MP3 Players Buyers Guide - Best MP3 Player to Buy

The great number of MP3 players on the market at present makes buying MP3 players a confusing business. The following MP3 players buyers guide will explain the various options and help to steer you towards the best MP3 player to buy to suit your needs.

Flash Memory or Hard Drive

The main decision when choosing your MP3 player comes down to two types of player. These two basic types of MP3 player are those models with flash memory and those with hard drives. Flash Memory MP3 players are great if you do a lot of exercising, such as jogging or running. Hard drive players have the capacity to be used as portable hard drives and provide lots of storage space for videos and music.

Don't be put off by the apparently small size of flash memory players. Each gigabyte of memory can hold around 250 songs, so a 4 GB MP3 player has a storage space of approximately 1000 songs which is more than sufficient for the most passionate music fan.

And don't forget, you can simply change the contents of an MP3 player if you get fed up of listening to the same songs. So even at 250 songs with a 1 GB player, you have plenty of music to listen to.

MP3 Player Navigation

With a large number of songs on an MP3 player, the navigation system becomes important for finding particular music tracks. The navigation system should therefore be simple to use, require relatively few button clicks to reach your goal, and ideally should be customizable to your own preferences.

When you are testing out different MP3 players for their navigation, here are a few things to bear in mind.

You should be able to hold and operate the MP3 player with one hand. Some MP3 players have an awkward design of buttons, placing some of them on the sides of the player and some on the front face. All of the controls should be under or at least reachable with your thumb.

The display should allow you to identify your position in the directory structure so you can move up and down the directory tree effortlessly. You should also be able to create directories at any level in the structure.

Lastly, there should be a search function allowing you to find songs by different criteria such as song title, artist or album.

MP3 Player Batteries

It is inconvenient to have to repeatedly recharge the batteries in your MP3 player, so pay attention to the specifications concerning playing time.

This figure can vary widely - from 10 hours to 36 hours. It is affected by the type of batteries as well as the features that are included. Very simply, the more features that an MP3 player has and the more you will likely use them which will result in a shorter battery life.

Rechargeable batteries are the best choice for an MP3 player. Lithium-ion batteries are the most favoured but players which use AA or AAA batteries can use Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeable batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are normally enclosed in the case of the MP3 player. With some players, such as the Apple iPod, the battery is not accessible to the user. Conmsequently, the batteries cannot be swapped which means that at the end of the battery life the whole MP3 player has to be replaced.

Lithium-ion batteries have a recharge life of around 500 cycles. After that, they have to be replaced. Since the iPod battery is not accessible, you have to send the complete iPod to Apple to have the battery replaced.

Audio Compression Formats

There are a number of different audio compression formats including MP3, WMA and AAC . It is safe to say that every MP3 player can play MP3 files, but not every player can play WMA or AAC .

Windows Media Audio or WMA is a Microsoft supported format and is utilised for audio files which have been protected with DRM (Digital Rights Management) . A number of the songs available for buy from Internet stores such as Napster and MSN Music are in WMA DRM format, so if you plan on purchasing from these stores, you require an MP3 player which supports the format.

Advanced Audio Coding or AAC is used almost exclusively by the Apple iPod . If you own an iPod, it will be difficult to trade AAC files with a friend who has a different type of MP3 player. Of course, the files can be converted, but that is an additional step.

Other, not so well known formats such as Ogg Vorbis and MP3 Pro are supported by comparatively few MP3 players even though they offer far better sound quality and smaller file sizes.

MP3 Player Displays

There are are a small number of MP3 players which have no screen, but they are a quite rare. The majority of MP3 players will have at least a small LCD display that shows you the current song being played. Bigger displays are required for MP3 players which have larger memory, because you want to be able to navigate through the file structure to locate individual songs.

It is important that the screen on any MP3 player is easy to read. If it is too small to see clearly, or cannot display an sufficient amount of information, it is next to useless. Another important aspect is that the display should also have some form of back lighting for viewing at night or in dark conditions .

Displays can be either monochrome or full color. Color displays are included in the more upmarket MP3 players, and are essential for players which possess photo and video capabilities. The larger the display the easier it is to read and more information can be shown at one time, but bigger displays also use additional power, thus shortening the battery life.

Additional MP3 Player Accessories

Some MP3 players possess built in microphones, FM radios, stop watches and personal managers. The value of these additional features is purely an individual choice. If you need to keep voice notes or record meetings then the built in microphone would be a handy extra. Stop watches are useful for the runner or jogger who likes to have a music background during workouts. Although you do not need them for the music, an FM Radio is advantageous for obtaining weather and traffic reports.

Some MP3 players also have personal managers which can be synchronized with your computer address book or calendar. This is a great feature for individuals who are on the road and need a convenient way to have their timetable and contacts close at hand.

Some other useful accessories are a case to protect the player from knocks and scratches, an armband or belt clip for hands free listening, a remote control, spare batteries and a power supply for indoor mains use.

For those who plan to use the MP3 player in the car, an adapter that allows the sound to be heard over the car audio system is very convenient. These come in two types - an FM transmitter that sends the sound to the FM radio, and a cassette adapter that allows you to use the cassette player to listen to your MP3 player. Do not forget to get a car power adapter at the same time.

 Beginners Guide to MP3
 MP3 File Compression
 MP3 File Editing
 How to Convert CD to MP3
 MP3 ID3 Tags - MP3 Playlists
 MP3 to Audio CD Converter
 Records & Cassettes to MP3
 MP3 Player Video Podcasting
 MP3 Cell Phone Ringtone
MP3 Buying Guides
 MP3 Players Buyers Guide
 Best Portable MP3 Player
MP3 Accessories
 MP3 Player Batteries
 MP3 Player Cases
 MP3 Player Headphones
 MP3 Car & Home Accessories
MP3 and the Internet
 MP3 File Sharing
 Digital Rights Management
 Audio Stream Recording
MP3 Music Site Reviews
 MP3 Music Websites
 Apple iTunes Music Store
 Napster
 Real Rhapsody
MP3 Player Reviews
 Apple iPod Reviews
 Apple iPod 5G Review
 Apple iPod Nano Review
 Apple iPod Shuffle Review
 Creative MP3 Players
 iriver MP3 Player Review
 Philips MP3 Player Review
 RCA Lyra MP3 Player Review
 Rio MP3 Player Review
 Samsung MP3 Player Review
 SanDisk MP3 Player Review
 Sony MP3 Player Review
MP4 Media Player
 MP4 - How MP4 Works
 MP4 Players