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Samsung YEPP YP-MT6X (512MB)Electronic gadgets don't have to be expensive to be good, and we can prove it. We scoured CNET.com to find the best MP3 players that can be had for less than a C-note. All the devices that made this top 10 list offer at least 512MB of storage and two or more of the following characteristics: good sound quality; a stylish, compact design; advanced features such as an FM radio or recording capabilities; and an impressive battery life. Of course, the best part is that none of them will break the bank. Find the right player for you with this list.
1. Samsung YEPP YP-MT6X (512MB)
The good: Superior AA battery life; solid sound quality; compact and durable; highly readable display for such a small player; FM radio; voice, radio, and line-in recording; next-track readout; MP3, DRM WMA, and OGG playback.
The bad: Too many operational instructions to remember; FM radio and voice recordings placed in random play queue; line-in encoding requires uncommon 2.5mm plug.
The bottom line: If you're a Windows user, the Samsung YEPP YP-MT6 is a superior choice to the Apple iPod Shuffle, thanks to its compact design, its good sound quality, and its many useful features and functions.
Samsung YP-U2 (512MB)2. Samsung YP-U2 (512MB)
The good: The affordable Samsung YP-U2 is a supercompact MP3 player with a convenient plug-in USB design; it includes an FM tuner, a voice recorder, subscription compatibility, a legible LCD, and an intuitive interface. Plus, it features an extensive set of equalizer and DSP sound settings. Sound quality is quite impressive, but there is a caveat.
The bad: We're not thrilled with the placement of the headphone jack, the so-so battery life, the subpar voice-recording quality, and the audible clicks when starting or stopping a song. Additionally, the Samsung YP-U2 does not ship with a lanyard or an armband, and it currently maxes out at 512MB.
The bottom line: Despite some minor issues, the simple but feature-friendly YP-U2 from Samsung will be a hot seller, thanks to a sweet price and great overall sound quality. It's a good choice for budget-minded users looking for their first MP3 player.
Sony NW-E105 Network Walkman (512MB)3. Sony NW-E105 Network Walkman (512MB)
The good: Fantastic battery life; inexpensive; solid sound quality; gets really loud; innovative rocking faceplate controls.
The bad: No FM tuner or recording options; inelegant software; must use SonicStage app to transfer songs.
The bottom line: Budget-conscious music fans who want more than the Apple iPod Shuffle has to offer will be pleased with Sony's NW-E100 flash players.