10 MP3 players still cheaper than the iPod Shuffle

Apple lowered the price of the 1GB iPod Shuffle today to the ultralow price of $49. That’s pretty damn cheap. Like, not-even-worth-stealing cheap. If price is the deciding factor for your MP3 player, you’ve got to get an iPod now, right?

Not so fast. Even before the industry reacts to Apple price-cutting, there are right now, today, plenty of MP3 players out there that cost less. If you really want the absolute best deal — or simply can’t bring yourself to buy anything Apple — browse our list of 10 MP3 players cheaper than the iPod shuffle, each with its own unique twist, by clicking the Continue link below.


1. The Cube One
Clearly a ripoff of mobiBlu’s Cube, Nextar’s MA323-2BL cube shape will certainly garner more curious onlookers than an iPod. It even includes an FM tuner and a voice recorder. Sure it only holds 256MB of tunes, but what do you want for the price of a movie ticket? $14.99


2. The Headphone One
These folding USB headphones do one better than just providing you with music — they also take away that annoying headphone cord. With controls for volume and track skipping on one of the earpieces, these phones are your MP3 player… provided you supply an SD card to hold music. But even when you factor in that cost it’s still a better deal than the Shuffle. $22.99


3. The Pink One
Do you like pink? Coby’s MP-C582 Clip MP3 player is all about catering to girlish stereotypes, with its pink paint job listed first and foremost in its list of features. Like, omigawd, I have to have that! The 1GB of memory holds as much as the Shuffle (but is compatible with WMAs), and apparently comes with “professional” stereo headphones. I’m convinced. $25.16


4. The Curvy One
Sony’s Bean MP3 player doesn’t have any hard edges to it, theoretically making it more comfortable to hold than most. The battery life isn’t too shabby either, rated at a respectable 50 hours. Plus the direct USB connection means you’ll have one less cable cluttering up your house. Oh, and it’s compatible with Sony’s ATRAC3 format, not that anyone cares. $31.99


5. The Cool-Backlight One
This player from Sansa is called the Clip, but what really makes it stand out is the blue backlight behind the control dial. The Clip has a pretty slick design, for sure, also sporting a multiple-line screen — not something you’ll find on the Shuffle. It has all those other non-iPod perks, too: an FM tuner, a voice recorder, easy file storage. Factor in the good reviews, and the Clip may be the best value for your money. $35.84


6. The Flash-Drive One
Also well-reviewed, SanDisk’s Sansa Express doesn’t have a clip, but it’s super-easy to connect to your PC thanks to its USB-drive-like design. Well, a USB drive circa 2004. There’s 1GB of onboard memory (just like the Shuffle has), but the microSD slot lets you pump that up even further. $36.41


7. The Chocolate One
OK, Brando’s Chocolate MP3 player isn’t exactly edible, but its shell is shaped so much like a candy bar that it earned the “Chocolate” label. At least that’s my theory. Otherwise, there isn’t much rationale for the name, but do you really care when the delicious insides of this thing can hold a hearty 2GB for so cheap? $39


8. The Bronze One
Kind of resembling a Zippo lighter, Nextar’s MA99T-5BE player is compatible with formats apenty — MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WMV, ASF, and WAV. Too bad it’s only got 512MB, but hey, the shiny bronze finish is certainly a plus! That and possibly the included armband (still a rarity). $39.43


9. The Creative Zen One
One of the perennial challengers to Apple’s dominance over the MP3 player market is Creative, and the company’s Zen Stone Plus seemingly has the goods to one-up the Shuffle. First, it has 2GB of memory onboard. Then there’s the FM tuner, voice recorder, and screen. Last, that smooth, glossy finish has to count for something. If you can live without a clip, this player could be golden. $40.97


10. The AAA-Battery-Powered One
If repeatedly charging up MP3 players by plugging them into USB ports annoys the hell out of you, the Philips SA4020 is perfect for you. Running on a single AAA battery and holding a respectable 2GB, the sleek black player will keep you rocking for 10 hours. When the time’s up, just slip in another battery. All this and a screen, too? Pinch me! $44.99