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Budget MP3 Players: Top Portables for Under 100 Dollars

A selection of cheap MP3 players for under 100 dollars

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You may be surprised to learn that even MP3 players that are well under 100 dollars can still pack a nifty set of features. These super-budget portables may not typically come with screens for displaying photos and video (media players), but are great if you just want to listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, and other audio. Here's a rundown of top-notch MP3 players (in no particular order) that you can purchase for as little as $20.

1. SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip

Sansa Clip Zip
Image © SanDisk Corporation

The SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip is a super-small MP3 player with attitude. It comes with a handy clip that can be used to safely attach the unit almost anywhere. The most impressive feature of the Sansa Clip is its big sound; the audio quality is surprising clear with plenty of bass. It also beats the iPod Shuffle on both price and features too. It comes with features such as a recordable FM radio, voice recorder, and a choice of 4 or 8GB of storage. Read the Sansa Clip Zip review for more information.

2. SanDisk Sansa Clip+

Image © SanDisk Corporation

Even though the Sansa Clip+ MP3 player is the predecessor to the new Sansa Clip Zip, it's still got a lot going for it and can be picked up even cheaper now too. It sports either 2Gb, 4Gb, or 8Gb of storage, a built-in radio, and voice recorder. It also sports a microSDHC slot that also is compatible with SanDisk's slotRadio cards that come with approximately 1,000 songs pre-loaded onto them. There are several slotRadio cards currently available that cover various genres and when purchased with the Sansa Clip+ makes for an ideal gift combo.

3. Apple iPod Shuffle (4th Generation)

iPod Shuffle - 4th Generation
Courtesy of Apple

The 4th generation Apple iPod Shuffle is an incredibly small MP3 player which comes in a range of vibrant colors with a storage capacity of 2GB. Apple's iPod Shuffle also features VoiceOver technology which enables the unit to talk to you -- song names for example are spoken. The sound quality is very impressive and with seamless integration with the iTunes Store, it makes the perfect partner if you intend on using it with Apple's digital music service.

4. Archos 501511 4 GB Flash MP3 Player

Archos 501511 4GB MP3 Player
Image Courtesy of PriceGrabber

The Archos 501511 4 GB Flash MP3 Player is a 'no frills' digital audio player that does a good job of playing MP3, WMA and WAV music formats. It's got a reported battery life of up to 11 hours and features a built-in retractable USB connector for conveniently inserting into a spare port on your computer. This feature-rich budget player also comes with an FM radio, voice recorder, and MicroSDHC slot for extra storage. This little unit also comes with an FM transmitter too so you can tune your stereo into it and enjoy your MP3s without having to purchase a separate device. If you're looking for a basic digital music player just to play audio files then this little gem is a solid performer.

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5. SanDisk Sansa slotRadio Player

slotRadio Player
Image © SanDisk Corporation

If you're a technophobe, or just plain lazy, then this portable player might just be what you're looking for. The Sansa slotRadio Player by SanDisk is a card-based device that doesn't need a computer or Internet connection -- just use pre-loaded cards that you can purchase from stores or online. A slotRadio card is like listening to radio where the DJ has compiled a playlist of tracks -- this differs from the slotMusic card (item 3 below) which is more like owning an album. The Sansa slotRadio Player comes with a staggering collection of 1,000 Billboard songs to get you started and is a great gift for someone who isn't Internet or computer savvy.

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