Choosing the Right MP3 Player for You

By: Kathryn Lively

You may be too young to remember, or maybe you do and would rather not, the once familiar scene of somebody walking down the street with a transistor radio pinned to his ear. Back in the seventies, it was quite common to see people bobbing their heads to a beat only they could hear, distracted from the rest of the world. One can imagine how a young person today would find the image ridiculous, as he straps on his MP3 player and goes about his day in the same manner.

From bulky handheld radios, to Walkmans, to iPods, the ability to listen to music on the go has evolved. Meanwhile the devices with which we listen have arguably devolved in size! Amazing to see how a tiny music player barely covers the palm of a baby's hand, yet can hold hundreds of recorded songs! Yet, how do you know which music player is right for you?

The technology of MP3, or streamed MPEG audio, had definitely made life easier for music lovers who want to take their tunes anywhere they wish. Where the traditional portable tape player limited a person to one tape of up to twenty songs, an MP3 player allows the user to listen to as many as a thousand without having to go home for more music! Whether used for jogging, to break the boredom of housework, or to keep the pace going at work, the MP3 player has fast become a necessity. Everywhere you go, you see tiny ear buds connected to thin wires.

Here are some things to consider if you are in the market for an MP3 player:

Price versus Usability

How much are you willing to spend on such a device? Depending upon its capacity and capabilities, players can run from just under a hundred dollars to as much as five hundred. If you consider yourself a nominal user, taking a player out on a daily, hour-long run, you might not need video capability or the need to log in thousands of songs when only a hundred or so would do.

The frequent traveler, on the other hand, may appreciate the MP3 player with built in video options for watching recorded shows, or listening to favorite podcasts, while flying or on a train. Determine your needs and the reality of your use for an MP3 player, and buy accordingly.

Ease and Compatibility

What kind of computer do you own? Is the player compatible with your current platform? You will need a computer to download the music to the player, and you want to be certain the software that accompanies it is user-friendly and doesn't take up too much memory in your hard drive. As you shop for players, as to see demonstrations of as many as possible, and get a feel for how you will be able to operate your player. Find out if there are any warranties involved, and ask about customer support should something go wrong.

Once you have educated yourself with regards to the type of MP3 player you want, you can enjoy your music freely.

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