For running and other activities where I need some music for motivation, a tiny, inexpensive player — the Sansa Clip+ from Sandisk — has been my product of choice for the past few months. It comes in three iterations (different storage capacities) and costs $39.99 and up.
The little music player is not made for the outdoors specifically — it is not “ruggedized” and water will kill it. But for training and around-town use, the no-fuss unit is just what I need.
It can store and play MP3, WMA and other file formats like most music players. I have a couple dozen albums loaded on my 4GB version ($49.99). There’s a slot to use microSDHC cards and expand storage capacity if needed. The device has an FM radio tuner and a voice recorder function as extras.
Though it has a belt clip, I mostly run with the Clip+ in my shorts pocket. It is tiny and light, just 2 inches tall and a bit over an inch wide. Battery life is about 15 hours, and it recharges by plugging into a USB port on a notebook computer.
Standard-issue earbuds come with the Sandisk player, and they are fine for everyday use. But for activity, I switch to sport-specific earphones from Yurbuds, which have silicone inserts that do not budge when I run.
The Clip+ has a small screen with a simple menu. Though it looks like a mini iPod, the Sandisk player is not a replacement to a full-feature media device. But for workouts, the tiny music player has served me well as I run miles on road and trails each week.