Best MP3 Players

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 2, 2017
An MP3 player is a popular device among music fans who love music and are eager to keep it with them wherever they go. Due to its small size, an MP3 player is easy to fit in a pants pocket, purse, and even attach to a belt so that it wouldn't impede your other activities. For this review, we've selected the 5 best models of portable-sized music players you can find on the market so far. Check them out and take your pick. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Formats
Battery Run Time
Memory
Usability
 
PROS
A smartphone-style interface provides easy management. Can be customized according to your needs
CONS
Requires iTunes installation on a PC for transferring files.
OUR VERDICT
The best device for those who adore both quality sound and video. Incredibly portable and compact player for sport-oriented people.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
AAC, MP3, AIFF, WAV, H.264, M4V, MP4, MOV, MPEG-4, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless, Audible
Battery Run Time
30 hours
Memory
16 GB
Usability
2.5-inches widescreen Multi-Touch display, Bluetooth 4.0, FM tuner with Live Pause, Built-in pedometer
PROS
It takes only 2 hours to fully recharge the player. Exclusive Sony ClearAudio technology ensures a deep and rich sound of the streamed playlist.
CONS
Sampling frequency may not correspond to all encoders, copyright protected WMA, AAC-LC files cannot be played back.
OUR VERDICT
This excellent player offers a broadband from 20 to 20,000 Hz and 5-band equalizer to playback your favorite music in the best quality.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
MP3, WMA, JPEG, Linear PCM, AAC, MP4
Battery Run Time
35 hours
Memory
16 GB
Usability
1.77-inches TFT backlit LCD, Clock, Alarm clock, Timer
PROS
This model is designed for music and sport. Free synchronization to playlists by Media Monkey.
CONS
A SD card doesn't come with the player, so you need to buy it separately.
OUR VERDICT
Perfect for those who live fast. You won't be afraid that the player will crash owing to a shock absorption surface. This device offers the longest battery run time and fabulous sound quality.
detailed parameters
Supported Formats
MP3, WMA, FLAC, APE
Battery Run Time
70 hours
Memory
16 GB + microSD card (up to 64 GB)
Usability
Works with a car via AUX port, automatically scans and saves FM stations, can be used as a timer or a voice recorder
PROS

Easily attaches to any clothing. A stopwatch, voice recorder and FM radio are included.

CONS

Limited information on a screen while playing. Not able to sync a playlist from Windows Media Player or other software.

OUR VERDICT

Amazing clip design allows to take this device everywhere no matter what you wear. You can control your playlist even while not looking at it.

detailed parameters
Supported Formats
MP3, AAC, WAV, WMA, FLAC, OGG
Battery Run Time
15 hours
Memory
4 or 8 GB + microSDHC card (up to 32 GB)
Usability
1.44- inches TFT LCD, comfortable usage in pocket or when clipped, scanning and saving FM stations
PROS

This great waterproof MP3 player supplied with waterproof earphones. This appliance is easy to use and have a nice sound.

CONS

Support MP3 only. We wish sound to be on a higher level and design to be more attractive.

OUR VERDICT

Surfing in an ocean, swimming in a pool and even taking a shower at home - all of this is much more awesome when your Diver's with you.

detailed parameters
Supported Formats
MP3 only
Battery Run Time
16 hours
Memory
4 GB
Usability
Compact size and simple control, both device and earphones are waterproof

What Is an MP3 Player?

An MP3 player is a small electronic device designed for playing audio files. Despite its name, these gadgets can often support other popular media files types such as MOV or JPEG. MP3 players are portable, normally they are kept in a pocket or clipped on clothes. They work on internal or replaceable batteries and use headphones. Besides, people are increasingly used to hook such players up to their cars or even home stereos. Many of these devices also support FM radio, voice record, and video playback.

Audiophiles should also be interested in our review on the latest headphones.

