MP3 Players..

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2006
MP3 Players..
MP3 players today come in various sizes, types, and shapes, and with varied features. The sound quality differs a great deal, and so does the price. Here's where we come in-read on so you can make an informed decision.

Questions To Ask
Hard drive or Flash?
Storage volume comes first to mind. If you are the kind who can live without music only for very short periods, or if you commute a lot, you're better off with as large a storage capacity as you can afford. This means a hard drive based MP3 player, usually sized 20 GB and above. Along with the larger capacity comes larger size, accompanied by larger screen sizes, which are easier to read. The price per MB is also the best here. The disadvantages are that these are heavier to carry around, and since a hard drive (which has moving parts) is involved, these have to be handled very carefully. They're susceptible to damage. Battery consumption is also higher because of the hard drive and the larger display.

If you are one of those who want an MP3 player to jog along with, you are better off with a Flash-based player. These have no moving parts and are therefore suitable for rough use. Most of them run on an AA battery and last quite long on a single charge. The disadvantages here are that they have the highest cost per MB; they usually have small and hard-to-view screens or, even worse, no screen at all.

Those who want the best of both worlds need not worry. There are micro hard drive based players. These are smaller and lighter than hard drive based players, and are thus more portable; on the other side, they can hold more songs than Flash-based players can.
Do MP3 players deliver good sound?
The sound quality depends not only on the player itself, but equally on the bundled earphones/headphones. Most manufacturers bundle below-par phones. Check the player with a good set of headphones before you buy, and replace the bundled ones with a better set after you do.

Future Trends
Media players are becoming the norm these days and the line of distinction between them and MP3 players is slowly blurring. It will not be long before plain MP3 players will be replaced altogether by media players. The bulk of the cost of an MP3 player can be attributed to the storage medium. With the falling prices of Flash memory and storage media in general, the cost of MP3 players is also bound to plummet.

Mobile phones these days are multimedia-capable, and the sound quality of some rivals that of the best MP3 players. It makes sense to buy such a phone; the premium you'll pay will be worth it.

What To Look For
The following in a list of parameters to look for; whatever is self-explanatory hasn't been elaborated upon!

Essential parameters
Capacity: The first and foremost!

Formats supported: Look for support for a variety of popular audio formats such as MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV and OGG.

Support for ID3 tags and playlists: Life becomes much simpler if an MP3 player can read ID3 tags and arrange songs in playlists for easier search-and-play.

Equaliser: Look for players that have an option for custom equaliser settings, or at least one that has a lot of presets.

FM radio
Voice/Line-in/FM recording
Battery life

Removable Battery: These are generally preferable to non-removable rechargeable Li-ion ones, which may require you to buy a new player after the battery expires-most often, it is not replaceable. On the other hand, the convenience of simply plugging in the player and let the battery charge appeals to most people.

Add-on features
Support for advanced audio standards: Some players have support for standards such as SRS, WOW, EAX, Dolby, and more.

A protective casing
Line-out: If you plan on connecting your MP3 player to your stereo, get a device with a line-out port, or if your stereo supports digital output, be sure your player does so as well.

Earphones: In-ear, bud type earphones enhance the listening experience by cutting off ambient sound to an extent, but these are not comfortable for everyone. Over-the-ear headphones are for long listening sessions.

Other features: Add-on features such as a camera, USB host functionality, an address book, a text reader, a stop watch, in-line remote control, and memory upgradeability in the form of memory card slots. Some players even come with a car adapter kit.

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