What non-touchscreen MP3 players are alternatives to the iPod?

Denise E September 13, 2014
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I currently own a 5th generation iPod Nano. It’s doing very well despite many hard smacks on the pavement and a cracked screen (the LCD display has leaked a bit). But all good things must come to an end, and one day I might have to say goodbye to it once I am no longer able to repair it (I imagine one day very soon, the spare bits and whatnot will also no longer be produced).

More to the point – Apple has discontinued its sale of the click-wheel iPod, and I would like to know what other viable alternatives are out there.

I do not want a touch screen MP3 player, because I really like to just stick my hand into my pocket and press away, knowing exactly what I am doing without looking. I’ve had a look at some of Creative’s products, Philips, Samsung, and Sony too, but they either don’t make non-touch screen players, or their players have teeny weeny little storage capacities (like 4-8 gb, and I’m looking more for something in the ballpark of 16gb and above).

Summary:

  • Equal to or more than 16GB storage
  • FM radio if possible
  • Mac OSX compatible
  • NO touch screen (please gently let me know if there will soon be no such thing, and I will try not to cry dinosaur tears)

  1. Howard B
    September 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    IIRC, SanDisk still makes its Sansa, Clip, and Fuze players, which have small displays but still have "click" buttons; there are also "iPod Shuffle" clone (ripoff) players that have the ring of buttons and the center "play" button that are cheap, but use mini- or micro-USB and microSD cards. I'd say they're cheap (~$10) and disposable, but not high quality.
    Maybe you'd be better off getting a BlueTooth headset with play/pause controls for your phone? Best of both worlds - one device, with the easy controls you're looking for.

  2. Oron J
    September 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

    My family have always used the Sansa Clip, and I have a couple of friends who bought one having seen them. They're slightly bigger than the iPod Nano but still very small (2.2 x 1.3 inches) and are fully formed with a small screen and "clicky" buttons.

    Feature-wise, they include an FM radio, a mic (so you can use them as recorders, though they're not brilliant at that) and they have an micro-SD slot (not sure all models do). They charge via USB (mini or micro, can't remember just now) and will sync. with a PC either directly from Windows Media Player or by dragging songs across. The latter would surely work with a Mac too, but I'm not sure if you can sync. to them directly from iTunes.

    • Denise E
      September 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks Oron J!

      I'm sure it'll be fine if it works by drag and drop - I could just keep itunes to organise my music and drag and drop the music across from the itunes folder.

      so far, the Sansa brand of players seems to have a solid reputation with good looking products.

  3. Hovsep A
    September 13, 2014 at 7:38 am

    sansa view if you can hold to one of it, as Dalsan M suggest Sansa Fuse+ but i dont like touch-pad navigation which can be sluggish compared to a better scrolling clickwheel of sansa view.

    You can also get Iriver mp3 players or cowon i10 (16-32gb)

  4. Dalsan M
    September 13, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Have you checked out Sandisk Sansa products like the Fuse+? It has a 2.4 inch non-touch screen, but offers up to 16GB internal storage and a micro-SD slot for expansion up to another 32GB. It is geared towards users with fitness in mind, so it should be fairly durable. I've always heard and seen rave reviews about the sound quality and ease of use, which is a big plus.

    http://www.sandisk.com/products/music-video-players/fuze-plus/

    • Denise E
      September 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks for this, I looked it up, but it needs windows media player. I'll try to find out more information about it, see what they have in the shops near me. If it's compatible with a mac, then it's definitely going onto the wishlist! :)

  5. Ben S
    September 13, 2014 at 2:22 am

    I never had an iPod when they got big; I had a Zune instead. I don't know if they even still sell them, but the first generation were not touch-screen. They had an FM radio, could be bought up to 80 GB in size, but I don't know if they were compatible with OS X. I imagine you could just drag-and-drop files onto it, though.

    For reference, this is the model that I have:

    http://smile.amazon.com/Zune-Digital-Media-Player-Black/dp/B000WG6XW6/ref=sr_1_9?s=mp3&ie=UTF8&qid=1410575139&sr=1-9&keywords=zune

    • Denise E
      September 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks for flagging up the Zune! When it initially came out, it seemed that it would be a flop - but the capacity looks good and it seems to work ok. I'll check it out!

    • Ben S
      September 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      You're welcome. Note that the one I linked to probably isn't the best deal, and different sized-storage Zunes may look different. But it's a solid player that should serve your needs.

      Hope that works out for you! I used to also have a Sandisk Sansa player, but it was tiny and likely wouldn't be what you're looking for, at least in storage capacity. This is the kind I had; how dated, huh?

      http://smile.amazon.com/SanDisk-Sansa-m230-Player-Blue/dp/B000BONJXU/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1410633106&sr=8-22&keywords=sandisk+sansa

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