Rockin’ Out On A Budget

Rockin’ Out On A Budget

There comes a time in every device’s life when it reaches the end of the road. You try your best to delay the inevitable by buying that truly hideous bulky case and installing every annoying software update, but one day your slightly obsolete baby will power on no more. Unfortunately for me, that moment finally came for my beloved iPod Touch 64GB. Rest in pieces, Babydoll. You helped me avoid all those people asking for directions and prevented fellow shoppers from asking me where something was at the store I didn’t work at for six glorious years. I am forever indebted to you despite you somehow replaying the song I skipped an hour ago.

Although I adored my iPod, I did not love its $299 price tag. Surely, there had to be a more budget-friendly option for what was essentially a phone minus the cellular connection. After looking at music player alternatives, I decided to research turning an old smartphone into a music-only player. Further research convinced me to purchase a prepaid smartphone, essentially buying the phone outright but without activating the service. My goal was to find a suitable one under $100.

After watching several YouTube video reviews, I settled on purchasing the LG Stylo 2. Not only does it have expandable storage up to 128 GB, it runs Android 7.0, has a 5.7″ HD screen, a 13 MP camera and comes with a stylus. With a suggested retail price of $149.99, it sure beat the $299 I paid for Babydoll way back when. However, it was still a little more than I wanted to pay, so I did some comparison shopping.

Luckily, that same week, Best Buy put the Boost Mobile version of the phone on sale for $85! Talk about a no-brainer! My luck was extended when I found a Samsung 128 GB microSD card for $34 on clearance at Walmart. All things considered, $120 for an iPod replacement was a pretty darn good deal, but wait— it gets better. The next week, Best Buy marks down the phone to $49. Since my purchase was in the 14-day return window, I asked for a price adjustment and was refunded $36, which essentially paid for the microSD card. To recap, for $85, the price I originally paid for the phone, I got the phone and the microSD card. Flawless victory!

Now, not only do I have all of my music in my pocket, I also have an Android-powered device I can connect to WiFi or tether via Mobile Hotspot whenever I want. What a time to be alive! If you’re interested in making your own version, I’ve included an easy guide below.

How to Make Your Own Budget Music Player

What you’ll need:
  • An Android phone you’re no longer using or a new one purchased for this purpose
  • A microSD card (up to 128 gigs)
  • Digital music collection organized into folders by Artist then Album
  • WiFi Connection (optional)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Transfer your music to the microSD card using Windows Explorer on Windows or Android File Transfer on a Mac. Depending on the file size of your collection, this could take an hour or more to complete. So, in the interim, go watch that show that’s been sitting on your DVR for a few weeks and come back. Once the file transfer is complete, eject the microSD card from your computer.
  2. If you don’t plan on using cellular service, remove the sim card to avoid being prompted to activate the phone. To do this, open up your phone and locate the sim card slot. For most phones, this is accomplished by removing the back cover and looking for a small slot with a tiny chip in it. Refer to your phone’s documentation if you need help. Once located, simply slide the sim card out. Keep it in a safe place in case you change your mind in the future.
  3. Locate the microSD card slot and insert the microSD card. Replace the cover and boot up your phone as normal.
  4. If this is a brand new phone or one that has been factory reset, set up the phone by following the necessary prompts (e.g., setting up a WiFi connection and signing into your Google account).
  5. Open up your preferred Music app or download one from the App Store.
  6. Rock out!


I’m fairly certain that these same steps can be applied to an iPhone or a Windows phone, but since I only have Android devices, I’m not entirely sure of the process for those phones.

May the bass be with you!



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