RCA makes a really basic MP3 player that you can buy for about twenty-five dollars. I got mine from Wal-Mart. The RCA Pearl has 1GB of memory and runs off one AAA battery. The battery life is roughly ten to twelve hours. The device is very small, big enough to have a USB hookup (for loading songs) and a small display screen so you can know what song you’re listening to. The display screen looks like it was last considered high tech in the 1980s but it serves it’s purpose. There’s a favorites function but no ability to make play lists. However the device will sort songs according to artist so you can find them if you don’t feel like nexting through until you happen upon the song alphabetically. It’s an ideal device for the person that doesn’t need five zillion songs but wants more than just a CD player.
The best thing about the Pearl is that it’s small and easy to use. You simply plug the device into your computer’s USB port and its software will pop up. If you want to download the software, it is fairly simple and fast. However, if you don’t want to bother with the software, you can find your song in the computer files, right click, and tell it to send to the device (this is assuming you have a PC). It’s less compressed this way, as songs simply sent to the device can take up as much as five or six MB whereas songs sent to the player through the Pear’s software will be compressed into one MB or less. If however, you just want to copy over a few songs, say about sixty or seventy, then using the send function your computer already has works just fine. I’ve heard nightmare stories from people trying to set up iPods and the other more complex Mp3 players, so if you aren’t too tech savvy and just want something simple and cheap this device is for you.
The downside to this device is the lack of being able to make a play list. It does make a favorite list but I noticed the last time I changed the battery out that the favorite list got wiped out and I had to make it over again. This can become annoying, especially once you have a hundred songs to sort through. The other downside is that it lives off batteries. I’ve seen other cheap MP3 players, those in the forty dollar range, that can hook up to the computer and charge through the USB. I think that is a much more efficient charge method and it will probably save you a little money in the long run not having to go buy batteries every month.
So to recap, the RCA Pearl is good because it’s small and the set up is simple. It’s bad because it uses batteries. Overall, the player is a good option for someone who wants an MP3 player but is either strapped on cash, or who doesn’t see an MP3 player as an object worth spending a lot on. It’s a hardy device, I’ve dropped it a few times, and it does what it’s supposed to-it plays MP3s.