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Generic 4GB mp3 player (iPod shuffle clone)

Let’s put this one in the “travel accessories” category.

Today my fourth mp3 player arrived in the mail. My first was an RCA Lyra RD1090A. It worked great, still does, but it is a bit bulky and requires an armband or a pocket. The on-board memory is meager at 256MB, but you can insert SD cards which is really nice. The problem is that the RCA unit has problems reading my cards larger than 2GB.

My second mp3 player was a 1GB Apple iPod shuffle. I loved the size of my first shuffle and the ease with which I could just clip it on. I could have lived with the shuffle forever were it not for the storage capacity issue–1GB is not nearly enough if you listen to lots of music. Apple recently came out with a 2GB version, but for $69 I passed. I would pay $69 for an 8GB iPod shuffle–not for a 2GB shuffle.

I sold my 1GB shuffle and purchased my third mp3 player, a 4GB generic shuffle on ebay for $36 a few months ago. My third mp3 player was horrible, defective even, so I returned it.

Today, the following package arrived:

I purchased it from mall.hk for a mere $17.47 which included free shipping. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
- Price!
- 4GB of storage (vs. iPod shuffle with a max capacity of only half or a fourth as much)
- Transfer speed (between 1.6 and 2MB per second–the last generic shuffle I had transferred files at 200-400k per second)
- Headphones actually work well (unlike the ones I received with my third mp3 player which were complete garbage)
- Wall charger included (iPod shuffle doesn’t even include a wall charger)

Cons:
- Although it looks like a shuffle, it doesn’t shuffle (randomize) the songs; songs are played in the order copied–I got around this somewhat by copying the songs randomly so I won’t have to hear the same artist’s songs back to back
- Shipping takes forever from mall.hk; the mp3 player pictured above took an entire month to arrive
- Picture on mall.hk is of a real iPod shuffle; as you can see from these photos the button layout on this knock-off version is different
- Unit is slightly thicker than a real iPod shuffle (not a big deal)
- When unit is turned on, first song is always played, followed by song #2, etc. This is a big pain in the ass I’m hoping the company can send me some software to fix.

I will comment on battery life once I’ve drained it a couple of times. Right now I’m somewhat happy with this purchase. Unfortunately, I’ve already filled up all 4 GB. It won’t be too long before I’m longing for an 8GB shuffle.

48 hours later update: I found a work around for the first song always being played on startup problem. I don’t turn the unit off. Instead I just hit pause. The battery doesn’t appear to be used when the pause is on and it starts right were it left off when I hit pause again hours or days later. The battery has not been used up so far. I’ve listened to probably 3 hours of music and had it on pause for another 24 hours+ so the battery life appears to be good.

With the workaround and at least decent battery, so far, I have to up my review from “somewhat happy” to “happy.”

70 Responses to “Generic 4GB mp3 player (iPod shuffle clone)”

  1. 1
    admin:

    Apple just came out with a 3rd generation Shuffle which you can read more about here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001FA1NZ0/rpcman Had I not just purchased the above mp3 player I may have jumped at this one for $79. Had it come with controls on the player instead of on the earphone cord and with 8 GB instead of only 4 I would purchase it. As it is I’ll wait for the 8 GB version.

  2. 2
    hamdinger:

    Thank you for this review. I’ve been debating for a while now if I should buy one of these or not. I know they’re probably generic junk, but my last mp3 player was generic junk and I loved it! This makes me feel a little more confident.

  3. 3
    William Curlew:

    Question for you. Did the LED’s work the way they were supposed to? The clones I have dealt with generally only have a red LEED, and don’t ptoduce the flash patterned on the enclosed reference page. Also, did this one have the ‘three center clicks’ feature to restart at the beginning, or only do this when turned off/on?

    Thanks
    Bill

  4. 4
    admin:

    I haven’t even looked at the reference page. A light does come on when it is charging or when it is coming out of the paused state. I haven’t tried the three clicks thing. I haven’t turned it off since February after finding out that it always started on song one once switched to the off position.

