Buying guide: MP3 players

Shopping for an iPod, Sony Walkman or other MP3 player? We've got you covered

Shopping Checklist: MP3 Players

• Included memory

This is the primary concern when buying an MP3 player, as there is no point buying one that holds less music than you need. Use our rule of thumb of 4MB per song/track to ascertain how many songs the device can hold.

• Battery life

This is important so you know how long you can go without recharging the MP3 player.

• Memory type

Make sure to ask if the player uses a hard disk or flash memory. Flash players tend to be smaller, lighter and tougher than hard drive players, so this is important if you plan to be a little rough with your player.

• Player size

Size is important, as different sized players suit different needs. Some players can be hung around your neck or attached to your clothes, while others must be carried in your pocket.

• Video playback

If you want to use your player to view content as well as listen to music then be sure to find out if it supports video playback.

• Picture viewer

If you have a digital camera and want to view your pictures on your MP3 player, then ask whether it has a picture viewer.

• Screen size

If you want to watch video files on your player, then you will want to know how big the screen is.

• Software requirements

Find out whether the player supports drag-and-drop file transfers in Windows or if it requires special software.

• File types supported

If you have your music in file types other than MP3 — such as WMA, WAV, FLAC or MP4 — you need to find out if the player can play them.

• Features

Some players offer voice recorders, video recording, digital radio and FM radio, which may be of interest to some users.

• Headphone jack

Most headphones use a standard 3.5mm jack. This is important if you want to use different headphones than those that come with your MP3 player.

• Wi-Fi connectivity If you want an MP3 player that can download music or access Web pages without being directly connected to a PC or laptop, then wireless connectivity is a useful feature.

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