Need a cheap MP3 player? It doesn’t get much cheaper than the Simplicity Fashion Pocket MP3 Player, which is available from Gearbest for $1.51. That price includes free shipping to the US. Seriously.

I recently picked up four different cheap MP3 players from Gearbest for a project I’m working on, and I’m glad I did because it turns out that some are better than others. But the Simplicity Fashion model is by far my favorite.

Keep in mind that the price doesn’t include silly things like a microSD card, headphones, or mini USB cable, all of which you’ll need. But if you’ve already got those, this thing is really just a buck and a half. If you don’t, you can probably pick up some accessories. for a few bucks more.

This little MP3 player doesn’t have a screen, and it doesn’t have any built-in storage. But it can read microSD cards up to 16GB and should get up to 3 hours of battery life from its 90 mAh rechargeable battery.

All you need to do is copy some music (or other audio) to the SD card and turn on the device to start listening. The body is plastic, but it’s protected by a metal frame and has a sturdy metal clip that you can use to attach the MP3 player to clothing. And the buttons feel reasonably responsive and sturdy (at least considering the price range).

That’s not something I could say about the other MP3 players I ordered from Gearbest to test. The Simplicity Fashion model had the best audio quality and the sturdiest build quality.

What it lacks are any advanced features. It supports play, pause, volume, fast forward, rewind, and skip track… and that’s about it.

As far as I can tell, tracks are played in alphanumeric order. And if you turn off the device and turn it on again the MP3 player will start playing the last track you were listening to from the beginning. For example, if you’ve got a 10-song album on the audio player and you were halfway through track 5 when you turned off the device, it’ll start playing track 5 from the beginning when you turn it back on.

In other words, you can listen to any type of audio, but this MP3 player is probably better suited to music than audiobooks or podcasts since it won’t save your place in long audio files.

There’s no shuffle option, but you can press-and-hold the play button to enter repeat mode. When the track you’re listening to ends, it will start again… and again. You can go back to normal playback mode by long-pressing the center button again.

If you plug it into a computer with a mini USB cable it becomes a microSD card reader, whether the power switch is turned to the on or off position. But it’s a pretty slow card reader so I’d recommend using an external card reader if you plan to transfer a lot of data.

I bought the silver model, but the MP3 player is also available in red, blue, green, and black color options.

I’ll probably keep using my smartphone for most of my music listening needs (since it works with Bluetooth headphones, stores a lot more data, and, you know, has a screen). But this little MP3 player is perfect for what I bought it for: it’ll be used as part of a multimedia gallery show where visitors can use the MP3 players to listen to audio interviews while viewing visuals at various stations in the exhibit space.

You could also probably use the Simplicity Fashion Pocket MP3 Player while running or at the gym since it’s small enough not to get in the way of your workout and cheap enough that you won’t worry too much about it getting lost or stolen.

The most expensive model I tested was a $3.75 MP3 player that has a tiny LCD display and supports more features, but the navigation wheel start to fall off moments after I started testing the device, the user interface is confusing and difficult to navigate, and generally the sound quality isn’t as good as on the Simplicity Fashion model.

The other two cheap models I tried don’t feel as sturdy or sound as good as the Simplicity Fashion version. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably one of the best MP3 players you’re going to find for $1.50… because seriously, it’s just $1.50.

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20 replies on “This might be the best MP3 player you can get for $1.50”

  1. I ordered two of these units. One of them was DOA – surprise, they have a DOA policy – when they arrived on Saturday. I can already tell how this is going to go down, we are already on our second email exchange.

    I spent a total of 1.60 x 2 + 1.80 for shipping. I’ve sent in my photos and am now waiting for a reply from their ‘technical team’. And if they agree to replace the unit, I must pay for return shipping. And if they determine the unit was DOA, they will reimburse me the return shipping cost. The label says return somewhere, The Netherlands, but I presume they have different return addresses for regional markets.

    Unless you’re doing a bulk order, which is probably the only time any real QA gets done, you have a 50/50 shot of getting a hip-baroque paper clip that lights up when you plug it in.

    The MP3 codec on this unit is almost non-existent – garbage in/garbage out – the quality of your MP3 creator-app determines how enjoyable listening will be. I have no issues with the unit that works, it’s perfect for quick trips. If you are tired of grabbing/hooking the earplug cord when you shovel, etc., this unit will resolve that.

  2. I have such player. In my country its price is comparable to price of a pack of cigarettes. Very nice thing, however in my unit, packed in transparent plastic box, cable is poor and other should be used.

  3. Do you just put the songs in the root of the sd card or inside a “Music” folder?

  4. If you try to find and buy the 90mA battery alone, you’ll probably pay more than $1.5.

    1. IKEA made this simplier. Ikea Ladda 4 pcs/pack just for $4. 1.2V, 500 mAh.

  5. I have one of these and have not been able to use it. It does not remember the position of where you stopped listening. If you listen to books, it always starts from the beginning. Have you figured out how to make it remember the position?

  6. I’ve own a bunch of this exact model. It doesnt have shuffle, etc. I usually add a bit of Krazy Glue to seal the seams. When i go running I’ll take two incase the first one fails which they eventually do.

  7. I have the one with the screen. Actually that was what I got for $1.2 a couple months ago. I buy these regularly as a cheap source for small LiPo batteries with charger circuit and screens for my projects.

  8. Does it have “resume” function? E.g. when I turn it off, then back on, do I need to skip and ffwd some to find the point I’ve left, or not?

    1. It resumes at the beginning of the last track you were listening to, but it starts that track from the beginning.

      So it won’t save your place in a podcast, but it will sort of save your space in a playlist.

  9. I assume it plays files in numeric-alpha order, i.e. no random/shuffle mode?

      1. A little further testing shows that yes, it plays files in that order and there is a repeat function (press-and-hold the play button and when a track ends it will replay the same track).

        There’s no shuffle option that I can find.

        And if you turn off the MP3 player and turn it on again, it will sort of save your space: it starts at the beginning of the last track you were listening to. Not ideal if you want it to save your place in a podcast or audiobook, but decent enough for music.

  10. And when it fails, which with these happens quite soonish, you throw it into the garbage bin.
    That much for sustainability and recycling.

  11. This sounds like a nice giveaway item for events like fairs and parties.

  12. Thanks for the quick writeup! While my phone usually does the trick, sometimes a dedicated mp3 player is exactly what’s needed. While I could certainly wish for features this player doesn’t have, as you stated… it’s $1.50. It’s probably worth the cost just for those 5 times you’ll ever use it.

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