Portable MP3 players. There are so many choices and your search for the right or best Mp3 player can be frustrating. Here are some important questions you should ask yourself before you buy a portable MP3 player.
How Much Memory Do I Need?
Digital CD-quality music takes about one megabyte (MB) of memory per minute, so a 256MB MP3 player can only hold about 4 hours of MP3-encoded music. You can always erase the MP3 player's contents and add more music, but more memory is always better. My advice is to buy as much memory as you can afford. Also, check to see if the MP3 player's memory can be expanded later.
Flash Memory, Hard Drive, or CD?
The earliest portable MP3 players used built-in flash memory, later supplemented by plug-in memory cards, and 64MB was as large as they came. Now there are portable MP3 players with up to 512MB of flash memory. Hard drive MP3 players hold from 4 to 60 gigabytes or more (a gigabyte is 1,000MB). There are MP3 CD players that come with MP3 decoders built in, and they hold 700MB on inexpensive CD disks. Finally, you can play MP3's with some cell phones and PDAs.
How Will You Use It?
Many people use their portable MP3 players while jogging or playing sports. If this is what you will do a flash memory player is the best bet. Hard drive MP3 players hold incredible amounts of music, but their size, weight and fragility are a disadvantage. MP3 CD players are even bulkier, and are prone to skipping under rough use. If your budget is limited, a MP3 CD player is a good choice. You will need a CD burner on your computer, though. Hard drive MP3 players are sexy and versatile, and are the best choice if you have a large music collection.
What Kind of Files Will It Play?
All portable MP3 players work with MP3 files, but some will play WMA, OGG and other formats. Not all portable MP3 players support the protected AAC format used by iTunes, so if you buy music from Apple's famous online store, be sure your player works with it. Napster, MSN Music and Wal-Mart stores sell WMA files. If possible, buy a model that can be upgraded to new audio formats as they become available. Some portable MP3 players also double as storage devices, so you can transport pictures, documents and anything else.
Is it Convenient to Use?
Before you buy a player, pick it up and try out the controls. Are they easy to reach, and logically arranged? Is the display clear and easy to read? Some units come with a remote control - a convenient feature for joggers and other active people.
Does it Have the Features You Need?
Some portables can record voice or music through a built-in microphone or line-in jack. Many models also feature an FM radio. The latest gadgets can also store and display pictures and video. If these features are important to you, shop around for the best option.