MP3 Player Buying Guide

MP3 players are very popular devices that let you listen to music or other audio on the go, but choosing an mp3 player is not an easy task. There are more mp3 players out there than you will know what to think about, and come in a variety of types, from the stand-alone mp3 player to the smartphone app.

Types of MP3 Players

Flash Memory

With a small housing design that uses flash memory to store the audio, this is the most common type of mp3 player on the market. These also have the smallest amount of storage for the audio files, but some utilize an SSD card for extra storage. The more storage capacity on the flash memory mp3 player the more expensive it will get, though this type of mp3 player is generally less expensive than others.

Hard Drive

Hard drive mp3 players are larger and heavier than flash memory mp3 players. They also hold considerably more storage, up to 80 GB. If you are looking for a player that can store your entire audio collection, consider getting a large capacity hard drive mp3 player.

Mp3 CD

Another type of mp3 player is the mp3 CD player. This style of mp3 player plays mp3 files burned from your CD collection to CD-R/RW discs. This player is cheaper than either the flash memory or hard drive mp3 player, but can skip when bumped.


From smartphones to satellite radios, hybrid players contain mp3 player capability but do much more. Hybrid players can have internet radio, an internet browser, games, and so much more on them besides just a mp3 app. A great example of this is Apple's iPod Touch, which can have a great number of apps on it for anything from e-mail to exercise and beyond, but has a music app that plays mp3 files.

Pay Attention to

File format

This is the most important feature of an mp3 player. Unless your mp3 player can play a large range of file formats, it is not very useful. Compatibility with music, video, and photo file formats is the most important. Look for the alphabet soup of file formats on the box; if it only has a few, like mp3 and mpeg, then consider another one instead.


As mentioned above, flash memory mp3 players have the least amount of storage, while hard drive players have the most. You can get an mp3 player up to 80 GB, but you should consider how much you really need because the larger the capacity the higher the price. Make sure you get enough for future audio files, though, as many mp3 players cannot add extra storage through an SD card.

External memory

Depending on the brand, the amount of memory on the SD card or memory stick will vary. They can be as small as one gigabyte and as large as 64 GB. This added storage allows you to have a larger audio collection on your mp3 player and trade out what audio is on your mp3 player based on which SD card or memory stick you have in the player.


While Apple products have iTunes for transferring files and some other products use Windows Media Player, many players come with their own particular type of software for transferring files. The range of software covers easy-to-use software and very difficult software to manipulate. Check the box to see what kind of software comes with the mp3 player and research its features and details before buying the player.


Touch screens are becoming ever more popular, even on the lower priced players. While most do not offer the full function of the iPod, many have partial touch screens that replace physical buttons. In fact, more and more mp3 players are turning to large rand larger displays for clearer and crisper images. With these, you can watch a video without worry of eye strain.

Top Brands and Product Lines


The first iPod Apple released came out in 2001. This company, founded by Steve Jobs, has three player models: the iPod Nano, the iPod Shuffle, and the iPod Touch. The most popular one, the iPod Touch, features a touch screen and can have multitudes of apps on it besides music. Essentially, it is an iPhone without the cellular data plan.


Founded in 1998, Sandisk is a technology company that produces a wide array of products related to memory and music. A popular model of mp3 player is the Sandisk Clip Sport, which was designed with athletes in mind. It can clip to clothing and is lightweight and durable. It has a large LCD screen for easy navigation and starts at a capacity of 8 GB.


Samsung, which means "three stars," was founded in 1938. It started out as a small trading company with forty employees, selling groceries and noodles. Today, it is a huge company that started a computer programming laboratory in 2000. One of its current products is the Samsung Galaxy S7, a smartphone which is a hybrid player. It has a music app and you can buy music from the Google PlayStore. It has 32 GB of storage, but if that is not enough, you can add an SD card up to 200 g, so there is plenty of storage for your audio collection alongside all the apps, photos, and videos you can put on the smartphone.