Finding the cheapest MP3 player, price comparisons of Apple iPods and Nanos, MP3 player reviews, retailers, hard disk or flash storage.
MP3 Player comparisons
Kelkoo's MP3 players category compares prices from many merchants and are browsable by brand, capacity and price.
For more specific players, see Kelkoo's MP3 players category, which provides comparisons of specific players (Apple Sony and Philips) from a number of merchants.
Cheap MP3 players (digital audio players) from Amazon
Amazon UK are competitive on price and their listings can be browsed by capacity.
Size and Usability
Size and Usability are key with an MP3 player. Size is determined by the amount of storage you need for your songs (see below) and whether you need a large screen to display video. It's advisable to have at least a 4 inch screen to view videos, more if possible, e.g. the iPod Touch has a 4 inch screen. Usability is a personal matter, and I'd recommend trying out your MP3 player before buying.
How much storage do I need for music?
Different encodings have different storage requirements. A recording the length of a pop song requires about 4MB in space (AAC or WMA format songs), so a 16GB player will store about 4000 such songs. Songs recorded in MP3 format take up about 50% more space, so the player will store one third fewer songs.
If you need to store all of your songs on one player, you will need upwards of 10GB of storage (10GB is around 166 albums in MP3 format). Some buyers opt to store fewer songs than this as smaller, more portable players can be bought. If you plan to store many video files, you need more space, as each video can take up to 800MB in space (depending on the quality you encode it at). 32/64GB+ players come into their own if you plan to reasonable size video collections at high quality (see the films and music page).
Storage - hard drive or memory card based?
Manufacturers have to compromise between portability and capacity when building MP3 players.
As portability is such a key issue, many users buy MP3 players with up to 64GB of storage. More storage for songs would make the players heavier and bulkier, and fit less easily into the pocket.
How long does the battery last?
One of the primary concerns when buying an MP3 player is the battery life - how long can you stay way from the mains before you need to recharge. Kelkoo's MP3 players category features specs and numbers on how long a full charge will last for each player. Watching video will reduce your battery life further.
Try out a friend's MP3 player or test a few in a high street store (make a note of the prices of possible players before you go). See whether the interface suits you. It's a trade-off between a player's portability and screen size, which can affect the ease of the interface (it can take a while to find a specific song amongst thousands of tracks).
Using your MP3 player to transport files
Some MP3 players, such as the iPod allow files to be transferred between computers. See the player specifications on manufacturer sites (e.g. Apple, Sony and Philips) for more details.
MP3 player and portable video players
MP3 players are starting to feature video playback and recording. Apple iPods offer good quality video on their small screen, and you can rip your film collection onto your iPod (see the ripping films and music page).
Multimedia (video) players - from video iPods to Mustek and Archos players.
MP3 player retailers
Be aware that extended warranties can be where retailers make most of their money and don't be pushed into buying any unnecessary warranties. New players come with a 1 year manufacturer warranty (which you should be able to extend cheaply with them if you feel it necessary). Modern electrical goods tend to be very durable, and if it does break, you may prefer a new player as MP3 players are regularly superseded by newer models. Don't forget to backup your music collection on a backup external hard disk or online backup service.
MP3 player reviews
The most useful sources of information on MP3 players are review sites.
You can research the players available by looking at the manufacturer's sites (e.g. Apple, Sony etc.).
Increasingly mobile phones perform the function of music and video player, camera, camcorder and ebook reader.
Selling your MP3 player (or buying a second hand MP3 player)
A charger for your MP3 player
If you want to charge your iPod away from your computer you might want to buy a separate mains/car charger:
Software MP3 players for your Computer
Windows PCs come with Windows Media Player, capable of playing MP3 and WMA formats. Apple's iTunes software is available for both Windows PCs and Macs, so even if you have a iPod, you need can play back your tunes on your Windows PC. Macs and Linux machines can also playback MP3 tunes. If you work on a computer all day, you may feel that you don't need a separate MP3 player.
Ripping your CDs, LPs, tapes to MP3 (for your mp3 player, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet)
See the Ripping Films and Music page.
Ripping DVDs and Blu-rays to your iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet
See the Ripping Films and Music page.