Top 10 Portable MP3 Players Guide
Portable players let you take your MP3 and other
digital music anywhere. They've come a long way in the past couple
of years, and the choices can be confusing. Here are some of the
1) Rio Carbon
My top pick is a "mini" hard drive player
with 5GB of space to hold up to 2,500 songs. It's the
lightest in its class and is the best choice for general
portability. However, if you plan to jog or do other
strenuous activities, you should buy a flash memory
player instead. Key features include 20-hour battery
life and support for WMA files so you can load it with
music purchased from Napster, MSN Music and WalMart.
2) Apple iPod
The iPod line of players sets the
benchmark for all hard drive portables. You can't beat
Apple's styling and ease of use. These models support
MP3, WAV and AIFF, but not WMA. The full-size models
come with 15-, 20-, 30- 40- and 60GB of memory, and the
much smaller "mini" has 4GB.
3) Zen Micro
This is Creative's best portable player
so far. It looks and sounds great, and holds 25% more
music than the similarly-priced iPod mini. Weighing 3.8
oz. (108g) and holding 5GB, it fits comfortably in the
hand or shirt pocket. Includes an FM and voice recorder
and syncs calendar, address book, and task list data
from Microsoft Outlook. Plays MP3 and WMA files.
4) Creative MuVo TX FM (256MB)
This ultralight (1.1 oz or 31g) digital
player and voice recorder includes an FM tuner. It
supports MP3, WMA and ADPCM audio formats and records up
to 16 hours with its built-in microphone. The small size
makes it very suitable for jogging and other physical
activity. The "Compare Prices" link is for the 256MB
version, but the player is available in 128MB, 512MB and
1GB versions, too.
5) Rio Forge Sport
This player is designed for sports use
and fits comfortably in the hand. Plays MP3 files as
well as protected WMAs used by online stores such as
MusicMatch and WalMart. It includes an FM tuner,
stopwatch, alarm, and earbuds designed for athletic use.
It can also be used to store data, since it shows up as
an extra drive in Windows. Runs for up to 20 hours on
one AAA battery. Available in 128MB, 256MB or 512MB, and
memory can be expanded with SD/MMC cards.
6) Panasonic SL SV570
If you want to carry your digital music
around but don't have much money, consider this CD
model. The SL SV570 plays regular, MP3, and WMA CDs. If
you have a computer with a CD burner, you can create MP3
or WMA disks that will play as long as 10, 20 or more
music CDs. This unit packs a lot of features for the
money and includes a digital tuner with 30 presets.
Unlike most units, it plays AM as well as FM.
7) iRiver iFP-790T
This versatile 256MB flash Player from
iRiver can play MP3, WMA and ASF files, and is one of
the few to support Ogg Vorbis, a popular open-source
alternative to MP3 and WMA. You can record from the FM
radio, the built-in mic, or through a line-in jack.
That's a lot of features for a 2.2 ounce (62g) device.
Archos isn't as well known as most
brands, but was actually the first manufacturer to make
portable hard drive players. This link takes you to
their full line, ranging from a basic 6GB model to a
ones which can record pictures and video.
9) Rio Nitrus
The first MP3 player to feature an
integrated 1-inch hard drive instead of the 1.8-inch
drive found in devices such as the Apple iPod. This
makes for a very compact and light unit. Its 1.5GB
capacity is far smaller than other hard drive players,
but its price makes it very attractive.
10) RCA Lyra RD1080
This lightweight player comes with 128MB
of flash memory and a built-in FM radio tuner. Memory
can be expanded with SD/MMC cards.