- Types of Portable Media Players
- Generic hard disk PMPs (non-Media Centre)
- Solid state/flash memory PMPs
- Portable Media Centres
- The big issues
- Other considerations
Solid state/flash memory PMPs
- Much smaller
- More durable
- Quicker operation speeds
- Wide variety of brands and models available
- Little screens on the smaller models, so better for photos than video
- Generally higher cost per MB of storage
- Less built-in features
There's now a large range of solid state/flash memory-based PMPs on the market. They are called solid state because they contain no moving parts (such as CD or hard drive mechanisms), instead they use flash memory or onboard RAM to store files
In years past it was usually the case that hard drive-based players were your only option for a media player, with flash players relegated to basic music and radio duties. However as technology in both storage and screen development has improved, we've seen a new breed of flash players hit the market with full video playback. These days storage medium is no longer a limiting factor.
Do keep in mind, however, that at the current time, flash memory storage capacity doesn't quite match up to its hard drive brethren. You can get anything from a fairly tiny 256MB to a robust 4GB or 8GB player. There is even a sprinkling of 16GB flash players hitting the market right now and the capacities will only continue to grow, but for the moment if you want 30GB or more of space you'll need to look beyond solid state players.
The flip side to this is that because they contain no moving parts and are highly compact, solid-state players are more durable and perfect for use when you're exercising. They are also considerably smaller, making them ideal travelling companions. Screen sizes on solid state PMP models start at around a tiny 0.5in and go up to between 1.8- 2.5in or more.
Solid-state PMPs usually have the highest cost per megabyte -- so choose your initial capacity and expandability options carefully.