Next to cell phones, MP3 players are the must have, hot product everyone wants to own. There are lots of great players available, but how do you know which one is right for you? Here are some tips that will help you make the right decision before purchasing an MP3 player.
Tip #1 - Type of MP3 Player - There are basically four types, flash, hard drive, micro hard drive and CD based players.
Flash players are small, have a memory chip built-in, and are more durable with no moving parts, which mean they will not skip a beat during sports activity or running. Because of their compact size, space is limited to 4gigs or less depending on the model you choose. iRiver, SanDisk and Creative MuVo are three popular brands of flash memory players.
Hard drive players are great for anyone who wants to take their entire library worth of music with them. Featuring high capacity storage ranging anywhere from 4gigs to 60gigs of hard drive space. With so much disk space available, you can also store data files, pictures and video, allowing for true portability.
Unlike flash players, hard drive players are larger in size, cost more and have more movable parts, which may not make it idea for physical activity. Popular among the brands are Apple Ipod, Creative Zen Vision, and Wolverine MVP models.
Additionally you can opt for an micro hard drive player. Micro MP3 players are a cross between a flash and a regular hard drive player. Max storage capacity is usually 8gigs, have a miniature hard drive, and are light weight and compact. These players still have movable parts and some models include non-removable re-chargeable batteries.
CD MP3 players are similar to CD players, except they can read data CD's. Capacity is the same size as a CD which is 650mbs, and the music needs to be burned. They can also play standard CD's.
Tip #2 - Digital Format - Not all players support every music format but should play the standard mp3, wma, wav formats. For additional audio format, look for players that support aac, asf and ogg. Not stopping at audio format, you may also have a need to view video formats such as mp4, mov, wav, avi, and flash. To get the most out your purchase and enjoy your favorite digital pictures, look for models that support picture formats such as jpeg, gif, tiff and png. Flash Players such as Creative Zen, iRiver Clix, and Cowan iAudio can display text documents.
Tip #3 - Battery Life - Next to storage capacity, battery life is probably the most critical consideration with MP3 players. Options include standard batteries (AAA or AA type batteries) or rechargeable batteries. With standard batteries, you can easily replace them when needed, while some rechargeable models are non-removable lithium-ion batteries, and typically last two to four years. Since flash players need to be synced more often, recharging occurs as you sync. For larger players, battery life is usually longer but may not always be the case. Make sure you inquiry about battery life for those models.
Tip #4 - Features - With the capability to view video and photos, bright color screens with image display are usually a favorite among buyers. Voice recording with built-in or optional voice recorders, let you record seminars or meetings. Want to listen to other music, some models include an FM tuner for listening and recording (mp3) radio stations. Players such as Apple iPOD and Creative Zen line allow for personal information management options such as phone books and calendars that can synchronize data between desktop applications and the player.
Other features to consider: advanced playback features such as shuffle, repeat, resume, and playlist functions. Newer models now offer the ability to create on the fly playlists, smart playlist for grouping songs in shuffle mode and automatic volume control that makes songs play at the same volume. Don't forget about music search and sort options to find songs.
Tip #5 - Connectivity Options - Most if not all MP3 players support USB 2.0. Other connectivity options you may want to consider is Firewire, audio and line inputs. Some next-generation models include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth capabilities.
Tip #6 - Functionality - Don't just consider bells and whistles when looking for the right MP3 to purchase. Functionality is usually what makes MP3 players stand apart from each other. Test drive each player and notice how easy or hard it is to navigate the menus. Do the buttons feel cheap or easy to press? Is the screen display sufficient in bright light? Is it compact enough for daily or sport activity? What accessories are available for the player?
No matter what model you choose, an MP3 player will be a great addition to your entertainment hardware!