All the basics in life, it seems, are rocketing in price. Gas, electricity, fuel, even food costs are soaring. One thing that seems to be going in the opposite direction, however, is the price of electronics - and the price of MP3 players seems to be falling more than most. If only we could eat and burn the things maybe we'd have a solution to the current economic crisis.
Alas, you'd probably end up in hospital if you tried to eat your iPod for breakfast, but you can at least enjoy your music on the cheap these days. And, as recent players have proved, you don't have to sacrifice on the sound quality or capacity either. The SanDisk Sansa Clip 1GB and Philips GoGear SA9840/02 (4GB) both offer amazing value for money, and prove there's really no need to waste your cash on one of those blister-pack players from the supermarket.
Now German manufacturer TrekStor, manufacturer of the fantastic Vibez, is trying to muscle in on the ultra-cheap-but-not-completely-rubbish MP3 player sector with its 1GB i.Beat Motion. And it makes a reasonably good first impression. The price is suitably low at a very-reasonable £15 (give it a couple of months and this will be less than a bunch of Waitrose bananas) and yet the i.Beat Motion still manages to pack the features in, including not only music playback, but also video, an FM radio, voice recording via an external mic and an external speaker.
Surely, with so many features crammed in for so little money, the quality is bound to suffer. And yes, it does feel quite cheap once you extract it from its box substantial box. There's no aluminium or steel plating here, no fancy touch-sensitive controls and it feels very light, insubstantial and plasticky in the hand. But it's far from the cheapest-looking or feeling MP3 players I've seen in my time. And though not as small as the Sansa Clip, it is still pocketable at 83 x 46 x 12mm (WxHxD) and it certainly doesn't look like a £15 player, dressed up in glossy black plastic trimmed with an edge of understated silver.