5 Things You Must Know Before Buying An MP3 Player

Yes there are alternatives to the iPod

If you're in the market for a portable music player, there are plenty of choices out there, and they're not all Apple products.

Portable music players have changed tremendously over the years and are continuing to evolve, with the high-end ones almost no different from some of the more advanced smartphones and tablets, aside from the cellular capabilities. Meanwhile, the low end thrives because it provides very solid devices that meet a very specific need: portable music, and not much else.

At Adorama, the devices are labeled as MP3 Multimedia Players due to the fact that music is now often only one aspect of the players. Watching and recording video and using the same device as a camera are now increasingly prevalent. Some devices access business apps and help you stay abreast of events via social media, or simply allow you to use the device as a voice recorder in order to save your insights for posterity.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. It doesn’t have to be an Apple product.

Apple did not invent the MP3 player, but with an elegant design and the ability to integrate its computer operating system with the iPod and family’s music it simplified the downloading, storing, and playing of music files, and later images and video as well. This has resulted in a dominate position in the market, where its various iPods, iPod Nanos and iPod Touches have a total of over 70% of the market. While many just consider an iPod for a player, there are other MP3 players out there (Such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab G1, right) that may offer features that iPods lack, or cost less, and may be worthy of your consideration. When looking for a player consider all of its features as well as its price point and it may surprise you to see how well a variety of models will fit your needs.

2. It should be File Friendly

In the world of digital content, the file format is king. If your device can only play a limited number and type of digital file, it's not all that valuable. Compatibility with a wide range of music, video, and photo files is a must. Yes, there's an alphabet soup - MP3, WMA, AAC, JPEG, AVI, MOV, etc. - but the more file support, the better.

3. Is the Bundled Software Easy To Use?

Mac users can use iTunes to convert their music files to store on a digital player, while Windows owners can take advantage of Windows Media Player for that task. But many digital music players ship with their own software for organizing tracks, ripping CDs, converting videos to play on smaller screens, and helping you load content onto your player. This is particularly important if you want to watch videos on your device - bundled software designed for your player knows how to convert images into formats your player can play.

4. What Media Format does it Use?

Most music players have increasingly embraced flash memory as their storage format of choice. Flash is lightweight and has no moving parts, which means that it preserves battery life and is less prone to skips or interruptions if the unit gets jostled. That said, flash can't offer as much storage for the price as a hard drive, so if you have a massive music library that you absolutely must carry with you wherever you go, choose a hard-drive player instead. Hard drives might also be preferable if you envision toting around a lot of video files, which quickly devour memory. Some players also have a storage expansion slot that enables you to expand the capacity, and with multiple cards you can store a large library by music type.

5. Display's The Thing

Touch-screen displays are populating an ever-larger number of units now even at lower price points. While few offer all of the multi-touch capabilities of the iPod (think swiping and using two fingers to magnify on-screen text), they do give you an alternative to physical buttons. Better yet is now that the devices are increasingly used for images, both still and video, the displays are both getting larger and have better resolution, enabling you to watch a video without the fear of blindness.

With prices ranging from under $50 to over $800, there’s a wide variety of choices if you want to bring music everywhere you go

So, which should you buy? Click here and visit our selective selection of top MP3 players.

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