  5. 5
    Kayla:

    Hey, could you give me the website this mp3 player comes with if there is one? Cause I got one in one of those machines you put 50 cents in and then you play to see if you can pick something up in, and I threw away all the information. If you could, that would really be helpful, thanks. :)

  6. 6
    admin:

    It is listed several times in the post.

  7. 7
    Phillip:

    I bought this at a Toy’s are Us thinking it was Ipod brand, since it had IPOD on the back of it. The store employee said it was. No big deal I guess, but I can’t seem to get it to work, and maybe it’s simply I am doing something wrong ( I can’t find the little paperwork that goes with it). If I remember right, it said something about Setup Assistant and talked about Itunes. Guess I will have to call Apple to confirm one way or another if it is a IPOD brand.

    I plugged into the base ( with the on/off button to OFF), and I get a orange blinking light. I would assume that it means it’s charging. I don’t know if when it’s charged all the way the light goes solid or not. I unplugged it, turn it ON, and push the circle in the middle. The light blinks green a couple of times than orange, then blank. No sound.

    Also, what is the switch on the bottom opposite the ON/OFF? Has little symbols on it.

  8. 8
    acase:

    Mine doesn’t say IPOD on the back of it. Nor does it use Itunes. That is one of the main reasons I like it. Itunes is not fun to work with. Sorry I can’t help.

  9. 9
    Mikey:

    What do you use to load music to the clone???????

  10. 10
    acase:

    You just drag and drop the music from your hard drive to the clone. It is much easier and flexible compared to the Apple stuff.

  11. 11
    peggs:

    just got my generic brand from hong kong. it’s cute enough, but it didn’t come with literature, so i don’t know how to upload my mp3 files to it. when i plug it in and try to copy it to put it in there, i don’t have the option. working from a pc, not a mac and files are from limewire. also, i think, after reading your comments, i need to buy one or more memory cards. micro SD cards?

    sorry…first time mp3 owner…

    thoughts or suggestions would be great!!!!

    peverett22@hotmail.com

  12. 12
    acase:

    It’s tough to say without seeing your unit. Does it look the same as mine? If so, you don’t need an SD or micro SD card. I plug mine in via a cord (the black one shown above) to my USB port, Windows recognizes it, and I copy files from my hard drive to the player.

  13. 13
    Mconn:

    I bought one just like yours a few days ago. It came with no manual but what I want to know is how do I turn off the shuffle option?
    I don’t want my songs in random order, the only button I see is one below the clip but that doesn’t seem to be it. Any help would be appreciated

  14. 14
    acase:

    Mconn, Yours must be different than mine because mine doesn’t have a shuffle option. It only plays songs in the order they were copied to the player.

  15. 15
    Peat:

    i was wondering if there is another site you would suggest purchasing the same shuffle? The site you suggested doesn’t have any in stock. I loved the one i had before that i purchased at a trade show and it died on me. Thanks in advance.

  16. 16
    liam:

    my ipod clone is stuck on repeat is there any way to change that, or is it just broken?

  17. 17
    acase:

    Liam, I’m guessing it is probably broken. Mine doesn’t even have a repeat function. Try turning it off and leaving it off for a while if you haven’t already. You may also want to drain the battery completely and then fully recharge it to see if that doesn’t do the trick.

    Peat, I can’t help you there as I have no experience with any other.

    Mine is still going strong a year later. I listened to it for nearly two hours straight yesterday while on the train from Nikko to Tokyo.

  18. 18
    liam:

    Ah i see, i’ll try that, and if that does’nt work, thanks anyway :)

  19. 19
    mike:

    hey i bought one and i try to charge it through the usb port and it dont charge do i have to charge it through my headphone port?

  20. 20
    acase:

    I don’t know about yours, but I charge mine by plugging it in to the wall.

  21. 21
    Tiffany:

    I have the same exact thing that you have in the second picture and I am completely dumbfounded on how to even begin, Can you help me please?

