Types of MP3 Players
There are four types of MP3 players:
Hard Drive Players
Hard-drive MP3 players, such as the iPod and Toshiba Gigabeat, are
largest in both capacity and physical dimensions.
Hard-drive MP3 players, also known as jukeboxes, are generally
larger and heavier than flash-memory or micro hard-drive players.
Most of these hard-drive MP3 players can also be used to store
data (other than music) from your computer.
Hard-drive MP3 players include:
Gigabeat - 30GB (30GB, *est. $195) and 60GB models
(60GB, *est. $230). Editors at PC Magazine call it their favorite
non-iPod player. CNET placed in higher than the iPod, so it takes
our number one slot in the top 3.
- Apple iPod
Zen Vision - 30GB, [*est. $200] - best features are
the quality of the screen, the GUI, and its video playback capabilities.
- The Cowon iAudio X5 (30GB, *est. $205) - plays video and is
compatible with music-subscription service but the interface is
- Microsoft Zune (*
est. $230) - in a 30GB capacity, has some extra features over
the iPod, including a larger 3-inch screen and an FM tuner.
Flash Memory MP3 Players
The best two features of flash players is the small size, and the
fact they have no moving parts, making them the perfect exercise
accessory. However, the payback is that their storage capacity [up
to about 2G] is signicantly less than Hard Drive MP3 players. A
256MB flash MP3 player holds about 60 tunes; 512MB - 120 and so
Standard capacity for new players is rising, with more expensive
models up to about 8GB.
Flash-memory MP3 players are the smallest models.
- Cheapest models have a basic 128MB of memory [ 2 hours of songs].
- Most models have 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB capacities.
Flash players have no moving parts and are smaller and lighter
than other types of MP3 player; making them the best option for
Flash Memory MP3 Players include:
iPod Nano - 2GB, *est. $150; 4GB, *est. $195; 8GB,
*est. $240 - reviewers claim the Nano as "the most successful
- iPod Shuffle - 1GB, est. $80 - a basic featured,
clip-on wearable design, with a storage capacity of 1GB.
Clix - 2GB, *est. $160; $200 for 4GB.
Zen V and V Plus -
Sansa e-series - including the 6GB Sansa e260 and
the 8GB Sansa e280.
- MobiBLU DAH-1500i - tiny size and easy navigation, with average
audio quality and exceptional performance. Battery life is only
- MobiBLU US2 - iG, *est. $100 - rated in top 5 flash-based MP3
players for delivering top-quality audio and plenty of features
at an affordable price.
- Cowon 2GB iAudio U3 [*est. $115] - this tiny player plays MPEG-4
video on a 260,000-color, 160 x 128 LCD screen and supports text
and lyric (LDB) files, FM radio and voice recording, with a line-in
jack for recording from external sources.
Micro Hard Drive Players
Micro hard-drive players use smaller hard drives, making the overall
player lighter and smaller, but with less capacity. Since they still
use a hard drive, they can also be used to store other data from
your computer, acting as a portable hard drive.
Memory capacity is usually in the range of 4GB to 6GB.
Now that flash players have broken the 8GB mark, micro hard-drive
players are becoming somewhat obsolete.
Micro hard-drive players include:
- Creative Zen MicroPhoto - 8GB, est. $200 - less expensive and
not as small as the Nano. Weighs just over 4 ounces, [iPod nano
- Cowon iAudio 6 - holds 4GB of music or video files in all the
major formats (except Apple's AAC), and it has a 260,000-color,
1.3-inch OLED screen.
Other devices, such as mobile phones, satellite radios and CD players,
have an embedded MP3 player. Even the Victorinox SwissBeat Swiss
Army Knife claims to have an MP3 Player!!! Most combo options have
limited storage, normally up to IG, with expansion slot memory cards.
Flash-based MP3 players are so small that they can easily be embedded
in almost any other portable device.
One drawback is battery drain. For example, The Nokia N91 phone,
rated at eight days of standby time, only gives ten hours of MP3
MP3 players included with GPS navigation units are powered by the
car, meaning battery drain not a problem.
Portable CD/MP3 Players
Portable CD/MP3 players have no onboard memory and can play only
what's stored on the CDs, including MP3 files burned on CD-R and
even CD-RW discs, athough they may not be able to read and display
the ID3 tags giving the track and title info.
The size of these units is limited by the dimensions of a CD, so
they are not as small and light as an MP3 only player.
Market researchers predict that music phones will make up 27 percent
of global phone sales in 2007; reaching near 70 percent by 2010.
The added MP3 electronics adds little to the size and weight of
the phones. The major player is the Apple iPhone, currently a vailable
only to Cingular subscribers.
Cell phones with MP3 players - available from Sony Ericsson, Nokia,
Samsung, LG and others.
NEXT: Key MP3 Player
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