How to buy an MP3 player

The new digital generation has revolutionised the music industry. Not so long ago, listening to music meant either having a huge music system or owning those small walkmans in which you could play a cassette holding 12-15 songs. Next came the portable CD players. But, they were a touch too bulky to carry in your pockets and could also carry a limited number of songs.

The new generation believes 'small is good'. The MP3 players available in the market are so small they can be threaded on a string and worn instead of a necklace. This reduction in size doesn't seem to have affected their storage capacity or sound output though. The iPod shuffle is only 1.07 inches high, 1.62 inches wide, and 0.41 inches deep and it weighs only 15.6 gms. It can still store as many as 240 songs. This allows the listener to easily carry it everywhere. Samsung, Sony, Bose, Zune, Creative, Apple have all come out with Mp3 players.

There are over 15 brands of MP3 players in the market today, giving you a variety of choices - the right style, the right output, the right storage and the right budget. The price for an MP3 player ranges from as low as Rs 700 to as high as Rs 30,000.

If you are on the lookout for an MP3 player, here are a few tips that will help you buy the right thing:

  • Start by deciding your budget. You might have a certain figure in your mind and end up spending up a lot more because persuasive salespeople will keep telling you "The next one is just a little costly"!
  • Storage capacity is most important. One minute of MP3 music requires around 1MB of storage space. Calculate your requirements and make sure you do not end up having to buy another player a few months later.
  • Sound output is again a very important feature of a player. If the sound output is so low that you can listen to music only when you are in a soundproof room, you have obviously got yourself a bad bargain.
  • The life of the battery is crucial. Make sure the battery is good enough to last at least eight-ten hours. The low end players have a battery life of only one to two hours, but would they be of any use to you? That is for you to decide.
  • A few players do not comply with Macintosh computers. Before you buy one, do check that it works well with your computer.
  • Be sure the player controls are easy. There are some players which really need to be understood well before you can use and enjoy them properly.
  • Look for other features also. MP3 players these days come with video players, picture galleries, FM players, etc. Do list your requirements and check properly before you buy a player.
  • Last but not the least, check out various sizes, especially if the size of your MP3 player matters a lot to you. They can be really small and light in weight, and yet fulfill all your other requirements.