MP3 Player Shopping Tips

Choosing the right MP3 player isn't that difficult, but one player does not fit all. People will want different things from their players. MP3 CD players represent the best value: Most retail for less than US$200, and additional blank discs are cheap.

Think about how you'll use the player. Joggers will almost certainly want a lightweight, flash-memory-based device; music aficionados who want lots of music at their fingertips should keep their eyes on the highest-capacity hard-drive units. If you have a CD-RW drive in your PC, you can put your MP3s on discs and use a budget-minded CD/MP3 player.

Get the largest-capacity device you can afford. No matter whether you buy a flash-, hard drive-, or CD-based MP3 player, make sure to choose a model with the largest storage capacity possible. You will need it.

Try your favorite before taking it home. We can't stress this enough. Make sure you can use the on-screen display to navigate to a specific song, and ask a clerk to show you how to transfer music to the device, if possible. Always bring your own set of headphones to listen to the sound quality of each unit you're interested in. If you plan to test CD-based MP3 players, bring your own disc.

Pay close attention to the user interface. The simplest-to-use MP3 players use a Windows Explorer-like file and folder interface to organize music on the player. While some players require you to use their software to pick the play order before loading music files, other players let you rearrange the songs once the music is in the player.

Check the prices for extra storage. If you're considering one of the players that uses one of the three major memory card formats (CompactFlash, SmartMedia, or Memory Stick) to store music files, factor the price for an extra or replacement memory card into the cost of the player.

Look for wide file format support. While this isn't a necessity, players that support music files in both the MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) formats give you more listening options.

Consider a player with an FM tuner. This feature isn't essential, but it's a nice addition--especially if you grow tired of your own music.

Do you need a carrying case? Some players come with a small carrying case, others don't. The more expensive and more fragile the player (hard-drive devices are the most delicate), the more likely you'll want a custom-fitted case to protect it. If you plan to carry your player with you wherever you go, consider investing in both a fitted cover and a rugged carrying case that can also hold headphones, a USB cable, and/or CDs.

Shop around, online and offline. MP3 players are widely available in almost every consumer electronics outlet, and their prices fluctuate. You can check prices from a variety of sources at PriceGrabber before you buy.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?