Guide To Buying An MP3 Player – Types Of MP3 Players

If you’re having a difficult time deciding on the right MP3 player for you or a family member, don’t fret. I know how you feel. And I’m here to help. I’ve put together this buying guide for MP3 players to help you decide which player best suits your needs. Over the coming days, you and I will cover everything you need to know and make the right decision for you and contrary to what my regular readers may already be thinking, that choice might not automatically be an iPod.

Before we start talking about specific models, let’s begin our discussion by covering all of the different types of players. Each type will have different benefits for you, and have its own drawbacks as well. But with the many different types of MP3 players available, you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.

One more note of interest, most MP3 players will play other formats. These formats include but are not limited to WMA, OGG, AAC, and others.

Hard Drive based players

If you’re the type of person that has to have a manor house in the British countryside to house your collection of records and CDs (yes, former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman is that person), you’ll probably need a hard drive based MP3 player. Hard drives at this point in time run anywhere from 20GB up to 80GB in the current top of the line iPod model. That 80GB will let you pack around about 25,000 songs in your pocket on average, which is much better than packing around that many CDs worth of songs.

Pros: All of your music is with you everywhere you go. Many of these bigger players also offer video capability and are far cheaper per gigabyte than the smaller models. Hard drive players give you the best bang for your buck in the overall scheme of things.

Cons: Since these players have basically a laptop hard drive in them, they are bigger and heavier than the rest. Hard drives have to spin to read the information, which means moving parts, which means less battery life. The batteries for these players generally require you to send them back to the manufacturer if they need to be replaced as well.

Micro Hard Drive based players

These players are the in-betweeners. These models offer the best of both worlds by using a smaller hard drive than their big brothers with a larger capacity than many of the Flash based players. Players such as many of the Creative products can’t store as much as the big iPod, but they are a lot lighter.

Pros: Smaller and lighter than full hard drive based players. Song capacity is higher than many flash based players for the same price.

Cons: Many of the same drawbacks as their larger cousins. Moving parts make for shorter battery life than smaller, flash based players. Also, any player with a hard drive inside is not the best choice if you plan on taking your tunes along with you to the gym. You don’t want to jar that hard drive around while you’re doing that last mile on the treadmill.

Flash memory based players

Flash memory based players originated the craze. Long before the iPod, small flash based players were available from Creative, SanDisk and other manufacturers. Ranging in size from the 512MB player from SanDisk and the 1GB iPod Shuffle, to the 8GB iPod Nano. Flash players provide the most versatility in design and choice.

Pros: Tiny. Miniscule. Ridiculously small. Take a look at the newest iPod Shuffle. It’s as small as a matchbook. And forget about moving parts. There are none. These players are solid-state, so you can move and jump and hop around all you like, these guys don’t care.

Cons: Flash based players are the most expensive per-gigabyte of any player. And some of us with fat fingers and bear paws for hands have a hard time using the controls.


The CD player still lives, but now you can burn a disc with MP3s and carry about 10 times the amount of songs on a disc as a traditional player. And you can still play standard CDs as well.

Pros: Cheapest way to go for most folks.

Cons: Big, bulky, ugly, totally not cool. CDs are so dull and boring at this point. Resort to this choice only if you wish to have no social life whatsoever. Just walk into a room with one of these guys strapped to your side and listen for the snickers to begin.

Post time: 06-20-2017