Comparison of 5 Cheap Kid-Friendly MP3 Players / Yoto Alternatives

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We love our Yoto! But for long trips I wanted a MP3 player backup as an alternate to load all of our content and not worry about bringing dozens of cards. And on our last big trip the Yoto mini had a SD fail, so a cheap MP3 player would serve as a backup too.

I narrowed down the many Amazon listings to 5 players under $50 and bought them all to run some tests. Here we go! In no particular order, rankings and reviews below.

For each player I loaded 10 Ladybird cards and a few music albums by Tycho. All players are USB-C and have Bluetooth. I didn’t test any photo, video, or recording functions.

Note: This of course requires that you have the MP3 content – this is why I generally try to buy files from Audible and make MYO cards instead of buying cards from Yoto.

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1) DODOSOUL 128GB $34 – Bad file management

Pros: Very solid metal body. Good form factor and physical power and volume buttons. Has a mini-SD card slot to expand past 128GB. Internal speaker is loud and can easily be disabled. Easy to read Now Playing screen.

Cons: No USB-C file transfer! Lots of weird ._hidden file issues when you copy files from a Mac. Lots of manual cleanup required, makes the file structure a mess! Doesn’t seem to support album artwork.

Includes: White earbuds, USB-C to USB-A cable, small lanyard, micro-SD card reader

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2) Phinistec Z6 96GB $40 – Overbuilt and heavy

Pros: Built like a tank. Maybe that’s actually a con? Much larger than the rest of the options here. Has a Line-Out jack – that might be helpful to some? Easy to read Now Playing screen.

Cons: Metal body and glass back feel very heavy. Glass back seems like an accident waiting to happen. Just feels overbuilt in general. Built in 32GB + 64GB Micro SD card = 96GB. Somewhat awkward to split files between internal and external storage.

Includes: USB-C to USB-A cable, micro-SD card reader

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3) Majority 64GB $40 – Not perfect but the best yet?

Pros: Shows album artwork and is easy to read. Physical power and volume buttons are nice. Now Playing screen is useful and easy to read. Solid build and feels good in-hand. External speaker can easily be disabled in settings.

Cons: Circular navigation buttons aren’t actually a scroll wheel and can feel non-intuitive to navigate. I want it to click like an iPod but it’s a touch-sensitive button. Folder view is non-alphabetical and nearly useless. Artist and Album views work fine but require correctly organized MP3 tagging.  No Micro-SD card included. Built-in USB-C transfer is VERY slow. Switching between card and internal storage is somewhat awkward – you can’t view both at the same time.

Includes: Black earbuds, USB-C to USB-A cable, small lanyard

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4) AGPTEK A02X 32GB $30 – Too cheap and flimsy

Pros: So small and light! Album artwork works properly and the Now Playing screen is easy to read. Locking on/off button.

Cons: Built-in USB-C file transfer is very slow. The software interface is SO JANKY and is hard to use. Feels like the cheapest of these by far. I might accidentally snap it in half? Does not come with a Micro-SD card.

Includes: USB-C to USB-A cable

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5) Innioasis 128GB $45 – Nearly perfect but very hard to read track info

Pros: The color and shape – it’s a lovely iPod knockoff. Feels great in the hand. USB-C file transfer is fast. Supports “Audiobook” file format which is just MP3 files that keeps your place as you listen/turn off the player. Very handy for longer Yoto story content! 

Cons: No Micro-SD expansion slot. Any files with album artwork are nearly impossible to read – for some reason the Now Playing view puts the artwork in the background and foreground and the text is completely illegible on top. This would be so easily solved if you could turn off the background display. Dealbreaker for me since it’s SO HARD to read the track info. (Manually removing all embedded album artwork is an option but who wants to do that?!). No way to view Albums by Artist – if you click on Artist it shows all individual tracks.

Includes: Black earbuds and USB-C to USB-A cable

 

6) One more I wanted to try but couldn’t get in time: AGPTEK 64GB $46 – maybe next time!

So that’s it! We’re going to try #3 (Majority 64GB) on our next trip. Fingers crossed!

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