What Features to Compare

Storage type and capacity

MP3 players can be divided into two groups: hard drive players and flash players. The letter ones use flash cards for storing the information while the former MP3s have hard drives for that. That means a hard drive device offers you a bit more storage space than a flash MP3. The memory capacity also matters, since the higher this index is, the more songs you can store. The modern players allow you to store from a few hundred megabytes to a hundred gigabytes and more. So, to decide what type will be the best for you, you should make some calculations. Usually, a 3-minute song requires about 3MB space, so, if a player has 5GB memory, it will contain 1000-2000 songs. Anyway, you should know how many songs you can store and not clutter up the memory. Also, when it is not enough for you, it is possible to extend the memory by using an SD card.

Sound quality

Without a doubt, this is one of the most important criteria of a good MP3 player. Here, you should mostly pay attention to the bit rate. The higher it is, the more likely a song will sound like the original. The most common bit rates are 128, 160, 192, 256, and 320 Kbps. Next, signal to noise ratio adds to the sound quality a lot. As a rule, a good index is from 80 to 90 dB, and the higher it is the clearer the sound will be. As for the volume, it is measured in mWATT, and if you are going to listen to music on-the-go, consider buying the model with 15 mWATTs and higher.

Supporting formats

There is no doubt that all of these devices support MP3. But what if you have an audio in another format? When your player supports many different formats, you don’t have to waste time on converting your music. So, we recommend looking for the model that supports more formats. Besides, some MP3 players can even play video, so you should know what files you will be able to run.

Usability

The convenient location of the buttons, intuitive interface, and extended battery life, this all makes the use of an MP3 player pleasant and effortless. We also paid attention to navigation through folders, volume control and information about the current track on the screen. A shockproof and water resistant feature, camera or voice recording are the options that also have significant value for some users. Luckily today, there are a lot of different models in the market, so you can select the best model according to your preference.

Extra options

Some models have a built-in Bluetooth thus allowing to exchange your tracks with your friends or connect your device to your car stereo. So, if this sounds like the option you would like to have on your player, check on it too.

...Read more ...Read less

Apple iPod nano

Supported formats

IPod nano supports almost all currently available video and audio formats. This outstanding device allows you to open AAC, MP3, AIFF, WAV, H.264, M4V, MP4, MOV, MPEG-4, HE-AAC files. Thus, you will never face the problem of file converting and will be free to download any content you wish. Additionally, Apple iPod nano supports Apple Lossless and Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), hence, you can listen to your favorite music in a high-quality stereo sound. For your convenience, the producer has designed this marvelous device with adjustable maximum volume limit. Now you customize it depending on your preferences. iPod nano would become an ultimate player for people who value hi-tech devices. Listen to music, watch movies and enjoy quality sound and video. This player is all you need to be entertained!

Review of Apple iPod nano 16GB Blue 7th Generation

Battery Run Time

The built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides 30 hours of music or 3.5 hours of video constant playback. But, these parameters are true when the battery is fully charged. It takes only 3 hours to recharge your device using a UBS cable connected to your PC. What is important, Apple iPod nano features a fast charging mode that charges up to 80% of battery capacity just in 1.5 hours! So, when you are limited in time, such mode is quite important and helpful.

Apple iPod nano 16GB Blue 7th Generation in the use

Memory

This IPod comes with 16 GB of built-in memory. Unfortunately, it comes with only one available memory capacity but it is quite enough to store up to 4000 songs. Still, if you have plenty of apps or video files, this amount will be decreased. Therefore, this model is perfect for those who store only music and download playlists directly from iTunes. Like all the Apple products, the player requires iTunes installation on your PC for transferring music files.

Detailed review of Apple iPod nano 16GB Blue 7th Generation

Usability

IPod nano is designed with the 2.5-inch widescreen Multi-Touch display that simplifies the player's management. Additionally, this model features Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection technology allowing you to synchronize the player with other devices. But the unique feature of Apple iPod nano is the special FM tuner with Live Pause. This option lets you stop a broadcasting and then resume it just from the place you've paused (limited by 15 minutes' pause). We should also mention that Apple iPod nano player comes with a built-in accelerometer in order that images on the display are always positioned upright. This sensor can also serve as a pedometer that counts each step you take.

