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Mp3 Player Buying Guide

Posted on March 13, 2008
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Digital audio players or mp3 players have become a popular gadget to own. These portable audio players allow you to store your entire music library in a nifty little device and bring your music wherever you go. You can easily download digital tunes into an mp3 player, mix and match your music playlist whichever way you like. Mp3 players also prove to be a stylish accessory with their sleek and compact designs.

With newer models packed with great features and capabilities always coming out in the market, buying an mp3 player all boils down to how you really want to use it. Consider this useful guide to help you select which player is right for you.

Hard drive vs. flash-based models

Mp3 players come in these two types of storage. Hard drive models, which usually range from 20 GB to 160 GB, are more expensive but allow you to carry thousands of songs and other digital files. These are recommended for users who have a large music collection.

Using a hard drive for storage, these players usually have movable parts that may cause music to skip in rugged conditions. It is advisable to equip your hard drive player with a protective casing.

Meanwhile, mp3 players with built-in flash memory can store from 512 MB to 16 GB of music. Some also use memory cards for storage and are also expandable. Flash-based players are usually more sleek and compact and can easily slip into your pocket. Such players are suitable for more active users who always want to update their music playlists.

File management

When music is downloaded from the Internet or copied to your computer and converted to digital audio, file types may vary. The default mp3 format is more commonly used in majority of portable audio players in the market. But some music files may also be saved in the following formats: .wav, .wma, .aac or other digital audio format.

Check if your mp3 player can support other music formats, so you won’t have to convert each track before transferring it to your player. Some players are bundled with software that helps you manage your music files and allows you to create your own playlists.

User interface and file transferability

While many people consider size as the most important feature of mp3 players, also make sure that you’re comfortable with the controls that come with a small player. Most portable audio players have a user-friendly interface despite their minimal buttons and controls.

Take note of the file transfer rate of players, which is important whenever you connect it to the computer to download files. The fastest transfer speed is usually with Firewire and USB 2.0 connections, which the latest mp3 players are enabled with.

Display screens

Most mp3 players feature back-lit, LCD screens for displaying the song title, artist, and other track details. You can also use the screen for navigating through your player’s features and other important options such as volume control, song playlists and track shuffling, and sound equalizer. If you’re planning to have a player that can also display photos and play videos, then you should consider going for a larger screen size with high resolution.

Battery life

 To fully enjoy your mp3 player while on the go, choose portable players that allow hours of music playback. Hard-drive units usually require more battery power thus consuming battery life quickly as compared to flash-based players. Normally, mp3 players use either rechargeable or replaceable batteries.

Rechargeable lithium ion or NiMH rechargeable batteries usually last for 8-10 hours in between charges. Standard AA batteries claim to have up to 35 hours of music playback. Still, battery life depends on how you use your music player’s functions.

Extra and advanced features

While the primary use of your mp3 player is for listening to digital tunes, some players have additional features that may come handy at times. Some have FM tuners and voice recording capabilities with the use of a built-in microphone. To enhance sound quality for different types of music, some players have equalizer controls and presets and also bass boost.

Accessories

Most portable audio players come with standard earphones. But to fully enjoy your listening experience, consider upgrading your headphones to improve sound quality and comfort. Some even have noise-canceling features. Other accessories for your mp3 player include portable speakers, protective casing, belt clips, car adapters, and many more.

 
 

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