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Looking for a decent portable music player

Howdy lazywebbers!  I am currently in the market for purchasing a decent, relatively inexpensive portable music player. These are just some of my preferences for such a device:

  • Must work with Linux of course
  • Must support ogg vorbis either natively or by using rockbox
  • Must be small, something around the size of the iPod Shuffle or a tad bit larger
  • I don’t want to pay a lot for it, and I know you typically get what you pay for, but I will be using this while doing some extreme workouts and biking events.

I know if it is out there, you all will know. I went to a couple of stores today and none of them jumped out at me except for the Sansa Clip, which is nice and I heard it support ogg with a new firmware upgrade, plus it has FM radio on it. If any of you have this and it works well, let me know, as that might be the one I am looking for.

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  • Jim Campbell

    They’re releasing a pretty awesome new iPod soon.


  • Daniel

    Just get anything that supports Rockbox @

    I gather the Sansa’s are very good with that. I use an Iriver H10 with Rockbox and love it. FLAC, OGG, etc, Replaygain, crossfade, etc. They are great.

  • Jason Liquorish

    iRiver make a number of players that support ogg, although I can recommend the Clix 2, it works in Linux and can use MTP or MSC, supports OGG and has a pretty cool interface. The price of the Clix 2 should be coming down soon thanks to the release of a number of new players from iRiver.

  • I love my iAudio 7. It’s about 1.5″x3″x0.75″, Linux support is advertised, plays Ogg, does FM, voice recorder, plain-text reader & video (but on that screen…?), a few programmable buttons. Oh, it has *great* battery life. They advertise 3hr to charge, 60 to discharge. I’ve never measured, but I only charge it like once a month with over an hour each way to work, so…sounds about right. Feature list here:

    I have a black one like this But it comes in up to 16GB, I think.

  • As someone who has owned 2 Sansa e240’s running rockbox and two Cowon iAudio devices, I must say, go for the iAudio 7. As nice as Rockbox is, it just isn’t as nice as well-designed native interface. If you really need the extra features it is passable, but something that meets your needs out of the box would seem to be preferable. My housemate just recently got a 7 after seeing how much I enjoy my U3. The 7 is a thing of beauty. It easily meets all your requirements. My one complaint is that the controls are a bit fiddly. Since they are touch based, you don’t get any sort of tactile feedback so it’s easy to over-touch when navigating. Even with that niggle, I really have to fight the urge to get one. I certainly don’t need another DAP.

    16GB model on Newegg:

    Cowon’s Product Page:

  • My wife has a Sansa Clip. Rockbox will not be supported on it anytime soon, but I wasn’t aware that the latest firmware update included .ogg support. I will have to check that out. Otherwise, it is small, it does have FM radio (although reception isn’t great), and it does work with Linux. And my wife does enjoy her Clip.

  • Honestly, keep an eye on for a Sansa e260 (6gb) or the rarer Sansa e280 (8gb) — both are expandable with microsd.The Sansas come up all the time, and are really cheap (50-70 range). Standard firmware isn’t much to speak of, but I run Rockbox perfectly on mine and my girlfriend’s. They’re flash based, and therefore both small and good on battery (I get around 12 hours on mine).

  • G. Geoffrey

    While the size of the “Insignia Pilot” media player is bigger than Nano, it’s still small enough to fit in pockets including work-out shorts, etc. It runs great in Linux, supports ogg vorbis, comes in 4 or 8 gb, and has great sound. It can also get FM (excellent range) and record on/offline. And last, I really appreciate the wireless bluetooth that’s standard with this player. (price, about 1/2 of what iPod costs).

  • I have a Cowon iAudio F2, although there are newer ones available. It’s pretty small, and they advertise Linux support as a feature (it’s just a USB drive). Supports all useful formats (ogg, flac, mp3, etc. Not m4a but that doesn’t bother me)

  • I recently bought a Cown iAudio 7, and it’s fantastic. Basic rundown:
    Supported on any operating system with USB support.
    Flac, Ogg, MP3 all covered (plus others I don’t have)
    Does music, photos, FM radio, voice recording, FM radio recording, text files, kind of video (don’t buy for the video, but does it)
    Pretty darn tiny, yet solid, easy to hold, and unlikely to get lost still.
    Ridiculous battery life. Advertised 60 hours ideal, third-party testing around 54 under more normal use.
    Flash-based, so will hold up to workout and biking use.

    Available from Amazon, Newegg, and JetMall in 4, 8, or 16 GB versions.

    Hit me up on IRC for details.

  • I have a Cowon iAudio M5, which is more than what you are looking for, but which works so well with Linux and in general that I will echo others in saying good things about the company and suggest you examine their other offerings.

  • mat

    iAudio 7 is indeed fantastic (as well as other iAudio players, I used a M3 before). It’s really worth the money.

    You can also try to find Meizu players (same features you are looking for, cheaper), but be careful, there seems to be a lot of people complaining on various forums about their tendency to fail after a couple months or more

  • rs

    The Samsung P2 supports OGG and FLAC (after a firmware update usually), and has a fabulous interface. It comes as a MTP based player so it will work with amarok, and mtpfs, but it can also be converted to a generic USB storage medium through using the Korean firmware.

  • Bernd

    I bought this one some weeks ago. Native OGG support, small, linux support and cheap:

  • Hobbsee

    Another vote here for a iRiver Clix 2!

  • Cowon players are excellent. I’ve had several over the years and they all work great.

  • raindog

    I have an iAudio U3 from Cowon. They have great sound. I would recommend them to any Linux user, and even Windows users.

  • Wow, thanks everyone for the pointers there. I will put these into a list and look at picking the best one for my situation. It seems the Cowons are still crowd favorites among us geeks. There used to be a local place around here that sold the iAudio lines but I don’t know what happened to them. Thanks again everyone!

  • Omar

    I have a Meizu M6 SL. Plays Ogg and Flac. Works perfectly with Ubuntu 8.04, even its firmware can be upgraded from Ubuntu. (Just put 2 files on the root of the drive and when it boots up it finds and updates its own firmware)

  • Jens

    Can you recommend a good player for musicans that needs to record, but does not need studio quality? A good player would

    – Microphone or line in connector
    – Easy GUI that let’s you record with a single button press
    – Basic MP3 player functionality
    – Small and portable

  • Dave

    So which one have you chosen?? I gotta know!

    No one seems to have mentioned the Cowon iAudio D2 which just rocks as a music player and a video player. It’s easily the best player I’ve ever owned. It’s memory is expandable with SDHC cards, it has a Flash interface and it’s touch screen. There’s a very active user community that creates great flash themes.

  • I have a nokia 6120 that was free with my contract. Popped in a 2Gb card and a copy of Symbian Ogg play and all is sorted. No need to a separate player and it has an FM radio if that is what you want.. Just a thought.

  • OK, I went with the Sansa e260 while I await my Cowon iAudio 7. Just by luck, I live 5 miles from Tiger Direct, who just happened to have the e260’s that were 1st generation. This means I can (well already have) install rockbox on it. I got the 4gb version for $50 and already installed RockBox. Now I am copying music from my daapd server over to it.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions, and hopefully all of these will help out people who search for this same thing in the future. I plan on checking out some of the others too that were mentioned, especially the Meizu as they look kind of pimpish.

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