Portable Multimedia Players

These days, portable media players are everywhere. Devices such Apple's iPhone manage to pack video and picture playback into common everyday devices, whereas units such as the Creative Zen Vision W offer a more dedicated media playback solution.

The big issues


Undoubtedly, one of the biggest issues when hunting down the right player is price. For smaller models, you're looking at around the $200 mark, while hard disk models can cost anywhere from $350 right up to $900, depending on capacity and features.


A bright, large display on a standard MP3 player is useful because it makes navigating playlists and viewing track information a much easier task. The flipside is that the iPod shuffle proves you can get by just fine without a display.

However, when it comes to a Portable Media Player, the display is everything! A top display can make the difference between a good player and a great one and a bad display can limit the situations in which you're able to use your PMP.

There's a few display features to keep in mind, test and compare when you're shopping around for a PMP.

A wide viewable angle will allow you to view the display without leaning, adjusting or craning your neck and will even allow people next to you to view the device.

The display's size and maximum resolution are also important, as bigger screens are better to watch and a higher resolution allows for sharper images.

Ideally, you'll want the highest resolution available for a given display size. Some good examples include Sorell's SV-10 PMP with a 3.5in display capable of 720x480 pixels, and Hauppauge's Media MVP PMP with 7in widescreen display capable of 854x680 pixels. Most PMPs are going to have 2.5-3.8in displays capable of around 320x240 pixels.

There's also a screen's brightness and contrast ratio which affect the reproduction of colours, but can also eat into battery life.

Finally, some PMPs also feature a touch-sensitive screen (great for ease of use) or a glossy display treatment that can help reflect sunlight, or increase colour depth, or reduce glare. The display is where you're eyes will always be, so do yourself a favour and give this a high priority when comparing models.

The Hauppauge Media MVP PMP has a 7-in widescreen display capable of 854x680 pixels.

Design, size and weight

Let's face it, aesthetics go a long way and Sony's PSP has upped the ante in design. Apple's new iPod touch is also one of the sleekest around. Appearance aside though, a player's size and weight is a large part of its desirability. PMPs vary greatly in this area.

Batteries and removable accessories affect size and weight, as well as functionality. All these factors must be considered when choosing a player, whether you want to make a personal statement or just have a functional device.

Join the PC World 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.

GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?