Subscription-compatible MP3 player for $39.99

I didn’t buy much on Black Friday 2005, the day after Thanksgiving when stores purportedly have all their crazy door-buster specials. I found most of the deals disappointing. But one deal that I took advantage of was a $39 special on a 512MB SanDisk Sansa m230 MP3 player. I went over to Best Buy with my uncle and we found them on the shelf. He started to grab a bunch, but I told him I thought it was probably one per customer. A salesperson wandered by, and told us there were no limits. They had tons in back, we should take as many as we wanted. He took at least 5. I grabbed 3. There are tons of cheap MP3 players out there, so what’s so special about this tiny SanDisk player? The m200 series of players is compatible with all the PlaysForSure subscription services including Napster, Rhapsody and Yahoo! Music. I’m a big fan of the subscription services; for the cost of one CD a month, I have access to over a million songs. If I hear something I like; I grab it…legally. Naysayers always point out that when your subscription expires, your music is gone.

Subscription-compatible MP3 player for $39.99

True, but take a close look at your music collection. Add up all the dollars spent on albums that you never listen to anymore. That’s a lot of wasted money. If you go the subscription route but you come across something that you know you’ll listen to forever, then buy it. (I would probably purchase the CD, not the DRM-protected download, but that’s another matter.)Back to the SanDisk player. On top of being subscription compatible, it also works with Audible.com downloadable audiobooks. That’s another rarity in a low-end player. If you haven’t tried Audible yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. And I continue to marvel at the fact that SanDisk was able to fit an LCD into this bargain player, something that Apple apparently couldn’t figure out how to do on the iPod shuffle. SanDisk is soon releasing an upgraded line of players that could establish them as a significant mover, so some stores have been clearing out their stock of existing units. This week, OfficeDepot has the m230 for $39.99 after $30 in rebates. It appears to be an in-store only special. In fact, their ad is a bit confusing.

They picture the 1GB m240 player and say that the deal is actually on their e130 non-subscription-compatible player, but it appears to really be the m230 that’s on sale. Make sure they give you the right one. And enjoy. This is a great little player.

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