10 Best MP3 Players: Reviews and Buying Guide

Headphones on, music on and relax – the popular and well-known way of slowing down for many years. The MP3 players offer many options and are in line with the trend, and can often prevail against smartphones and co. Today’s MP3 players have, so to speak, replaced the CD players and Walkman devices, which were popular a number of years ago. However, the small, handy media players today are not only responsible for playing music, but they can do much more. Photos and videos can also be played on the portable player.

What the small devices can do and what they offer you, we would like to explain in more detail in our MP3 player comparison.

Top 10 MP3 Players

What is an MP3 player and what does it need?

What used to be the portable CD player that has accompanied many of us day in, day out, this is the MP3 player today. The key difference of the MP3 player to the portable CD player: it is much smaller and lighter. Some of the modern audio playback devices weigh just about 20 grams, making them the ideal companion for traveling.

Another advantage that modern MP3 players have over CD players is that they can store countless music titles as well as pictures, videos and sometimes even e-books. Also, radio listening is often possible with little companions. This makes the portable devices so versatile that in some cases they are even referred to the mobile phone or smartphone.

The CD players had to be recharged again and again with new, powerful batteries, the MP3 players are charged. To do this, you will be connected to the computer via a USB cable – this will also transfer the music and other files to the player – or connect it to the wall outlet with a USB cable and power connection. Powerful batteries of some MP3 players promise a musical enjoyment of up to 70 hours. Most of the MP3 players have an internal memory that can be expanded with the Micro SD card as needed. Some of the portable playback devices are expandable up to 128 GB – and then fits quite a bit of data on it. An MP3 player with a memory size of about 8 GB can store up to 2,000 titles– with memory expansion, of course, more.

The MP3 players can also play other formats than MP3. These are for example MP4, FLAC, WMA or AAC, and others. The MP3 players are equipped with a licensed audio player software with which the format can be played back. The advantage of the small companion is also that they – depending on the device – with hi-fi systems, car radios and the like can be more coupled.

Of course, Bluetooth is also a term that should be mentioned in the context of portable audio players. Some of the MP3 players – including those we’ve just introduced – are equipped with Bluetooth, giving you more advantages and making it even easier to handle. In addition, these small players can also be connected to Bluetooth speakers.

Most of the audio devices are equipped with a color display that displays pictures and videos. On some models, the display is a touch screen that controls it. Others are equipped with more or fewer buttons that control and adjust the volume. In some cases, it is also possible to use the MP3 player as a voice recorder.

The size of the MP3 player is also a plus for the small, portable companion. Some are just as big as a USB stick. However, most of them only have the basic functions of the MP3 player, while the bigger ones can do a lot more. The advantage of the small, USB large players: they are equipped with a USB plug, so you need to plug the plug into your PC to charge and download songs. Others need to be connected to the computer via the appropriate USB cable.

Many of the featured MP3 players are ” fit for the sport ” because they are equipped with the appropriate technology that intercepts shocks and promises a smooth music enjoyment.

These versions show that MP3 players are so popular because of their versatility. Sure, the phone or smartphone can do it all too. And yet some are more likely to use the MP3 player than the daily companion. The reason is understandable in any case. If you want to relax and not be disturbed, you can relax in a quiet corner with the MP3 player. If the phone rings at the moment, you will not get it. If, on the other hand, you use the mobile phone to play music, then the call to relax and rest is quickly interrupted by a call.

In addition, today’s phones are getting bigger, and in sports – especially when jogging – for some people are a bit disturbing. However, they do not want to give up music while running and in those cases, the MP3 player is a good alternative.

How do the MP3 players work?

Based on the MP3 technology, the little companions stand for the era of portable music. The origin of MP3 players in psychoacoustics and it is amazing how old the MP3 format is already. The format has been certified as an ISO standard since 1992, but its roots are in 1987. The MP3 format was developed as an audio compression method by scientists at the “Frauenhofer Institut”.

Compared to CDs, the MP3 players have a very high-speed data transfer, which is due to the bitrate completely trouble-free. The higher the bitrate, the better the sound quality. The bitrate in the popular MP3 formats is between 128 and 160 kilobytes per second, which corresponds to a high quality of the audio signal.

The sampling rate – measured in kilohertz – also plays a role. This stands for the frequency of sampling the analog sound signal. The measurement is digitally separated from each other in points. Again, the higher the sampling rate, the better the sound experience. For most MP3 devices, the sampling rate is between 8 and 48 kHz. The sampling rate of a normal CD is 44.1 kHz.

And audio coding makes it possible to store large collections of music on the small, portable players. Even titles from the Internet can be downloaded to the MP3 player.

This is how the MP3 players are structured

In the MP3 players, a lot of technology is installed in the smallest space. However, the small companions differ only minimally in their functioning, even if they are from different manufacturers, with the color display or without or with Bluetooth or without.

Typical of the MP3 player is that they are small, flat, lightweight and functional. While many of the MP3 devices are made of plastic, there are also some made of aluminum, so the case is a bit more stable. Some of the portable players are additionally provided with a silicone housing to protect the device.

Other components of the player are the display, the memory, a battery, a processor and various ports.

Usually, you can hear the music through earphones or headphones, which are directly connected to the MP3 player. Bluetooth-enabled MP3 players can be combined with other Bluetooth devices and some have a built-in speaker.

