Music Players Buying Guide
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Music Players Buying Guide

Most MP3 or music players allow you to enjoy songs, podcasts, audiobooks and radio programmes while on the go. You can plug in earphones and listen privately, or plug your device into a speaker dock to share the love. Find out how to choose the perfect MP3 player for you with our buying guide.
How much memory does my MP3 player need?

One of the most important specifications when choosing an MP3 player is the memory capacity, because this determines how many audio files you can store. Fail to get enough and you’ll have to sacrifice certain files, and won’t have space to expand your library; get too much and you’re unnecessarily paying over the odds.


MP3 players typically come in 8GB (gigabyte), 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. 1GB is equivalent to 1,000MB (megabytes). According to Apple, the typical four-minute song takes up approximately 4MB of storage space. However, figures differ according to the file format: MP3s are typically larger than equivalent AACs, for example.

You can use this as a guide, but the easiest method of calculating your storage needs is checking the size of your existing audio collection. On Windows PCs, simply highlight the relevant files or folder, right-click and select Properties to view the information. Mac users needs to launch Finder, Click Show View Options>as List, and check the Show Columns>Size box.

Remember to always get more than you need as a safety net, and to give your audio collection space to grow.

Do I need an MP3 player with Bluetooth?

Bluetooth MP3 players can wirelessly communicate with certain other Bluetooth devices. The feature is most commonly used to connect to compatible headphones and speaker docks without the need for cables.

What is playback time?

Playback time tells you how long you can listen on a full battery charge. If you frequently fly long-haul or use your device often, a short playback time will be an inconvenience. Remember that videos and other activities will likely drain the battery quicker.

MP3 software

Some MP3 players come with software that helps you manage your audio library. For example, Apple iPod users must organise their music, podcasts and audiobooks through iTunes. This can give you more control over your files, but can be inconvenient — especially if you change devices.

Other devices allow you to use the existing file management system on your computer, such as Windows Explorer. That way, you can simply drag and drop files.

What is the difference between Apple iPods?

Apple Music players

Apple calls its MP3 players iPods, and there are currently four main types: shuffle, nano, touch and classic. There have been several generations of these devices, with each new iteration bringing new features.

The iPod shuffle is a small MP3 player that doesn’t have a screen. The fourth-generation shuffle, which is the most recent model, has 2GB of storage, a clip that makes it wearable, and buttons that allow you to navigate your music collection.

Next on the scale is the 16GB iPod nano, which is currently in its seventh generation. These thin, lightweight devices have a 2.5-inch touchscreen that allows you to use apps including Music, Podcasts, Nike+ fitness, Photos and Videos.

An iPod touch is much like an iPhone, but without the mobile network and calling capabilities. The newest fifth-generation model is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. It boasts a four-inch touchscreen display, five-megapixel camera and App Store compatibility.

The iPod classic, which has an incredible 160GB storage capacity, is in its sixth generation. This has the original click wheel as well as a 2.5-inch colour display.

Got any more questions about MP3 players? The Ebuyer forums could help!

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