MP3 Player Woes

A while back I was searching for an MP3 player that had the following features:


·         approximately 256MB Memory built in

·         Great Asthetics

·         FM Radio Tuner

·         Backlit LCD

·         Small & Lightwieght

·         Runs off of one replaceable AA or AAA battery

·         Voice Recording (built in microphone)


·         Expandable memory (either Compact Flash or Smart Media)


A very tall order if I do say so myself!  I didn’t really think I was going to get all of this in one device.  


“Yeah right,” I thought to myself!   I figured I’d have to compromise on something.


My initial search yeilded various players that only had some of the features (i.e. 256MB, FM Tuner, Voice record, non-expandable) but not all.  Well, after reviewing the entire set of MP3 players for sale on (about 100 of them at the time 98 right now) I actually found a couple of candidates:


  1. Digitalway FL100
  2. Frontier Labs Nex IA


After some breif delibration I decided that the Digitalway offered me all of the features that I was looking for.  I now have my hands on this sleek player and after all of the long searching I can play with it to my hearts content.


Unfortunately there’s a problem:  the voice recording on the device goes to the internal memory and not removable media.  This is completely inconfigurable; it’s even on the Digitalway’s FAQ.  Of course you don't find these types of things out till you get the device home!!!


Now this really bites…here’s the perfect MP3 play for my needs and the darn thing trips over itself and falls face first right before the finish line.  How inconvenient.  I’m going to ping the Digitalway folks and maybe they can whip me up a special version of the firmware that can record to the removable drive…we’ll see how far that goes.


Wish me luck!

Comments (11)

  1. Raymond Chen says:

    I went through a similar agony and decided to give up on memory expansion. If I want to reload I can hook it up to my laptop. (Which I rarely need to do, since I only listen for a half hour at a time – during bus rides and such.)

    My theory was, "Technology is changing so rapidly, there’s no point trying to get the perfect device. In two years even the perfect device will be obsolete."

  2. Brandon Paddock says:

    I was going to suggest the iRiver iFP-790, until I realized that it’s apparently not expandable =/ Otherwise it would appear to fit the bill nicely.

  3. Sahil Malik says:

    Look at this though –

    1 GIG of memory !!!

    And I can vouch for iRiver, they’re good.

  4. Robert Gruen says:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the recomendations! I actually already have an I-River 😉 and I like it alot! The particular one I mentioned above is for a specific need I have.

    The player is actually going to someone else whom I want to do voice recording so we can mail the removeable media via snail mail. The other party can keep the MP3 player and continue to use it while we ship media back and forth. Hence all of the specific requirements! (I didn’t want to have to get two of the same MP3 players which I had considered until I found the Digitalway).

    Keep the suggestions coming though!

  5. Kal El says:


    I’ve got the Creative MuVo NX – it has 128Mb ram (there is a 256Mb version). it has voice recording that gets saved as Wav files. It also plays MP3’s. But no radio.

    You pull out the main unit and it behaves like a usb drive, so you can copy mp3’s and wav’s on and off of it.

    the 128mb version can hold 8 hrs of voice recording (when there’s no mp3 tracks on it).

    I bought it primarily as a replacement for my old-school micro tape recorder.

    the other cool thing about the muvo is that you can plug it into a Creative Speaker system (something something L3500) and it’ll start playing your mp3’s or wav’s – no need for a computer – very cool.

    hope this helps!

  6. Kal El says:

    sorry, should’ve posted some links for you

    MuVo NX:

    Creative Speaker System:


  7. Robert Gruen says:


    Thanks for the information!

    Unfortunately as I mentioned on the blog, all of the items above are/were "required" and I was not willing to make ANY compromises. So, while the MuVo is flexible it is not a candidate since it doesn’t have a FM tuner.

    Hence the reason finding a MP3 player that fit all of my requirements was so frustrating.

  8. at says:

    If you still need the info i have a player that fits all your needs. Dunno if you’ve heard of it but in Asutralia it’s called the EFX Newgen5 series. It has from 128-512mb of inbilut memory, and all of them can be expanded to 1gb using sd/mmc cards. It has radio, voice recording from any device and is very small. Search For it, you”l be delighted!

  9. James says:

    Here you go –

    Search through all the mp3 players.

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