Apple iPod nano 16GB Blue 7th Generation application

VIDEO
Apple iPod nano (7th Generation): Unboxing & Review
Apple iPod nano
Apple iPod nano
 

Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player

Everything is Really Simple

Turns out that you can easily transfer music, videos, photos, and even playlists to your Sony NWE395/B MP3 player. Just drag and drop all the necessary data from iTunes or Windows Media Player and enjoy your favorite media files. Another outstanding thing about this player is that it has a 5-band equalizer that offers you an ability to adjust the sound up to your preferences or some genres (Heavy/Pop/Jazz/Unique/Custom). This model is quite handy as it is designed with 1.77 TFT backlit display. Thus, you can easily scroll through the menu to choose a song or view photos. Another important feature Sony NWE395/B offers is a built-in clock with ability to set an alarm clock, hence you can be aware of the current time and will never sleep through important meetings. You will also like the sleep timer functions that are meant to prolong the battery life by shutting off the player after a certain lapse of time you've set. Quite handy MP3 player with outstanding sounding!

Review of Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player

Designed for High-quality Music

First of all, we should mention that this MP3 player produces high-quality and clear sound. Such quality is achieved thanks to Sony's exclusive ClearAudio technology that automatically optimizes the balance of frequencies and reproduces stereo sound that resembles the original song's quality. The technology comprises several features such as Clear Stereo, Clear Bass, and Dynamic Normalizer to ensure the balance of the volume level between songs and provides you with deeper sound. Here, Clear Bass enhances bass levels and minimizes distortion at high volume while Clear Stereo provides improved channel separation.

Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player in the use

Interesting Facts

Do you know that Sony Corporation had changed its name in 1958 from Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo? The previous brand name was a jaw-breaker for Americans and that's why Akio Morita, a joint holder of the company, chose a new name "Sony" as a mix of 2 words. One word was "sonus" ("sound" from Latin) and the other one was "sonny" (a common slang term used to call a boy in America in 1950). 

You might have heard of the golden guinea pig figurine stored in Sony archives in Tokyo. It is a present to Masaru Ibuka from one of his employees. It became a company's symbol in response to an article that claimed Sony was a "guinea pig for transistors and other companies were besting them". In a radio interview years later, Ibuka said in response: "If a guinea pig spirit means developing innovative ideas and embodying them in new products, then I think this is an admirable spirit."

Detailed review of Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player

More Products to Consider

Sony CSE006ARM - is a special armband for E and S series MP3 players. A perfect choice for people who like listening to music while working out.

Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


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Review of Sony Walkman NW-E393 16GB
Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player
Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player
 

AGPtEK A02

Supported formats

AGPtEK player supports 4 different audio formats. Along with MP3 and WMA, this player allows you to open specific FLAC and APE files. FLAC and APE formats offer you an opportunity to revel in a high-quality stereo sound. Such audio quality is achieved due to a lossless comprehension of digital audio so you can listen to your favorite music in the original sounding. Now you shouldn't worry that your player will not play specific audio formats thus you can download music from any source.

Review of AGPtEK A02 MP3 Lossless Sound Music Player

Battery Run Time

AGPtEK player features the longest battery life on a single charge in comparison with other MP3 players in our review. Thus, the built-in battery can last for about 70 hours under condition of continuous audio playback. Moreover, this MP3 player offers fast charge feature, so 30-minutes charge will work for 10 hours use. We are sure that this option is not just important, it is extremely necessary for every user. And a full- charge time is about 3-4 hours.

AGPtEK A02 MP3 Lossless Sound Music Player in the use

Memory

This player comes with 16GB of built-in memory. As in the case with SanDisk player, AGPtEK also features a memory card slot for more data storage space. AGPtEK supports up to 64 GB microSD card that ensures storage of approximately 12 000 MP3 files on your player, though a card is sold separately. You should note that the producer claims that this player is compatible with AGPTek Memory Cards only.

