MP3 Players: Finding The Right One For You

Want to rock out on the move? Want to drone out and relax on the beach to your favorite jams? People have been doing just that for quite some time but only recently have MP3 players become all the rage. Even before everyone everywhere was sporting those iconic white headphones, music was mobile. Time to take a look back at our roots and figure out how we got from tapes to MP3's. Most importantly, we will also take a look at the best mp3 players and most popular mp3 players.

Music on the go used to be the sole domain of spinning compact discs (CD's) and even spooled magnetic tapes (cassettes). Enjoying mobile tunes back then was cumbersome. The devices were big and clunky and the media was limited in scope of storage and very static in nature (not to mention easily damaged with a bump or scratch). Now, with the advancement of less expensive and denser solid-state storage (sometimes called flash memory) listeners can enjoy tens of thousands of songs anywhere without any removable media. As a result, the supernova of mp3 player popularity has exploded and remained at the center stage of relatively big-ticket consumer electronic purchases.

“Ok,” you might say, “I get it. We're not in the technological dark ages of the 80's and 90's anymore, but what I want is to buy the most awesome, most popular mp3 player at the best price possible.” Alright, let us have a look. The three major players in the US mp3 market are Apple, Microsoft, and SanDisk. Their products are iPod, Zune, and Sansa respectively. Other manufacturers to note would be Archos, Creative, and any other budget Chinese brand out there (like Coby). At the time of this writing, 9 of the 10 best selling mp3 players on Amazon.com all begin with the letter “i” and are made by a computer company named after a red fruit. I think we all know what I am talking about here: The iPod! Love it or hate it, it is the #1 selling personal electronic device of all time. People would attribute this trend to many things, perhaps it is just the feeling people get and the image they exude when they have an iPod. Others may claim it is because they are just so easy to use. Whatever the case may be this market dominance by Apple and the iPod is indisputable. If you want the most popular mp3 player, it is hands down the Apple iPod.

For some, there may be more to consider than just device recognition in public. Establish what matters to you most given these factors: price, ease of use (usability), form factor (how it feels in your hand/pocket), storage capacity (how many songs and at what quality for example 128 kbps is just barely radio quality), software used for device management and syncing, video capability, aesthetic quality (do you like how it looks and how others see you when you have it) and finally, what song and video file types are accepted.

Apple's iPod and Microsoft's Zune will be the most expensive. The Zune features Wi-Fi synchronizing which is nice, but most people prefer to use Apple's iTunes for syncing over Windows Media Player (Zune only). If you get a Zune, you are stuck with WMP. Using the criteria above should assist in your search for the ultimate mp3 player. There are many mp3 players, Apple's are the most popular mp3 players and it is up to you to decide what are the best mp3 players.

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