There are many occupants in the ever-expanding universe of MP3 players that want to take a chunk out of iPod's market. You can now add the SanDisk Cruzer Micro MP3 Companion to the list.
The device is small, shorter in fact than the space its name takes up on its package.
And it has a gimmick: Instead of buying it with a fixed amount of memory, you buy flash drives which you can insert into it to change the memory configuration. I tested one with a 128MB memory, fitting about 24 songs and other odds and ends on it.
The sound quality was excellent. Having a player that can fit into a shirt pocket is handy, especially on a narrow airline seat, which is where I listened to it as I was also using my PDA and other assorted portable equipment.
The Companion does have its drawbacks, such as a tiny display screen that only shows one song title at a time and a mini-control wheel I had problems mastering.
Overall, however, I'd rate it quite good if size matters to you.
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Price $64.99; 128 MB memory, $29.99; 512MB memory, $59.99
Available at Staples, Staples.com, various retailers
Specs Nine hours of play, uses one AAA battery; 2-1/4" x 2" x 1"