Detailed review of AGPtEK A02 MP3 Lossless Sound Music Player

Usability

AGPtEK MP3 player is a compact and lightweight unit engineered with durable shock absorption surface. Perfect for people who go in for sport or just for everyday use. In addition to music playback, this multifunctional device features a timer option and a noise cancelling voice recorder. AGPtEk automatically scans and saves FM station and can be connected to a car via AUX port. This MP3 player is a reasonable choice for the unity of features and a low price.
AGPtEK A02 MP3 Lossless Sound Music Player application

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AGPtek A02 8GB MP3 player Review
AGPtEK A02
AGPtEK A02
 

SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K

Supported formats

SanDisk MP3 Player is compatible not only with common MP3, AAC, WAV and WMA, but also with such specific formats as FLAC and Ogg Vorbis. So you can download your favourite music from any source - iTunes, Amazon, Google Play or torrent client. And be sure, that your player is able to play it. 

Review of SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K MP3 Player

Battery Run Time

Battery average life in this wonderful player is close to 15 hours. Pay attention, it doesn't come with a charger - you should charge this device by connecting the USB cable to a PC. But in most cases this variant is suitable, especially when you transfer music from the computer - you can do two things at the same time.

SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K MP3 Player in the use

Memory

This item offers only 8GB. Some years ago that seemed quite a lot, but not today with emergence of 16GB and 32GB memory cards. If you ever run out of memory, you will be able to extend it by using a different card. So you shouldn`t worry about your storage, because you will have enough space for downloading the music.

Detailed review of SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K MP3 Player

Usability

This one of the best Sansa MP3 players. It goes with bright 1-inch screen. A player is also supplied with big and comfortable navigation buttons which make music files easy to drag, drop and play. Thanks to innovative clip design, this mini MP3 player attaches easily to all types of clothing. Voice recording is also available.This feature is very useful when you need to remember some information and don't have time to write it down. A stopwatch is one more feature that helps while you are running, going fitness or workout. And finally, it delivers a sound you’d never expect from such a small device.

SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K MP3 Player application

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[HD] Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip Overview & Unboxing
SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K
SanDisk SDMX22-008G-A57K
 

Diver DB-10

Supported formats

Diver plays only MP3. Perhaps, the most popular audio format, used worldwide to play all sorts of music. In some cases you may use converter software on your PC or Mac, but obviously this is not what you'd expect. On the other side, this MP3 player shows good quality sound and doesn't take many megabytes in the storage. 

Review of Diver DB-10 Waterproof MP3 Player

Battery Run Time

Built-in rechargeable battery can last for approximately 16 hours of playtime. It seems that Diver needs daily re-charge, but if you use this device only when going fitness, biking or swimming that normally last for about 2-3 hours, it can serve you a whole week. For full-charge two hours will be quite enough.

Diver DB-10 Waterproof MP3 Player in the use

Memory

An item comes with 4GB of built-in memory. There is no slot to extend storage so don't load music with whole albums and folders if you want to leave some space for adding dozens of new songs every week. But often it doesn't matter how much of a music fan you are, 4GB memory card will be enough to keep your favourite music library at a hand wherever you go.

Detailed review of Diver DB-10 Waterproof MP3 Player

Usability

Simple volume controls and just "next" button to manage songs is enough for easy control. This waterproof MP3 player supports drag&drop so you need a few minutes and a USB cable to load a new playlist from the computer. Be sure, this is the easiest player in use. If you don't want to waste much time on playlist controlling while going workout this is your best variant.  A waterproof MP3 player comes with an elegant sturdy clip that can be easily attached not only not only to clothes, but also onto any headband, snorkel or swimming goggles. It has waterproof surface with hooked waterproof earphones included. 

Diver DB-10 Waterproof MP3 Player application

Diver DB-10
Diver DB-10
 

Sources:

1. Donald Bell MP3 player buying guide, CNET July 2, 2013.

2. How to Choose an MP3 Player, wikiHow.

3. Wendy Sheehan Donnell How to Buy an MP3 Player, PCMag. August 8, 2013.

4. What is an MP3 Player?digitalunite.

5. Portable media playerwikipedia

6. Kevin Bonsor, Jeff Tyson, Craig Freudenrich How MP3 Players Workelectronics.howstuffworks

7.  Rhonda Callow Types of MP3 Players: What Should I Buy?brighthub. January 21, 2011.

8.  Chris Woodford MP3 playersexplainthatstuff. April 9, 2017.

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