  22. 22
    acase:

    Tiffany,

    Plug it into the wall to charge. Plug it into your computer’s USB port to drag and drop .mp3 files onto it. That’s it.

  23. 23
    Nikku:

    I just read your review of a 4 GB shuffle and I was wondering by chance did you get the name of the place or the names of the companies that help make the mp3? I’m having problems with my 512 MB shuffle and it looks like yours except that I have a goopy-looking cross for buttons. Thanks for the help.

  24. 24
    Josue:

    I bought mine on ebay and I cant see to get it to work. It’s got an micro SD Port and it doesn’t seem to work. What is the biggest size of the SD card that it can handle.

  25. 25
    acase:

    I’m not sure on yours Josue. I have an older mp3 player with SD slot that can only handle SD cards up to 2GB.

  26. 26
    Tom:

    Someone gave this player to me today.General questions – How long should I expect this player to fully charge. It has a solid red light on one side and a flashing blue light on the other. Will there be some indication when it is fully charged. I have several other mp3 players, but they all have a screen, so I can track the charging>

  27. 27
    Tom:

    I should have that the red light is on when it is plugged into the computer.

  28. 28
    acase:

    Mine fully chargers in under an hour, but yours sounds different than mine as I don’t charge mine through the computer.

  29. 29
    Tom:

    From your picture, everything is the same except there was no wall charger included. Unless the person who gave this to me decided to keep that part. All my other players charge thru the USB port, so I would guess this will also. Thanks for your help

  30. 30
    acase:

    Well mine can’t charge through the computer so if it is the same, and it won’t charge through the USB port, you need to get a wall charger for it.

  31. 31
    Heramb:

    Hmmm mind has the same shuffle problem . . . Will use the pause option from now on :) thanks . . . But mine has another problem . . . When i connect it to my pc – it shows up as a memory drive fine but gets terribly slow/gets hanged when i copy multiple files on it :( . . . Any suggestions ? Currently i copy files via a card reader . . . But am afraid it will damage the spring in the card slot soon . . . It already is kind a issue in getting the card to click into the slot

  32. 32
    steap:

    how do u get yours to work bcuz i have music on it and i cant hear no sound

  33. 33
    Joseph Farthing:

    Hey, I just bought one of these that didn’t come with instructions.

    I’d really appreciate if you could scan or hi-res photo the instructions?

    Mostly I just wanna figure out what the flashing lights mean, I can’t see any indication of whether it’s charging or not.

    Cheers,

    Joe

  34. 34
    acase:

    Mine doesn’t flash. My charger has a red light when charging and not when finished charging.

  35. 35
    manhole:

    Mine wont seem to allow for me to put songs onto it but when i pug it into the computer i see songs already on it. Those songs dont play and when i try to erase them i get a message saying those songs can not be found. Does the manual say anything about fixing this because i have lost my manual??

  36. 36
    acase:

    I don’t have a manual. You may want to reformat it and start from scratch if nothing else works.

  37. 37
    mike26:

    good day sir. i’m from the philippines and i bought the same(mine’s just diff. color and only 2GB) mp3 player that you have. i have some problems on its battery life. when i listen to it continuously it just lasts for only about 1 hour, sometimes just 30 minutes. i think i’m not charging it properly. Q#1: do you charge it (using the wall charger) with the player turned ON or OFF? it is turned on when i charge it. Q#2: does your wall charger has green and red lights too when charging? Q#3: the green light disappeared,is it the indication that it is already fully charged?

    thank you sir, i’ll look forward to your reply…

  38. 38
    acase:

    1. On but paused
    2. yes, both lights are on while charging
    3. yes, when the green light turns off it is done charging

    Mine works for a little over 2 hours on a single charge and I’ve charged it probably close to 100 times.

  39. 39
    Utah:

    Yes some one gave me a silver one and I have it in my usb port it is charging fine yet how do i get songs on it because all i got was the device does it come with any software that i need to put songe on the device?

  40. 40
    acase:

    I drag and drop mine using Windows Explorer.

