Best MP3 Players

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 25, 2019
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 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Formats
Battery Run Time
Memory
Usability
Warranty
 
PROS

The Bluetooth 4.2 allows you to connect the player to wireless earphones and enjoy clear, noise-free sound. With NFC™ One-touch Connection, synchronization takes only a few seconds.

CONS

There is no video playback.

OUR VERDICT

The folks behind Sony know how to amuse and please music enthusiasts with good audio quality. Thanks to the Digital Amplifier Master HX™ with DSEE HX™ upscaling, every audio file will boast studio-quality sound.

detailed parameters
Supported Formats

MP3, WMA, FLAC, WAV, AAC/HE-AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, DSD, APE, MQA

Battery Run Time

Up to 45 hours

Memory

16 GB + slot for microSD

Usability

3.1" TFT Display (800 x 480), FM-radio, S-Master HX™ digital amplifier, DSEE HX™ upscaling, NFC™ One-touch connection

Warranty

1 year

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

Music: Up to 35 h
FM Radio: 12 h
Video: Up to 4 h

Memory
16 GB
Usability

1.77" TFT backlit LCD, Clock, Alarm clock, Timer

Warranty

1 year

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" LCD (128x128), FM-radio, Built-in clip

Warranty

1 year

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 h

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
Warranty

1 year

PROS

This mp3 player has a built-in sensitive microphone that allows for voice recording even if a person is pretty far from the unit. This is especially handy for lectures and conferences.

CONS

It takes some time to create a playlist. 

OUR VERDICT

This model by Berennis supports most audio formats, documents, video, and photo files. So, if you are looking for a multi-functional mp3 player that won't break the bank, this model is a good choice.

detailed parameters
Supported Formats

FLAC, MP3, AAC, WAV, AMV, OGG, WMV, TXT

Battery Run Time

Up to 30 hours

Memory

16 GB + slot for microSD

Usability

1.77" (128 x 160), FM radio, voice recording, Time and Data, Alarm

Warranty

1 year

Sony NW-A45/B Walkman

Studio Quality Sound

The Sony NW-A45/B Walkman is a basic music player that doesn’t support video playback and has no apps, but it offers exceptional audio quality. How is that? Well, you hear every sound as if you are standing right in front of the music artist.

The sound is very clear and natural, just like it was intended to be. The manufacturer has achieved such clarity by improving the hardware. The folks in Sony have designed a new circuit board for better electricity flow which makes the power supply stable and the sound clearer. They also have added the S-Master HX amplifier to reduce noise and distortion, which makes for the purer vocal.

Last but not least, the NW-A45/B Walkman supports Hi-Res and DSD audio formats which are known for studio-quality sounding. With all these improvements, you get a superior authentic sound.

However, these are not all the clever improvements that make this player sound so good. For example, the NW-A45/B supports the DSEE HX function that restores the quality of compressed music files to deliver you more natural and rich sound.

Review of Sony NW-A45/B Walkman 16GB MP3 Player with Hi-Res Audio

Easy Controls

The Sony NW-A45/B has the 3.1’’ full-color touch screen with Sony’s proprietary interface. It looks pretty nice and is bright enough to be well-read under sunlight. The control buttons (back, now playing, home, and settings) are on the bottom of the unit, as well as the equalizer and sound enhancements. The album image is displayed on the top.

As for the software, it is quite simple and user-friendly. For example, you can plug the player in your PC or tablet without installing a special program. The player appears as a USB storage drive so that you can drag and drop your files effortlessly. There is also a separate breakout menu for Hi-Res audio files and convenient classification by the album/ artist. Importantly, it doesn’t break the album if there is a guest singer. All songs stay together.

The NW-A45/B also supports Bluetooth connection, so you can pair it to your wireless earphones or try Sony’s noise-canceling headphones and enjoy really great sound.

Sony NW-A45/B Walkman 16GB MP3 Player with Hi-Res Audio in the use

Great Design

The Sony mp3 player feels nice in hands and is quite small to fit in the pants pocket. The location of the control buttons is on the right side, while the MicroSD slot is on the left (this Walkman is compatible with 128GB cards).

The metallic housing has a matte finish, so it doesn’t collect fingerprints that easily. The build quality is perfect, as always with Sony. There are no creaks and gaps.

Indeed, the NW-A45/B player can please a user who demands the best build and audio quality. After all, with Sony, you always get what you pay for.

Detailed review of Sony NW-A45/B Walkman 16GB MP3 Player with Hi-Res Audio

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman

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


VIDEO
Review of Sony Walkman NW-E393 16GB

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

This MP3 player works well and has more than enough storage.

Size & Weight

I wanted a small pocket size music player that I could use with a headset while working outdoor

Features

Screen loads much faster and seems brighter and easy to see outdoors in the sun.

Power

The battery charge lasts for a full day and more.
 

SanDisk Clip Sport (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 Clip Sport (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 Clip Sport (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 Clip Sport (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 Clip Sport (SDMX22-008G-A57K) MP3 Player application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
[HD] Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip Overview & Unboxing

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

The big improvement in the newer model over the older is that the internal native storage is bumped up to 8 GB, and it has a slot for a MicroSD card

Size & Weight

I really like the size

Features

Sandisk has just earned themselves a lifelong customer. I do actually love these players: they are light, clip on, have FM radio and support multiple audio formats

Power

On a full charge the battery lasts a long time. I often do a 3 hour show, twice a day and then go work out with it at the gym on a single charge.
 

