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Budget Media Players: Portables for Less Than $ 200

Cheap portable media players suitable for music and video files

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If you're looking for a cheap portable player that does more than just play music (MP3 players), then you need a portable media player (PMP). This type of portable device is suitable for digital audio, photos, and video. The cost of owning a media player has fallen in recent years and there are a lot of 'cheap and cheerful' portables that can even put more expensive devices to shame. Here is a selection of quality portable media players (in no particular order) for $200 or less.

1. SanDisk Sansa Fuze+

Sansa Fuze+ Family
Image © SanDisk Corporation.

The Sansa Fuze+ is a feature-rich portable that comes with touch-sensitive controls. This new model, which is the successor to the original Sansa Fuze, sports a whole host of new and improved features -- including an iPod nano-beating video screen. The Fuze+ comes in a variety of colors, storage capacities, and has bonus features like a built-in voice recorder, FM radio, slotRadio / MicroSDHC, and can handle audiobooks/podcasts. If you're looking for an iPod alternative, but without the price tag, then the Sansa Fuze+ represents excellent value for money. For a detailed look, read our Sansa Fuze+ SDMX20R (8GB, blue) review for more information.

2. Apple iPod nano - 5th Generation

Apple iPod - 5th Generation
Image - Courtesy of Pricegrabber

If you're looking for a solid media player, then the 5th generation iPod nano offers a lot of features. It looks similar to the previous model, but looking at the back of it, you'll find a built-in microphone and camera -- the recorded video is 30 frames per second at a resolution of 640 x 480. Weighing in at a minuscule 1.28 ounces, the 5th generation iPod nano is incredibly light. The improved LCD display is 2.2 inches and delivers a sharp image. It comes in various colors and you can choose either 8 or 16GB of memory. If you are intending to use Apple's iTunes Store for both digital music and videos, then the iPod nano is the perfect solution for less than $200.

3. Nextar T30

Photo © 2008 Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Nextar T30 is a full-featured media player with 4Gb of internal memory -- there's also an SD/MMC memory expansion slot so you can add more capacity to play movies etc. This budget portable media player (PMP) can handle audio, video, and photos; additional features include, an e-book reader, voice recorder, FM radio tuner, and the ability to output sound via a built-in speaker.

4. Cowon D2+

Cowon D2+
Image Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Cowon is a Korean company who have made a portable media player (PMP) that is top notch. As well as being a very capable audio player, the Cowon D2 Plus sports a whole host of features such as, video, FM tuner, photo and text viewer, memory expansion slot and a touch-screen 2.5 inch LCD. The touch-sensitive screen is a nice user-friendly addition, you can either use the stylus that comes with the unit or just use your finger. This device is compatible with a range of audio file formats which are: MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV, APE; video formats that the unit can handle are: AVI, WMV, JPG, and BMP. The Cowon D2+ can also be used to view text in the .txt format.

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5. Creative ZEN X-FI2

Creative Zen X-Fi2
Image © Creative Technology Ltd.

The Creative ZEN X-Fi2 is an enhanced model that builds on the features of the Zen X-Fi. For starters, it boasts a touch-sensitive screen that you can use to access all of its functions. Capacities for this model are generous. You can choose 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64 GB. Video is also good when viewed on its 3 inch screen. However, what makes the Zen X-Fi2 immpressive is with how it enhances digital music using Creative's X-Fi audio enhancement. This produces clearer sound that has more definition. If quality of sound is at the top of your list, then the Creative Zen X-Fi2 is a must.

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