  41. 41
    Giuseppe:

    Hello sir.
    I just bought exactly the same mp3 but my problem is that it is not recognized by pc. When I plug into usb port, i can only read unknown device in devices list and the mp3 is not recognized at all. Do you know where i can download driver for it ?
    thanks
    regards

  42. 42
    acase:

    Giuseppe, I don’t know that it needs a driver. If it does, mine was automatically pulled off the internet. You may want to try a different computer to see if you get a different result.

  43. 43
    ksa:

    hi ,
    just got one like in the picture and …
    1. most times win xp does not recognize unit
    2. when recognized , file drag and drop fails
    ( unable to find file )
    3. unit came with only one earphone working
    so
    1. changed earphone
    2. copied songs into a 2GB card
    3. plugged card in and switched on
    and
    player plays extremely well

  44. 44
    shuffles:

    Have one just like the picture, except Gold in color. It does not have a cable USB but a flash disk. First song plays continuously and although my computer says the music is on the device, it does not play.
    It is cute but only plays one song and drives me crazy. I am going to drain the battery and hopefully when I charge it, things will work.

  45. 45
    Jeremy:

    Would a generic usb wall charger work? And does the light on the actual player go off when it’s finished charging?

  46. 46
    acase:

    I don’t know and no.

  47. 47
    oceaneagle:

    I bought a half dozen of these for a Quid each mainly to put audio books on for my 88 year old almost blind mother. They all work fine but generally the battery runs out before she has finished listening to a book. As a re-charge sets the book back to the start I limit stuff on there to no more than 2½ hours. Longer books I stick on a Ipod Shuffle for her.
    They are what they are, cheap and nasty, however used within the spectrum of their abilities they are good value.
    I can never tell if they are fully charged or not I just leave them attached by USB to my PC for a few hours at a time and hope for the best.

  48. 48
    Abir:

    mine is a Chinese Dummy of iPod shuffle, all of these products that we are using look so similar that you cant really tell the difference, but my one has no flash memory, only supports mini sd cards.
    My problem is about charging, I use usb to charge it, but when its turned off no indication of charging is shown, unless its turned on. once its on, Only a red light blinks,but that might merely be an indication of the player being on. Its only been two days since i bought it, I am not sure if its being charged at all! Should it be left on while charging?

  49. 49
    acase:

    Abir, I leave mine on at all times. I merely pause it when I’m not using it. In that state it doesn’t seem to use much (or any) battery. So I leave mine one while charging, but yours may not work exactly like mine since it is a bit different.

  50. 50
    Abir:

    Thats true sir, appreciate your response, thanks!

    really wish it also had a shuffling option, gets really boring without that; even I have left it on since yesterday, that way at least you get to hear newer songs.

  51. 51
    Cody:

    Have you ever had any problems hearing the music downloaded through headphones when the battery is low? We were given one as a gift and trying to figure it out. I can see the songs listed on it through the menu when we plug in the USB. Just trying to figure out if it is going to work or broke. Thanks

  52. 52
    acase:

    Mine either works fully when there is a charge or not at all when there isn’t. It doesn’t partially work when the battery is low.

  53. 53
    Aud:

    I just bought one of these yesterday(black 4gb), It has been charging for 12 hr and the light is only solid orange, there is never a green light. Ive tryed putting music on it from windows media player and the songs show up, but when you press play you cant hear anything!(ive tried different headphones) this is so frustrating, all i want to do is listen to some music on my shuffle! :(

  54. 54
    Anonymous:

    Isnt there supposed to be a blue light when you turn it on? the light is orange and only stays orange

  55. 55
    Paulo C:

    still have the problem with the random music? I bought a more just plays copied in order.
    I’m from Brazil, excuse my english

  56. 56
    jay:

    I have gotten one of these as a gift, but its silver, I have a wall mount, the instructions say that it will flash when charging and stop flashing when done, but mine doesn’t seem to charge, anyone know how to make it charge, also if I have it plugged in I can plug up head phones and listen to the music, if I unplug it, it stops working immediately, but won’t charge

  57. 57
    acase:

    sounds like a defective battery, jay

  58. 58
    kastuff:

    Okay, my kid won this in a crane machine. It’s just like the one pictured. The instructions only tell how to play the music. It has no help on charging or loading music. Thanks to this website, I have some direction. I’ve been trying to charge it via usb port. That doesn’t work. So, now I have it on the wall charger with a green light anf a red light. But, the light on my charger is just a solid red. What does that mean, if anything?

