD-ROM Drive
Mac: OS 9.x or X

Package Includes:
Ondio Mini MP3 Recorder with FM Radio
Corinthian leather carrying pouch
(Pouch considered worst pouch ever designed)
USB 1.1 cable (Mini B-A)
Audio-Stereo Cable
Stereo headphones
MusicMatch Jukebox software
Manual in 5 languages (woohoo!)
3 AAA batteries (woohoo!)
Condition: New, retail packaged

Archos has several firmware updates that you will need. Go to and download and install Firmware 1.32b and 1.32c to get your Ondio updated.
Beware of good deals on MP3 players. I went through several before settling on this one. Many treat the add on memory cards as a separate partition which means they stop after playing the songs on the internal memory and you must select the extended memory (add on card) to play the songs. The RIO series treat extended memory and internal as one partition.

If your songs are in WMA format then why are you looking for a MP3 player. :)

You'll need to either convert them or get a player that supports that format.
The NEX IIe will play WMA (at least its supposed to, I've never tried any). Also, there are no conflicts between internal and external memory since it doesn't come with any internal memory.

There are a lot of mediocre digital music players out there (both no-name and major brand). Typically, the cheap no-name ones have lower build quality. A lot (no-name and name brand) have so-so sound quality - especially with the included headphones.

The major brand ones are much more likely to require special software to download - this is a major negative for me (no matter how convenient the software might be). I can take copy mp3s to a CF card from just about any computer I come across these days (since I carry a small card reader). When I travel for long periods, I usually also carry a portable 30G USB2 hard drive which has several hundred CDs worth of music on it. It's relatively easy for me to change what's on the CF card. This would be much harder with proprietary software.

I spent quite a while looking before I decided on the NEX IIe - essentially a no-name brand (although Frontier Labs is trying). I do not think it's particularly easy to figure out the advantages/disadvantages of different models. And a lot of the newer small ones seem to be quite limited in capability or storage space. I guess everyone's concentrating on the hard drive players (IPOD, etc.).