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This question has been asked numerous times, but I wanted to start an up to date general discussion and also ask for some specifics about a couple brands. The basic ...
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    Portable Media Players


    This question has been asked numerous times, but I wanted to start an up to date general discussion and also ask for some specifics about a couple brands.

    The basic question is: What portable media player should I get if I want it to work well(flawlessly?) with Linux? However, I have some refinements:

    1. Not made by Apple(I don't want to support the company)
    2. Have .ogg support
    3. Have a storage option with around 20GB+
    4. Isn't terribly expensive for the device features
    5. Has a screen with menu. (I.E. scroll by artist, recently played, etc.)
    6. Would be nice if it had an SD card slot
    7. Preferably will sync with Rythmbox or at the very least just mount. I'd like to not have to install any company's software to get it working.


    With this in mind, I have seen Sansa devices recommended as well as Samsung and iRiver. I'm currently leaning torwards the iRiver e200 but have some questions about it which I will list later below. My problem with Samsung is that they don't seem to have any high capacity devices (At least on their USA site, i'm not against buying overseas). As for Sansa, i've heard people say they would "never buy from sandisk" but haven't seen any reasons why. Anyone know?


    Questions about the iRiver e200:

    1. I saw someone mention in a review that you have to go to a seperate menu to see the SD card music. Is this true?(i'd like to have at least an option to make it integrated)
    2. How well does the device stand up to normal wear and tear?
    3. I couldn't find much about the interface, how usable is it?
    4. Any major software glitches?
    5. How does it work with Linux? (just mounts, have to download software, etc.)



    P.S. Please note that I am open to other brands besides the ones I talked about above, those are just what i've found recommended so far. Oh, it'd be an added bonus(no where near required) if the device had an active open source software mod(like rockbox) community around it.

  2. #2
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    I don't know why someone would say that about Sandisk, they support Linux and I've had nothing but great luck with Sansa Fuze. It has worked flawlessly for about a year and still holds a charge as good as day one. I use mine at work and it gets dropped, stepped on and just violently abused by my clumsy self. It has also survived a few live Concerts. I use Amarok to manage it. Sadly, the largest capacity is 8GB but they do have an SD card slot. This is from the above link:
    Plays videos, music, photos and audio books*
    Digital FM radio
    Voice recording with built-in microphone
    Bright 1.9" screen
    Up to 24 hours for audio playback and 5 hours of video playback with internal rechargeable battery**
    microSDTM /microSDHCTM slot for additional content expansion
    Music subscription ready
    1 Year Limited Warranty
    Dimensions: 3.1 x 1.9 x 0.3 in. (HxWxD)
    Minimum System Requirements:

    Windows® XP or Vista
    Linux and Mac OS (under MSC mode)
    Windows Media Player® 10 or 11
    CD-ROM drive (For all regions except US)
    USB 2.0 high power port required for Hi-Speed transfer and charging
    *1 gigabyte (GB) = 1 billion bytes. Some of the listed capacity is used for formatting and other functions, and thus is not available for data storage.
    **Video Approximation for QCIF+ MPEG-4 Video at 512kbps; Songs - Approximation based on 4 minute songs at 128 kbps MP3; Photos - At 6 mega pixels, actual number of photos may vary based on camera model, resolution and compression.
    Last edited by MikeTbob; 11-26-2010 at 09:06 PM.
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    SD Card Capacity

    Well, while the sansa Fuze do not, i've noticed that other players (like the iRiver above) say that they will only support 8GB or lower SD cards. Do you have any idea why this would be? Also, can you confirm or deny that Sansa Fuze can use greater than 8GB sd cards? If it could, then I would buy a 16 or 32 GB sd card, and that would more than make up for the lesser capacity. Also, is music on the SD card seamlessly used? Or do I have to select an SD card option to see its music?

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    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    I do not know what the maximum SD card size is. Like I said, mine is over 1 year old and I think the largest SD card I can get is 8GB. The newer models might support more, I'm not sure. As for the Music SD cards, I have not bought one of those either. I think it's called slotRadio, but they do seem like a rather nice deal and they are pretty cheap too compared to the Iphone and other devices.
    I don't think it's possible to listen to more than 8GB is music in a day, or are you planning something different?
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    Well, with your reccommendation and the help of some other reviews I recently found, I think I will get a Sansa Fuze+. I did find that it supports up to 32GB sd cards. In any case, i'll take the rest of my questions to the sansa forums.

    P.S. Does it work well with rhythmbox or similar programs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mordocai View Post
    Well, while the sansa Fuze do not, i've noticed that other players (like the iRiver above) say that they will only support 8GB or lower SD cards. Do you have any idea why this would be?
    With most memory cards the controller chip is built into the device rather than the card, so any device which uses SD cards (digital camera, mp3 player etc.) has a maximum size card it can take (normally the maximum size available when the device is being developed).

    The only exception was the compact flash card, which explains a.) its bulk and b.) it's popularity in professional digicams for so long!

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    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
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    I have an older sansa. It has a micro sd card. All the songs appear on the
    same menu, but when plugged in to a computer it appears as two
    external drives.

  8. #8
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTbob View Post
    I do not know what the maximum SD card size is. Like I said, mine is over 1 year old and I think the largest SD card I can get is 8GB. The newer models might support more, I'm not sure. As for the Music SD cards, I have not bought one of those either. I think it's called slotRadio, but they do seem like a rather nice deal and they are pretty cheap too compared to the Iphone and other devices.
    I don't think it's possible to listen to more than 8GB is music in a day, or are you planning something different?
    A CD ripped to mp3's at 194kbps comes out at something under 100mb (typically about 80 or less). That means you can easily get 20+ albums on a single 2gb sd card. On an 8gb card, that comes to about 100 albums, which is 3-4 days worth of listening, 24 hours per day! If you have one of these while traveling (I do), and are on the road for about 12 hours per day on a cross-country trip, then you can get from NY to SF/LA and back on one 8gb card, without repeating!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux User sgosnell's Avatar
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    The Sansa Fuze is a good choice, I think. I really like mine. You won't find many with the capacity you want, but you can load a microSD card in the slot and get it. I have an older 4GB version, and with a 16GB card I have 20GB available, and the price wasn't that high. SD cards are cheap, and work well. I put Rockbox on mine, and find it's an improvement over the original OS.

    I don't know where you got the idea that Sandisk or anyone else would only support 8GB cards, because it's difficult at best to limit the capacity to that. Almost any device that uses SD cards, of any type, will accept up to 32GB capacity, which is the largest you can buy.

    I have all my music on both my Fuze and my phone, approaching 16GB, and while I certainly can't listen to all of it in a day or even a week, it's convenient to have it with me and available for listening. The Fuze also accepts video, so you can put almost any video you like on it for viewing, and video takes up a lot of space. It's nice to have enough storage for whatever you find on the internet webtubez.

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    This is my perfect portable media player. Great price. Big screen. Fits in your pocket. or run Linux, this player is for you. The video playback is perfect.

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