Just Make it Work: How to buy an MP3 player

by Meg on December 6, 2010

Just make it work is a series of articles aimed at helping women embrace technology to make their life easier!  Tech for non-tech girls by girls.

Just Make It Work: How to buy an MP3 player

Last Holiday season, I helped my sister-in-law review MP3 players to possibly get her sons.  We talked about a few factors that hopefully can help you as well!

1. Price

She was on a budget as I’m sure many of you are.  If you can afford to spend anything over $140 (the cost of the cheapest Nano) – you should get an iPod.  There is no questioning Apples corner on the MP3 market, but they have good reason.  They put out a great product and you gain access to iTunes.  For the majority out there who want something easy and a TON of music to access, you’ll be right at home with iTunes.  After this I would suggest the Zune store and interface.

If you can’t afford an iPod, I would for sure stick with one of these brands: SanDisk, Zune, Sony, or Samsung.  To get anything besides one of these brands, your risk of having a defunct device with little to no support go way up.

2. Features

It seems rare to find any piece of technology today that does just ONE thing.  Think about what other features you might want.

I would rank the list below for yourself and use that as what are the most important features when you look at MP3 players.

  • A Touch screen
  • Video
  • FM radio
  • Video camera
  • A smaller size to use during workouts or running
  • Works with your car
  • Can hold an address book
  • Can work with files other than MP3’s (such as WMV)

3. Size

If you are curious about rough conversions, here is a great list the explains just how many songs you can get on a device.

  • 2GB stores up to 500 songs
  • 4GB stores up to 1,000 songs
  • 8GB stores up to 2,000 songs or up to 8 hours of video
  • 16GB stores up to 4,000 songs or up to 16 hours of video
  • 32GB stores up to 7,000 songs or up to 40 hours of video
  • 64GB stores up to 14,000 songs or up to 80 hours of video
  • 160GB stores up to 40,000 songs or up to 200 hours of video

4. Research that model number!

Use a site like BestBuy.com or NewEgg.com to browse devices you might be interested in.  Once you find one you like, do an internet search for that device number and reviews (so type: [model number + reviews] and see what people have to say.  Then so a second search that is [model number + does not work].  You can use any sort of negative word you think you might find in a bad review, but this helps counter balance all the good reviews you see too.  Sometimes people are paid to post positive reviews, so it’s good to do the bad review search too.

5. Headphones

I know ear buds are the norm – but they damage your ears.  Seriously consider getting “over the ear” headphones if you plan to use your MP3 player a lot.  Sound advice for the future of your ears.  :)

6. Consider the Music Library Management System/How to get new music

As I stated above, almost everyone knows iTunes and they are somewhat of a juggernaut in the space.  iTunes sways most music charts and so labels give them music consistently.
Other libraries and management systems might lack as much content, but will still get the job done of getting your MP3’s to your player.  Some of them also offer streaming services instead of pay per song.

Check out:
Zune Marketplace
Napster
Rhapsody
Amazon Music

Good luck shopping!!

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