MP3 player recommendation

Old Jul 9th, 2018, 05:25 PM
  #1  
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MP3 player recommendation

I'm looking to buy a cheap MP 3 player to download Rick Steves audio guides for various cities in Europe. Does anyone have recommendations, features to look for or ones to avoid?

Thanks for your help
Floridacouple is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2018, 08:02 PM
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Do you have an iPhone or an Android phone? There is a free Rick Steves app you can download to your phone and then access many of his guides, podcasts, etc. I would rather use this app than take a second device that will have its own charging plug.
Jean is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2018, 10:28 PM
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Any sort of old, used smart phone would work just fine to play MP3 files. If you don't have a smart phone, ask your family and friends, see if someone has a spare old smart phone they aren't using. Doesn't need phone service.
Andrew is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2018, 11:56 PM
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>>> Does anyone have recommendations, features to look for or ones to avoid?
This depends on your usage model which is likely to be different from the other people. Features essential and intuitive for others can be onerous to you. You try out the whole package and decide what makes sense to YOU.

>>> download Rick Steves audio guides for various cities in Europe.
If your posting history indicates where you have already been on your own, it seems what Rick Steves covers in the audio guides would be no longer relevant. The audio presents what he covers in his books but in a more chatty way in audio form. Have you already listened to his audio guide to see if you really care to go through this trouble?

I see that people still buy dedicated MP3 player. They usually don't state why they want to carry yet another single purpose gadget in need of charging.
If you have not manipulated MP3 files to download to a player, it can be somewhat of a chore if you are starting from scratch.

If the RIck Steves guide is the only MP3 files of interest, you can bypass all the geeky processes by downloading Rick Steves app to a smartphone at home using your Wifi. Once you download the Rick Steves app, you hit "Find Tours and Interviews" and search and "download' the audio guides of your interest. Once you are done downloading, hit "My Playlist" from the first menu which lists all the audio guides you downloaded. At this point, the unit is standalone and no longer needs any network connections.

If you carry a WiFi capable device, such as a smartphone, instead of a dedicated mp3 player, you can also download audio guides on a fly at museums offering downloadable or network accessible guides.
greg is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2018, 02:25 PM
  #5  
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Excellent advice and I thank you for your input. I do have a smartphone(iPhone), just not smart about using it. And it makes perfect sense not to have multiple devices. I do not want a SIM card (will be hitting multiple countries) or buy a burner phone. I have switched my service to Xfinity mobile and their international plan charges by call and text.

My fear is turning on my phone and being hit with expensive roaming charges and for data usage. Not a big data user and if these audios "use data" I'd prefer another alternative to access walking tours. I have been told to put it in airplane mode and that would block any calls or texts. But if I turn the phone on to listen to a downloaded audio guide, wouldn't any calls or texts "download". (I am subjected to at least 6 calls from telemarketing companies/day and their voicemails. I'll put them on block, but they just switch dialers . Yes, I have added my phone to the Do Not Call Registry, but nothing seems to stop it. )

I have gone to both the Apple and Xfinity stores to ask my questions, but I haven't felt real confident with the answers. Maybe my question to y'all is what settings international travelers have used successfully used to avoid unnecessary excessive charges and still been able to use their phone .

Again, thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge.
Floridacouple is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2018, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Floridacouple View Post
Excellent advice and I thank you for your input. I do have a smartphone(iPhone), just not smart about using it. And it makes perfect sense not to have multiple devices. I do not want a SIM card (will be hitting multiple countries) or buy a burner phone. I have switched my service to Xfinity mobile and their international plan charges by call and text.
Why again don't you want a SIM card? You can buy one in the first country and roam for free (data use) in multiple countries - thanks to the EU's "roam like at home" rule that gets rid of most roaming charges. SIM cards are pretty cheap. But your phone must be unlocked. If you say you just switched the phone to Xfinity after using it on some other service, it is presumably unlocked.

The biggest downside of using a foreign SIM card on your phone is that you won't have your US phone number (for calls/texts) while the foreign SIM is in place - you'll have say an Italian phone number while you have an Italian SIM card in the phone, until you replace it again with your Xfinity SIM again. But it sounds like you won't care about that, anyway, if you were not even planning to turn the phone on in Europe. You can simply go to a mobile store in Europe and buy a SIM card - tell them what you want to use it for, and let them set it all up for you. Just keep the old SIM card safe in a container so you won't lose it! The nano SIM in an iPhone is pretty small.

