Different Types of MP3 player
There are two clear varieties of MP3 player:
Solid state: these include the smallest and lightest models. They get their name because they have no moving parts, which also means that they are good for running, as they will not skip during playback. The downside of this variety is that they cannot store as many songs. At present, the highest capacity model in this range is the iPod Nano, which can hold around 1,000 songs.
Hard disk: these use an internal hard disk - similar to the one in your computer, only much smaller. They have much larger capacities - some are capable of holding up to 15,000 songs. Unfortunately, the larger capacity models tend to be larger and heavier - although even they are smaller than much smaller-capacity models of recent years.
One other distinction in this category is those that can also play back video. Some larger models with bigger screens are specifically designed to do this, whereas some offer it more as an extra function.
What kind of MP3 player do you want?
Look at the following checklist to think about what you are most likely to use your player for:
Jogging and exercise
On public transport
Now look at your answers. If you intend to go jogging with it in your pocket, then you size and weight will be your most important concerns - if you need more music than even a small player can hold (at least 6 hours) then we want please email us your fitness tips. On the other hand, if the player is going to spend most of its time in your pocket while on the bus, or on your desk at work, capacity will become a bigger concern. You will be more likely to carry around your entire music collection with you, all the time. If you want a compromise, then there are players that still give you a decent capacity but in a small model.
Storage Capacity: This determines how much music you will be able to store. The smallest players store around 128MB, and the largest is currently around 100GB. As a very rough guide, one minute of music will use about 1MB of space, though that depends on the compression settings of the file. (See different types of audio file compression for more detail on this point.)
Battery Life: Most models use built-in batteries, for which you use a special charger. On average, maximum life will be around 10 hours. One interesting point is that the MP3 file format tends to use less battery power than WMA and AAC (the two other most common audio file formats).
A warning here: as with all batteries, your MP3 player battery will eventually stop holding its charge for so long, and may even stop charging completely. This can happen after only a couple of years - and you will need to pay to have it replaced with a new battery.
Connection Type: This is not really an important issue now - most models are USB compatible, and nearly all PCs and Macs feature a USB port. However, do check that your model includes a USB cable (unless it is not required).
Sound Quality: Cheaper MP3 players may not have great audio quality, especially producing poor bass, and be inaudible in noisy places (such as on the Tube).
Remember, though, that this is partly dependent on the compression quality of your files. If you purchase your music from one of the online music stores (such as iTunes or Napster) then this will not be an issue. However, if you use your own CDs to compress music then you need to make sure you get your settings correct. The minimum quality that you should use is 128Kbps, whereas going above 192Kbps would be wasteful.
Firmware: 'Firmware' is, in effect, to your MP3 player what Microsoft Windows is to your PC. This is very important as it allows you to set options, and navigate your files. Poorly designed software will give a bad experience, so read what other users have to say before making your choice. Also note that some models will allow you to download new versions of the firmware from the manufacturer's website, which can fix bugs, and install new functions that were not available when you first bought the player. This obviously makes your player more future-proof.
Remote Control: On less portable models, it can be useful to have a remote control so that you do not need to keep pulling the whole model out of your pocket just to change a track.
Additional Functions:Whilst the main function of an MP3 player is to play MP3 files, some include additional options that many people will find useful. As always, think about whether you actually want that function, or if it will just be a gimmick.
Screen: Nearly all models now use a screen. Some are very simple with only monochrome screens. At the top end, you can find colour screens that will display photographs and video. However, the screen is most useful for finding files - although Apple turned the iPod Shuffle's lack of screen into a marketing ploy, it can be very frustrating when you can't find the specific song you want.
Dictaphone: This is most useful for students and office workers, wanting to record lectures and meetings. Check for a built-in microphone, as this offers more convenience than having to carry an extra piece of kit.
Portable Storage: Some models double as portable hard drives, so that you can store whatever you want, rather like a USB flash key.
File Compatibility: This is most important if you already have a large audio file collection. Rivalry between companies means that some players won't play all format. Apple iPods will not play Microsoft's WMA format, for example, while Creative Labs' Zen models will not play the AAC format closely associated with Apple. Hence, if you plan on buying all your music from Apple's iTunes, you will be mostly limited to buying an iPod, whereas if you use Napster, you have a choice mostly of Toshiba, iRiver and Creative Labs.
Also, if you want to play video, again you have to consider which video file formats you can view. Apple's iPod video will only let you watch their Quick Time format, whereas other models are more flexible, allowing playback of the common DivX and MPEG4 formats.
It's impossible to say which MP3 player is the best, as it depends on your criteria: what do you want to use it for? How much do you want to pay? What do you value most in technology? Work out your answers to these questions, discuss them in forums, and you will find a lot of replies. The leading models are so similar that will often base your final decision on budget and which one you find most attractive.
MP3 player, also well known as digital audio player has become a staple of our gadget life. There are many brands of MP3 players on the market today. So, which MP3 player are the most suitable for you? That's where this MP3 player guide comes in.
Basically, there are 3 types of MP3 player based on capacity: -
1. Hard drive MP3 player
- highest capacity - largest in size - heavy - often labeled as an "Jukebox MP3 player" - has moving parts - example: Apple iPod video, Sony Network Walkman NW-HD5
2. Micro hard drive MP3 player
- use smaller hard drives - lighter than hard drive MP3 player - lower capacity than hard drive MP3 player but higher capacity than flash memory MP3 player - example: Apple iPod mini, Creative Labs Zen Micro
3. Flash memory MP3 player
- smallest in size - lowest capacity - very light - has no moving parts - often labeled as an "portable MP3 player" - example: mobiBLU Dah 1500i, Apple iPod nano
What should you concern when you want to buy a MP3 player?
1. Use / Purpose a) MP3 player good for travel Hard drive MP3 player is good for people traveling or away from computer for an extended period of time, where they can't transfer music files from their computers. Micro hard drive MP3 player is another option for travel since it is slightly smaller and lighter than hard drive MP3 player. Flash memory MP3 player is also popular for travel if you do not mind to listen to the same music.
b) MP3 player good for sport / jogging / gym Flash memory MP3 player is good for people exercising and jogging since it is very light. No moving parts for Flash memory MP3 player make it ideal for sport.
c) MP3 player good for home use Hard drive MP3 player is good for listening song in living room. It is suited to be connected to external speakers.
2. Connectivity There are two main options to transfer files from your computer: USB or FireWire. USB supported by both PCs and Macs whereas FireWire is supported only on Macs. For PC users, they need to ensure that the MP3 player support USB 2.0 which is faster than USB 1.1. Most of the MP3 players on market today are support USB 2.0.
3. Display screen Majority of MP3 players have LCD screen. Some MP3 players have color screen instead of dull black and white screen. The main things to consider are all the information such as battery level, song name & elapsed time are easy to read.
4. Compatibility PC or Mac compatibility. Mac users should ensure the MP3 player can support Mac since some MP3 players can only support PC.
5. Battery MP3 players come with either rechargeable batteries (some can be charged via USB port) or disposable batteries.
6. Music format Music files can be one of several types of formats, such as MP3, AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), WMA (Windows Media Audio) and Ogg Vorbis. Ogg Vorbis is a completely open, patent-free, professional audio encoding and streaming technology with all the benefits of Open Source.
7. Functionality Some MP3 players have extra features such as voice recorder, FM radio, FM recorder, image viewer, video player.
8. Memory capacity Most of the flash MP3 players come with 256MB, 512MB and 1GB. For hard drive MP3 players, they have gigabytes of storage capacity. If you would like to store many songs or CD collections in one, hard drive MP3 player or micro hard drive MP3 player is a better choice for you.