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When most people think about MP3 players, their thoughts tend to lean towards some of the more expensive models in the $300-400 range, like the iPod Touch. Though these more expensive MP3 players are quite popular, they aren't the only option. Price-conscious consumers will find that there are many cheap MP3 players, if one just knows where to look. The cheapest MP3 players available are often just as functional as more expensive models, though they sometimes have lower capacities. Still, even a 16 gigabyte model can hold thousands of songs, which is more than enough for the typical user.
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1. The Evergreen DN-2000 ($8.50)
This device was recently released in Japan, and it will likely make its way onto US markets soon. It is the world's cheapest MP3 player available, so it deserves a place on this list even if it isn't yet available worldwide. It has no internal storage, but takes SD cards up to 1 gigabyte in size and comes with earphones. It's a barebones model, to be sure, but $8.50 would be a good deal for headphones alone, let alone a music player.
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2. Eclipse 2 GB Clip MP3 Player ($15)
The Eclipse looks very similar to the original iPod Shuffle, with no screen and a clip on the back. The device is very inexpensive, and has a 2 GB storage capacity. However, there is no way to navigate through songs, so users can't choose music on the go with ease. The Eclipse MP3 player's lack of a screen is its biggest drawback.
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3. iVO-Sound m260 ($30)
This 4 gigabyte player is small and lightweight, fairly comparable to an old-model iPod Nano. Users praise its low cost and good sound quality, but dislike the controls and navigating system. Many users have reported that the system used for navigating through songs is difficult to learn and not particularly intuitive. At $30, though, the iVO-Sound m260 has great bang for the buck.
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4. Philips GoGear ($38 to $90)
The cheapest model, the GoGear ViBE, costs just $38 and comes with 4 gigabytes of storage space. Users praise the full-color video and good sound quality. Some users have complained about difficult-to-use controls and the forced use of Rhapsody software. You can learn more about this cheap MP3 player by reading our Philips GoGear ViBE review.
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5. SanDisk Sansa Fuze ($40-55)
This device comes with 2, 4, or 8 gigabytes of storage. Users praise the sound quality, screen and video quality, and battery life (an impressive 24 hours). However, the Fuze's headphones have been described as "cheap" and low-quality, so users may need to invest in a new pair of earbuds.
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6. Trustin V-BOP ($44)
The Trustin is a slim MP3 player with 8 GB of storage space; it looks something like the newer generations of the iPod Nano. On the plus side, it comes packed with features, like a voice recorder. It can also play videos. On the other hand, the interface can be confusing and difficult to use.
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7. Creative ZEN Mozaic ($55)
This unique player has 4 gigabytes of flash memory. It has an interesting mosaic design and comes with a built-in speaker so you can play your music for your friends. The picture is clear and users praise the simple operating system. Cons: 4 gigabytes is a fairly small amount of memory for a $55 MP3 player. You can learn more about this cheap MP3 player by reading this Creative ZEN Mozaic review.
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8. SanDisk Sansa Clip ($65 for the 8 GB model)
The Sansa Clip is designed as a competitor to the iPod Shuffle. It is very small and comes with a clip, which allows users to wear it while exercising. Users often praise the device; on the negative side, some say its small screen can be difficult for older users to read. Read our SanDisk Sansa Clip review to learn more.
You may also be interested in reading iPod Shuffle vs. Sansa Clip to help you decide which MP3 player is right for you.
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9. Sony Walkman E-Series ($68.90 from Amazon)
The Sony Walkman has 8 gigabytes of memory and a fantastic battery life of up to 30 hours. It comes in red and black, and is fairly compact and thin. On the negative side, the sound quality is not great and the radio reception has been characterized as poor.
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10. Apple iPod Shuffle ($40-65)
Last on our list of the cheapest MP3 players available is the iPod Shuffle. This MP3 player is extremely small and lightweight, about the size of a finger. It has very good sound quality and is well constructed, so users should have no qualms about exercising with it. However, the device's small size comes at the cost of having a screen. Without a screen to navigate through songs, it can be difficult to find a particular song on the go.
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The above devices are available at many online sellers, such as Amazon.com. Exercise caution when using an unknown online store, especially one with suspiciously good deals. In general, MP3 player prices don't vary by more than a few dollars, so if a site is selling devices for less than half the going rate it's probably a scam. Using a reputable website also ensures that you will be able to return the MP3 player in the event that you are unhappy with it.