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Ten... sub-£50 budget MP3 players

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Bush 4GB MP3 Player

RH Numbers

The pick-me-up-at-Argos brands of MP3 players exist for those on a tight budget. Sure they will save a few quid, but are they really worth it? Maybe that's being a little harsh on Bush, but having gone through several in the past, I don't feel too bad saying it.

This model, while better than any I've previously seen from the vendor, still disappoints. As usual with a Bush, it's simple and easy to use, but also has surprisingly decent battery life, a voice recorder and Micro SD support, which adds a welcome boost to the memory capacity. However, it still feels cheap and takes ages to boot up with a card in it, especially if packed with content.

The sound is below average, lacks oomph and the maximum volume is rather low too. Moreover, music simply feels uninspiring through the cheaper-than-chips headphones supplied that almost strangle with an odd noose-like cable. I remained unimpressed after I switched to my trusty Audio Chi headphones and was surprised at the amount of positive customer reviews. I guess anyone who writes "Just shows you can't go wrong with Argos!" may not have too exacting standards.

Bush 4GB MP3 Player

Argos logoReg Rating 45%
Price £25 (4GB)
File support WMA, MP3
More Info Argos

Cowon iAudio E2

RH Numbers

Available in seven colours, Cowon’s iAudio E2 is as close to a keyring attachment as you’re going to find. But while the plastic casing mimics a slick metal look, the lightweight body and minimum features do little to warrant a positive first impression. And with just four subtle and somewhat fiddly control buttons, the E2 looks more like something you’d unlock your car with.

The sound itself is spacious and clear but I’d prefer it louder, although switching through its multiple filters gives a needed boost. I couldn’t hear a huge difference between these though, except for Mach3bass, which I rarely reverted from. When headphones are unplugged, sound pauses, but stick them back in and the volume level is reset.

Although there’s no AAC support, the device does cover Flac, Ogg and Wav formats and has a long battery life, so it certainly will appeal to more demanding users. However, the supplied headphones were predictably basic and the E2's performance is average at best.

Cowon iAudio E2

lg logoReg Rating 65%
Price £40 (2GB) £45 (4GB)
Format support MP3, WMA, Ogg, Flac, Wav
More Info Advanced Mp3 Players

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