Things to Consider when Buying an MP3 Player

MP3 players are wonderful technological devices. They’re extremely light-weight and allow us to carry our favorite music with us no matter where life takes us. From a jog around the neighborhood to a drive across the country, our MP3 players can keep belting out the tunes. There’s an overwhelming amount of MP3 players on the market. As a consumer, how can you select the correct MP3 player? Here are some tips.

When selecting a new piece of technology (including MP3 players) there are several things to keep in mind. The first item on the mental to-do list is determining a budget. Generally speaking with MP3 players, you get what you pay for. More expensive MP3 players will usually offer more features or hold more songs. Determine a soft target price range and a hard price limit. The soft target price range will help guide you through the sea of MP3 players on the market. The hard price limit will help control impulse buying.

The second thing to do when buying an MP3 player is to figure out how much technology you really need. Do you only need something that will play music? Do you want something that will play video and music? Do you like your music organized and do you want to be able to create playlists? Do you need a catch-all device that will play videos, play music, act as a PDA, and replace your cell phone?

If you’re having difficulty figuring out what features you want, then think about how you’re going to use the MP3 player. Will you be using it in the car and do you take long road trips? If this applies to you, then you’ll want to make sure you select an MP3 player that can be charged while it is in use. Is this new purchase going to be a primary MP3 player or a secondary one that you take with you on bike rides? If you’re selecting a primary MP3 player, then you may want more features or the ability to create playlists. Playlists are a way of organizing a list of songs. Some people may organize songs by artist or genre. Other people may organize songs by mood or something simple like “road trip music”. If this is a secondary device to be used during a workout, then the ability to create playlists takes a backseat to the dimensions of the device.

After you determine the features that you need and your budget, you’re ready to start browsing for an MP3 player. At this point, you need to debate the specifics of each device.

What is the capacity of the device and is it too much or too little for your needs? Each song held on an MP3 player is a file. The size of the file depends upon the quality of the file and the length of the song. Due to all of the variables, it’s difficult to pinpoint how many songs can be held inside of one gigabyte of space. Many people estimate that one gigabyte of space will hold anywhere from 150-300 CD quality songs. That sounds like a lot of music, but a majority MP3 player owners often fill their devices before they realize it. Most people will place a song on their player and leave it there long after they’ve stopped enjoying the song. Instead of removing old music, they keep adding new music. If you’re deciding between a group of devices that are otherwise equal, it’s usually best to select the one with the higher storage capacity.

Does the MP3 player use proprietary software? Some MP3 players are simple plug and play. You connect the device to your computer usually with a USB cord and you can drag and drop the songs you want onto the player. Some devices require special software to load the device. Sometimes this special software requires a subscription fee. There are benefits to this type of software as they can be really easy to use or can connected you to a database of music that you can legally download directly to your device.

Does the MP3 player require special cords? Some players connect to a charger or the computer through a standard USB cable. Some have special cables unique to the player. This can make things difficult when you lose a cord.

Does the MP3 player have a standard headphone jack? Typically headphone jacks come in two sizes: 3.5mm and 2.5mm. 3.5mm is the standard size. Additionally, some devices don’t have a volume control on the device itself and rely upon the in-line volume control on the headphones. This can make replacing headphones difficult.

Most people keep their MP3 players for a very long time. With a little thought, you’re sure to make a purchase you’ll enjoy for years.