Choosing Your MP3 Player

by Helena Enteerha

Even though the MP3 Player is a great innovation to our society, it can be confusing to a lot of people. It’s also important to understand everything you can about this gadget, so you can enjoy everything it has to offer. There are tons of them out there, but several only offer mediocre quality. Others double as video players, have high tech audio functions, and can even record. Older versions that just played music are becoming a thing of the past.

Playing music is just one of the many features you can find on the Apple iPod. In fact, they are so far ahead of everyone else, some of the benefits aren’t found on other units. Simplicity of use is perhaps their biggest feature, and it took some time before other companies were able to challenge them in usability. Using an iPod is as simple as downloading songs, and playing them for your enjoyment.

While the iPod may be the main (perhaps only) brand name that first comes to mind when discussing MP3 players, there are several others out there. There’s even cheaper “knock-offs” from smaller companies that are out there, but these don’t offer all the benefits. Due to legalities in the industry, these companies stick with just giving their consumers the ability to play music. The bigger companies look at the big picture.

Another thing to think about is the battery life. Most of the cheaper models will use triple As, which fade out quickly. In today’s world most of the models will use rechargeable lithium ion batteries. What it will come down to is whether or not you want to purchase batteries every month or just recharge the unit.

One of the most important, but overlooked MP3 player basics is the durability. People will often flock to a new product because it has a certain feature, but they will not wait and see how it holds up to user tests. This can often result in buying a fragile product that can be damaged very easily. Replacing your player in two months is not something you want to have to do because of poor craftsmanship.

This happens very rarely with major name brands and outlets, but cheaper companies and stores cut corners where they can. This is why it’s best to do your research before committing to buy any particular player. The Apple iPod for example is subjected to various manufacturer tests before being allowed on the market. You can still break it if you try, but it won’t break from general usage.

You’ll want to take the button layout of the player into consideration. Try to avoid models from smaller companies that just have a mere two buttons – these are often bottom of the barrel products that are just asking for problems. The iPod Shuffle is a bit of an exception, as it’s a quality player with a very simple interface, and is quite cheap compared to other iPods.

What it comes down to is you just need to do a bit of research before purchasing an MP3 Player. Whether you are looking at the functions, checking the life of the battery, or wondering about the durability, the info can be found fairly quickly nowadays. If you don’t have the time or don’t feel like dealing with the hassles, then just purchase an Apple iPod. The Shuffle is cheap (starts around $50) but has no visual display, while the Nano (around $140) is a great player with a natural interface. The Classic (around $230 and up) has a larger display, and the Touch ($200 and up) has Internet access where Wi-Fi is available. You can also find new units of the previous generation pretty easily, and get a 10% or higher discount on those prices.

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