  59. 59
    Hanno:

    Hey Man. Also bought a few for a business selling therapy sessions. Traks is from 1 to 11 but when you play the traks play random. Mine does not have random switch. Think it is like yours. You have an idea of how to switch this off (Shuffle mode)?

  60. 60
    Hanno:

    Me again. Can you perhaps post a closer picture of the instruction sheet. Cannot read it. I didn’t get any with mine, please :)

  61. 61
    acase:

    On mine two lights on mean it is charging and one light means it is plugged in but done charging.

  62. 62
    John:

    I just got the mp3 player you can see at http://www.mcr.com/16079/TW3
    It came in the same type of box, with the same wires, shown above, but no wall adapter.
    The only light on it is blue, next to where the USB cord plugs in. When I’m using it, the light flashes slowly. If the battery is about to die, the light flashes quickly.
    I had it connected to my computer for about 20 hours last night, but after I unplugged it, the battery lasted for only 20 minutes. (Since the instructions say (in broken English) to turn it off when transferring data, I keep it turned off while it’s attached to my computer, whether or not I’m transferring data.)
    Do you think it sounds like I need to use a wall adapter to charge it, even though it didn’t come with one?

    Also, I found that the first time through the playlist/files, it plays the songs in the order I downloaded them. But, after the last song, it shuffles them. Could this be the case with yours too?

  63. 63
    acase:

    I don’t think a wall adapter will necessarily help. These generics are notorious for poor quality batteries. Luckily mine still works, but I don’t use it often.

    I’ve gone through my songs several times and it still doesn’t shuffle.

  64. 64
    John:

    I’ve had my mp3 player connected to my computer since before I posted my first comment. I’m going to try using it again, (probably later today,) and hopefully the battery will last the 5-6 hours the instructions say it should. If it doesn’t, do you think it’s worth it to try to get the battery replaced at Radio Shack (or a similar store)?

  65. 65
    acase:

    I don’t know. On mine I don’t know how I’d even get to the battery without destroying the rest of the unit.

  66. 66
    Tracey:

    I have a generic MP3 like the one in the picture. It only came with a USB and headphones. When I plug it inn (wall or computer), the blue light and a red light come on. When plugged in over night I will find 2 blue lights (Fully charged) If dying, 1 blue light flashes. I hope this helps someone, I was confused at first also. I had a Mp3 with a screen, and I had to turn it on in order for it to charge. This little “shuffle” one charges with out it being on.

  67. 67
    John:

    Since I already had a wall adapter, (which came with a different mp4 player,) I decided to try to charge my new mp3 player using the adapter… That fixed the problem with the battery. :-)

  68. 68
    David:

    this mp3 player is sold in my country for 20 lei = 5.84 Dolars :D … it’s nnot a sofisticated mp3 player… but is good looking:D

  69. 69
    Shawn:

    Does anyone know where to obtain the drivers for these cheap MP3 players? We bought two from a daily deal website. It appears that one of the USB cables is bad and gives us driver errors when attempting to connect either player to a laptop. When using the other USB cable,a message regarding a genplus USB driver pops up and says it is installed and functional,but the MP3 player doesn’t create a drive folder on which to upload music.

    Thanks in advance!

  70. 70
    Vivian:

    We have 4 of these, brand new. There are songs loaded on them currently, but cannot get the audio to work. It will play the songlist when connected to the Imac, but not play thru the headphones. Any suggestions? Help please!

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