In the newer Mp3 players, the display is in color, usually as an LCD display or OLEG display. Some of the players are operated via the display, others with corresponding keys.

The memory of the MP3 devices is either a hard disk or a flash memory. Devices that are equipped with a hard drive often recognize that they are slightly larger. The energy consumption of MP3 players with a hard disk is also higher. In contrast, Flash memory is more expensive, which in turn is reflected in the price of the player. The disadvantage of MP3 players with flash memory: they are more sensitive to shocks and damage.

Generally, the data is stored in compressed form on the MP3 device. The sound is transmitted via a Township, which is the most important part of the portable device. This chip converts the digital information into analog tones. If the Township of high quality, of course, the sound quality is correspondingly high.

Most MP3 players that you can buy are equipped with a rechargeable battery. Only a few of the devices are battery operated, as known from the classic CD players mentioned earlier. Batteries have a much longer life and are also easier to recharge. As a battery in most MP3 devices lithium-polymer batteries or lithium-ion batteries is installed. It distinguishes the long running time and the excellent performance.

What can the portable playback devices do?

If you think that the MP3 players are only intended for playing music, you are wrong. Especially the modern devices can do a lot more – they can even read aloud and record.

  1. Read audiobooks – this is how it works: Some of the MP3 devices – also here in our comparison – can read audiobooks that you have previously downloaded to the device. The device remembers where you stopped the audiobook while reading aloud and resumes at the next start at this point. However, not all MP3 players can use this feature, so be sure to pay attention when buying this device if this feature is important to you.
  2. Play music: Sure, that this is probably the best known “activity” of the MP3 player. And at the same time, you can hear the music everywhere – at home, on the bus, on city strolls or during sports.
  3. Pairing with a loudspeaker or computer: The MP3 player can be paired with a loudspeaker, for example – on some devices via the Bluetooth interface. If the MP3 player does not have these, the connection is made via the corresponding cable. You can play your music as usual, but on the MP3 player and not on the stereo – play. And you can also connect the MP3 devices to the computer and its speakers to listen to music or watch videos. The advantage of combining with other devices is that you only need to load the titles and videos onto one device, not more than once.
  4. Accompany them athletically: A large number of MP3 players are suitable for sporting activities – and not just because of their small, compact size. Monotonous activities can be “accompanied” with music. It has been proven that music increases endurance and motivates one to increase oneself. The clip, which is attached to most MP3 devices, gives you the option to attach the audio player to the clothing. It’s not that easy with a cell phone.

The successors of MP3 – the MP4 and MP5 players

As a so-called successor to the music player MP4 players and MP5 players can be called. So the MP4 player can play MP4 formats – the higher memory form of the music format. As a result, MP5 players can play MP5 formats and many other popular formats. Unlike the MP3 and MP4 players, these are larger because they come with a crystal screen and touch controls.

What should you look for when buying an MP3 audio device?

In general, the MP3 players are small and available in a practical format. And also the low weight stands for the little companion. But in their execution, there are differences and those that you should consider when buying a music player in any case:

  1. Size and weight of the MP3 player: Although they are all pretty small and light, there are still differences. The MP3 players in USB stick format often have no display, the operation is only via the corresponding buttons. This also means that you can use these music players purely for listening to music. If your main use of the player is jogging or walking, this kind, of course, is sufficient.
  2. The display: However, if you want to play pictures and videos with the MP3 player, you should make sure that the device has a display. Ideally, the music player should have a color screen. If you want easy handling, we recommend an MP3 player with a color touchscreen. You only need to touch the small monitor to control the audio device. The search for the right button eliminates this and thus these touch-screen players are more advantageous.
  3. The playback and music formats: The MP3 format is only one music format among many, and therefore the play and music formats play an important role when buying an MP3 player. Common formats include AAC, AXX, WMA, WAV, FLAC, and others. MP3 players that can handle AXX and ACC formats provide the ability to play audiobooks. If you want to watch videos with the small device, then you must make sure that the MP3 player supports the MP4 format.
  4. The size of the memory: MP3 players with a memory size of 8 GB can store about 2,000 music tracks. Many of the models offered can be expanded with a Micro SD card from the storage space so that the MP3 player offers a storage space of up to 128 GB. Some of the players have a built-in 16GB, others have no memory and need to be upgraded with an SD card. And some of the MP3 players cannot be extended at all. Especially the players on which you can store music, audiobooks, e-books, pictures, and videos, need a lot of storage space. Therefore, you should pay attention to the storage options when buying an MP3 player.
  5. The sound and sound quality: These are probably the most important criteria that make up the right MP3 player. Even if the data is stored in compressed form, noise suppression plays a more important role in sound quality. Also, the equalizer affects the sound intensities very positive, as well as the highs and lows. An automatic adjustment of the sound reproduction with your new MP3 player is to be called in any case as recommendable. And the headphones are also important.
  6. Runtime and charging time: Battery powered or with the battery? A question that you must also clarify when buying an MP3 player. Where the portable players with rechargeable battery are the better because they can be easily and quickly recharged. Many MP3 players manage to give you music for about 30 hours. Of course, there are also devices that can show a playing time of 100 hours.
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