My fear is turning on my phone and being hit with expensive roaming charges and for data usage. Not a big data user and if these audios "use data" I'd prefer another alternative to access walking tours. I have been told to put it in airplane mode and that would block any calls or texts. But if I turn the phone on to listen to a downloaded audio guide, wouldn't any calls or texts "download".
If you keep the phone in Airplane Mode, you can't use any data and you won't receive calls or texts, but you can listen to any audio files (like Rick Steves audio guides) you've already downloaded, on WiFi. However, make sure you turn on WiFI after turning on Airplane Mode, so you can still use the phone at hotels and restaurants for free. There is no charge to use your phone on WiFi, assuming the phone is free. You can download the Rick Steves audio guides on WiFi before you even get to Europe if you want. Try listening to the audio guides at home as a test - put the phone in Airplane Mode first then start listening to one of the audio files.

Again, really suggest you buy a SIM card in the first country. Probably the #1 benefit of my phone when I travel is using it for walking and public transit directions, on the fly. It saves me hours of time, not needing to bury my head in maps or bus schedules anymore - something I always found tedious on past trips. Clearly you are OK walking around with the phone anyway - why not spend an extra 20 or 30 euros (at most, maybe less) so you can enjoy the full use of your phone? Tell us what countries you will visit and we can give you more info on the best SIM card to get. I re-used my Dutch Vodafone SIM from last year in Portugal this last May, and it cost me all of 10 euros to have fast data on my phone for eight days. Well worth it.

Keep the phone in Airplane Mode (but then turn WiFI on) to avoid all charges prior to buying a SIM card - but once you buy and install the foreign SIM card, you need to turn Airplane Mode OFF so you can use data on your phone. Again, let the agent at the mobile store set it all up before you leave the store.
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 03:47 PM
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Thanks for excellent advice. I will be in Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Belgium. Thought I had to buy a SIM card in each
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Old Jul 19th, 2018, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Floridacouple View Post
Thanks for excellent advice. I will be in Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Belgium. Thought I had to buy a SIM card in each
Yep - one SIM card will suffice for all of those places. I'd recommend the Dutch Vodafone SIM, just because I've used it the last two trips to Europe. I bought mine on eBay - haven't even used it in the Netherlands! You can just find a Vodafone store when you get to the Netherlands and have them set it up. Keep your phone in Airplane Mode (but then turn WiFi on for free use at hotels etc.) until then.

Now, if your trip is longer than 30 days, then you might either need a second SIM or need to top-up the Vodafone SIM again and add another month. You buy "bundles" for 30 days at a time with this SIM. Currently it costs 10 euros for 2GB of data, 15 euros for 4GB of data, or 20 euros for 6GB of data. I use my phone a lot when I travel, and I barely used 2GB in 17 days last year. I used about 800MB in about 7-8 days in Portugal. How much data you need depends in part on how long your trip will be.
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Old Jul 20th, 2018, 02:00 AM
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Indeed as Andrew says; one SIM works for all these places. Be extremely careful if you pass through Switzerland at any stage; they will hit you with huge roaming charges.

'The biggest downside of using a foreign SIM card on your phone is that you won't have your US phone number (for calls/texts) while the foreign SIM is in place' - unless you have a Oneplus which lets you use 2 SIM cards at the same time.
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Old Jul 20th, 2018, 06:34 AM
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A lot of Android phones have dual SIM holders these days even the cheapest ones.
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Old Jul 20th, 2018, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by greg View Post
I see that people still buy dedicated MP3 player. They usually don't state why they want to carry yet another single purpose gadget in need of charging.
.
Good MP3 players have more storage and longer battery life. Even my ancient Ipod with a wonky battery can go most of a week on one charge. Plus if you run down the battery on the MP3 your phone still works. Likely your phone charger and cable works with the MP3 player.

To the OP there are some cheap MP3 players on places like Amazon. They often start with only 8GB of storage but likely more than you need .

MP3 player

Cheap enough even if you lose it no great damage.

Higher quality players are few these days and for most people not really worth it.
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Old Jul 20th, 2018, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Indeed as Andrew says; one SIM works for all these places. Be extremely careful if you pass through Switzerland at any stage; they will hit you with huge roaming charges.
Maybe, maybe not. The Dutch Vodafone SIM I recommended above includes Switzerland in its EU roaming countries, so there would be no roaming charges to use a phone with that SIM in Switzerland. Other mobile providers may not include Switzerland.
Andrew is offline  
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