With iPod discontinuation, what are the alternatives?

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Smartphones have largely replaced portable media players for most people. It’s been a few years since Apple bothered to update its iPod touch, and it’s been even longer since any other company try to offer a good Android-powered alternative to Apple’s touchscreen media player.

Apple is now abandoning its traditional iPod because most people with smartphones now use them for everything. However, many current smartphones – including Apple’s – don’t have FM, and none has a DAB radio.

Worse, smartphones need regular app updates and sometimes annual operating system upgrades. You also get loads of annoying notifications. It’s not like buying an MP3 player that will work unchanged for a decade or more, until the battery no longer holds a charge.

With that in mind, CNet has sorted through the shrinking MP3 player market for some worthwhile alternatives.

SanDisk Clip Jam

SanDisk must be pretty happy right about now — the SanDisk Clip Jam is one of the only ultracheap MP3 players left. The Clip Jam has always been a good alternative to the Shuffle because a) it has a screen, and b) it doesn’t require iTunes.

Sony NW-E390 Series

We haven’t reviewed the Sony players, but with prices starting at 4GB and based on what we’ve seen from Sony’s portable players of the past few decades, it should be a decent option.

Fiio X1

An audiophile favorite, the Fiio X1 offers a lot for your hundred bucks. It looks and sounds more expensive than it is and will sound great with headphones many times the price. While not as exercise-friendly as the Apple models, this is the budget MP3 player to buy.

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