Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The market for MP3 Players can be a confusing one, just as it is for many home and portable electronics. Some of the most important things to consider when shopping for an MP3 player are how you personally wish to use the player, its weight/size, and storage capacity. In addition, you will need to become somewhat knowledgeable about file formats and compatibility with your PC.

First, think about the type of device you really want.

Hard drive-based MP3 player:

These offer the most storage; from 10 GB and higher (up to 80GB) allowing you to put huge amounts of music on one device. They also have larger display screens and are easy to use. For these reasons, they are an excellent choice for use when commuting in your car. A hard drive-based MP3 player is larger and heavier however. They have movable parts which can be jarred during motion which makes them a poor choice for use during fitness activities. A hard drive-based MP3 player usually has rechargeable batteries which can be a cost saver but many are not removable and must be replaced after 4 or 5 years. There are also some "micro" hard drive-based players with a capacity that tops out around 12GB. Although smaller/lighter than a regular hard drive-based player their moving parts still make them a poor choice for activity.

Flash-based MP3 players:

A flash-based MP3 player is an excellent choice for use during exercise/activity. They have no moving parts, are extremely compact, and have a 32 MB-8GB capacity. Due to the lack of moving parts their batteries tend to last longer. With all of this convenience however they actually have a much higher per megabyte cost than the hard drive devices.

MP3 CD Players:

These devices can play standard CDs and can store up to 650 MB. They are the least expensive MP3 Player but they are large and can skip when moved thus are not a good choice for use during activity.

Once you have determined which type of MP3 player is best suited to you based on how you wish to use it and how much storage is desire, you will want to consider issues related to downloading music.

What format is used?

MP3 is the most common but some of the others include .aac, .wma, .wav, and atrac. These are all formats used to compress music files so that they can be downloaded quickly and take up less memory. WMA formats for instance, allow the user to store nearly twice as much per megabyte but are a less common file type that MP3. This is important to consider since any particular file type can not be used if your MP3 player does not support it.

Connecting to your computer and downloading:

If you want to download music from your PC a USB 2.0 standard interface is much faster than USB 1.0. A FireWire Port or FireWire PCI card is also fast but only supported on some computers.

Finally, be sure to check for other features such as the following:

The display:

Can you read it? This is important as it allows you to use the functions on the device and provides information you want such as the title, artist and other playlist information.

Other functions and features:

FM radio reception, a remote, a clip to attach to your bag or possibly an armband if you're active, the ability to record music live or from stereo components, voice recording, or advanced playback features. Some flash MP3 players offer a stopwatch function or other fitness related features. Newer MP3 players now offer color screens, photo viewing, and video playback for those who want all the bells and whistles.

There are a large number of MP3 player products on the market, finding the right one requires buyers to carefully consider which functions and features are most desirable for them. Using a simple buying guide can get a shopper thinking in the right direction and simplify the selection process.

No comments: