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The humble CD was invented way back in the 80s. High time we ditch those archaic media and switch to electronic storage right? A good MP3 or MP4 player these days is much more than just that. These little devices are multifunctional power tools too. Many have FM (with recording), ability to view photos, videos, function as a dicta phone and as portable storage. The market is flooded with options (including Chinese ones) of different types, brands, memory capacities, features and prices. And this is exactly the reason why this buying guide should help you.
The basic requirements :
A media player is actually and definitely not one-size-fits-all. Available in different shapes and sizes, these players make use of different types of memory and supports varying formats. So the idea is to realize your requirements as well as the budget, and then buying the suitable media player. Broadly, the market showcases a slew of media players comprising a PMP with huge storage space to accommodate voluminous data like music, videos, pictures etc. Apart from this, if you want something light and small, you can get a flash-based player, which is more durable, smaller and longer lasting. Moreover, Hard drive-based players will give you more megabytes per rupee that you spend.
If you’re looking to take along your MP3 player for your morning jogs and warm up exercises in the gym, a flash-based player would be ideal since they don’t skip a beat, are resistant to shocks and temperature variations and easy to carry owing to their smaller size. Moreover, they are engineered to offer comfort with no moving parts and battery backup to look for. Some examples of small flash based players are the Creative Zen Stone Plus, iPod Shuffle, Samsung U3, i river iFP-899, Dune HD and San disk Sansa Clip Buying Guide. To make sure that you sweat out without hassles, the player is designed in such a way that they can be clipped onto a piece of clothing or be strapped on your arm for your daily workout.
Adding something novel to the list is the new Sony NWZ-W250 series, which is also apt for people looking for something voguish while sweating out. The series comes with new and improved water-resistant exterior and design, making it comfortable while exercising. Moreover, the player comes in wearable style and is completely free from tangled wires, hence giving utmost comfort and less stress while working out.
There are larger flash-based players with color screens that can display photos, text and video too. For example the Philips Go Gear SA1ARA08, Samsung Ye pp T10, San disk Sansa View, and the Apple iPod Na-no.
Music enthusiasts who have an extensive music collection can opt for a 80GB or 120GB player like the Apple iPod Classic, Creative Zen Vision M or Microsoft Zuni. These players usually have bigger screens, extra features like games, Wi-Fi and organizer and feature a longer battery life to keep you company on long journeys.
Spanning across the slew of portable media players with memory up to 80 GB, one can come across Arc hos 605 Wi-Fi PMP and Arc hos 704 Wi-Fi PMP. The versions lie mid-way between a PC and a TV, helping in streaming of content from PC to the PMP. Other versions also support recording of TV programmers and songs as well as videos.
How much storage?
You’ll always need more, is something you should remember. Get the maximum storage space that you can afford, and if the player has a card slot to further expand the memory, nothing like it! If you have a larger memory capacity, you carry a larger number of files, but you can also carry higher quality (high bit-rate) files with ease. Plus the advantage that you can use the extra capacity as portable storage Buying Guide. Generally the thumb rule applied is 1 MB of memory will give you approximately one minute of music playback with standard quality files. If you are going to watch a lot of video on your device, the amount of space you need will do up dramatically.
Not just audio, I want more In addition to music, if image viewing and video play ability is what you need, there are many options with flash-based players now. Almost every flash based player with a large color screen will support popular photo formats and video. Keep in mind that many of these players will not negatively play any video files stored on your PC. You will have to convert them to a smaller size and compatible format using (usually) supplied software.
A 2.5-inch screen is good enough for viewing photos and videos, but the larger the better. The Apple iPod Touch has a 3.5-inch (Diagonal) widescreen and is great for photos and videos. You can also install apps on it and use it like a PDA. If you really want power and flexibility, go for the Co-won A3 which comes with a huge Buying Guide 4″ T FT-LCD display, supports almost all the formats, has TV-out and direct line in recording from any video source. Even the Creative Zen Vision W has a bigger 4.3″ high-res screen, native Div X support and TV-out.
YouTube today is the need for everyone, be it students, adults, or the older ones. Sometimes, there is the stuff that you want to listen to even when there is no internet. For this purpose, there is an option on YouTube to download those videos offline. Still, if you want to save them in a smaller size so that your device’s storage not affected, you can convert all those videos from YouTube to MP3 Buying Guide format using tools that convert YouTube videos into MP3 format.
Size does matter after all :
Weight, size and in general the form factor of your PMP is a crucial factor. This will dictate how much you carry it around and how useful it becomes, especially if you travel around a lot. There can sometimes be a huge variation in weight (from 30 to 350 gms) and form factor (the size of a thumb to a pack of cards or even bigger)
Can my Lithium-ion go on and on?
Lithium batteries are common among all players and pack in more power. The one worrying trend is the built in, non user-replaceable batteries. The first Creative Zen hard drive players had removable batteries so that you could easily carry a spare or replace it when the time came. Now, if you run out of juice while on the move, you stuck.
If you want a player to function as your complete entertainment center, the choices narrowed down. The Apple iPod Touch has many of the features that a PMP has plus more. It has built in Wi-Fi (so you can configure your email on it, browse the web, watch YouTube videos etc). And thanks to the thousands of apps available in the App Store (both free and paid), you can add on functionality and games, just like you do with a smartphone.