AGPtEK A02S

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 A02S 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 A02S 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 A02S 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 running, workout in a gym 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 A02S MP3 Lossless Sound Music Player application

VIDEO
AGPtek A02 8GB MP3 player Review

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

The use of memory card allows me to save my entire library on one card or use multiple cards for different styles of music. This is one of the best that I have bought.

Size & Weight

I like the size although size is not as important to me as function

Features

Clean sound with headphones, and using aux cable in the car.

Power

The best is how long the battery lasts 24 to 30 hours of playing before you need to charge. Would recommend highly.
 

BERENNIS A30

Entertainment Hub

Are you looking for an mp3 player to use on-the-go? If yes, would recommend you to consider the Berennis A30. It's one of the most popular players in the budget category on Amazon today and there are many reasons for that.

The heart of this model is a powerful chip integrated into the intelligent Hi-Fi system. It makes for a very decent sound and easily brings it on par with some of the more expensive models. Of course, it doesn’t do miracles with very bad audio files, but if you download music from reputable sources, the sound will be clear and pure and you will definitely enjoy it.

Next, the Berennis A30 supports a wide range of music formats - MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, and WAV - as well as TXT, AMV files, and FM radio, so you can use it not only for listening to music but also for reading a book or watching some video, which is convenient to do thanks to a 1.77’’ display. The screen is bright, rather big, and well-read even in the sunlight.

The internal storage space included is 16 GB; this is enough to store music, video, and even a library of your favorite e-books. Plus, you can increase this space by using a MicroSD card with capacity up to 128 GB, letting you store thousands of books, tracks, and full-length movies.

Another perk is the Bluetooth 4.2 function. Thanks to it, you can connect the player to wireless earphones or a headset and listen to your favorite playlist tangle free. Handy for trips, workouts, and commuting by public transit.

Review of BERENNIS A30 16GB MP3 Player with Bluetooth 4.2

Just Tap and Listen

The Berennis A30 mp3 player has a sleek high-tech design. It looks nice and feels expensive. The player is very convenient for one-handed operation. It is ergonomic and thin, so it fits a hand perfectly.

There are only 3 buttons: two for volume control on the left side and an on/off button (with the microSD slot) on the right. Most operations can be done with 7 touch-sensitive buttons on the front panel. They are very responsive and LED backlit for use in dim light. Plus, the player is featured with a one-key lock function to help you avoid accidental song switch.

As for the battery, the A30 is equipped with a Li-poly battery that fully charges in 2.5 hours. After that, it offers up to 30 hours of continuous music streaming.

BERENNIS A30 16GB MP3 Player with Bluetooth 4.2 in the use

Useful Extras

In addition to all the handy options, the Berennis A30 offers, it is equipped with a sensitive microphone for voice recording. It is quite powerful and makes clear recordings from a distance. This is especially handy for recording a lecture or any other speech.

All in all, this is a fully-featured player that won’t let you get bored. Audio, video, text, FM, and recording support in addition to a very good sounding make it a very decent mp3 player. It costs less than $30 and but it's easily one of the best models in its price range.

Detailed review of BERENNIS A30 16GB MP3 Player with Bluetooth 4.2

 

What Is an MP3 Player?

Music players have got through many changes over the past 30 years. From massive cassette to CD players and to their compact digital versions that can store thousands of songs, and all of them are in your pocket. No more are we limited to a specific audio format. Modern players can play back music in mp3, AAC, WMA lossy, FLAC, etc. and stream the radio. However, these are the basic functions that are not extraordinary and every model has them. The best mp3 player though allows a user to watch videos and images in JPEG, MPEG-4, WAV, AMV formats and more. It also supports TXT which turns it to an E-book; may have a pedometer to determine the distance you cover during your walks; and is sometimes made waterproof which means, if you are a swimmer, you can take it to the pool. Even if the housing is not water resistant, your mp3 player is pretty likely to support Bluetooth. Thanks to this handy option, you can use wireless headphones or workout earphones that can also be waterproof and listen to your workout playlist distantly. If a player supports Bluetooth, it can playback through any Bluetooth compatible device.

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. A hard drive device usually offers you a bit more storage space than a flash MP3. The memory capacity matters since the higher this index is, the more songs you can store. Modern players allow you to store from a few hundred megabytes to a hundred gigabytes and more. To decide what type will be the best for you, you should make some calculations. Usually, a 3-minute song requires about 3MB of space, so, if a player has 5GB memory, it will hold 1000-2000 songs. Calculate how many songs you need to carry around and calculate how much space you need, then buy an mp3 player with capacity at least slightly bigger than that, though in a nutshell, the more storage space you'll get the better. In case 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 mW, and if you are going to listen to music on-the-go, consider buying the model with 15 mW and higher so that you could enjoy your playlist even in very noisy places.

Supported 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 converting your music. So, we recommend looking for the model that supports as many formats as possible. Besides, some MP3 players can even play video, so you should know what files you will be able to run. It is better to take into account, though, that almost all mp3 players support MPEG-4 and AMV formats but these files should have a specific size (160 x 128, for example). So you can either convert video with specialized software or download video that has already been converted.

Usability & Extra Options

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 on the market, so you can select the best model according to your preferences. Some models have built-in Bluetooth, thus allowing you to exchange your tracks with your friends or connect your device to a car stereo. If this sounds like the option you would like to have on your player, check it out too.

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? Digital Unite.

5. Portable media player, Wikipedia.

6. Kevin Bonsor, Jeff Tyson, Craig Freudenrich How MP3 Players Work, HowStuffWorks.

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

8. Chris Woodford MP3 players, Explain that Stuff. April 9, 2017.

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