If you truly care about the sound quality of your music, it’s time to invest in an MP3 player. Unlike today’s smartphones, MP3 players have a built-in audio jack (or a few), and — save for the iPod Touch — easily expandable memory.
To determine the best MP3 players worth buying, we constantly evaluate products from reputable audio brands at various price points — from super affordable to undeniably luxurious. Our picks all play high-res audio, have impressive battery life, and are small enough to slide into your pocket.
- Storage: 64GB (expandable via microSD card slot)
- Battery Life: Up to 20 hours
- Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- Other: 3.6-inch touchscreen, Android OS
Sony‘s Walkman NW-ZX507 is the best option under $1,000. It packs two wired audio outputs, and can also stream high-quality audio over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Just like the Sony NW-A105 Walkman, the NW-ZX507 runs Android, so you can also access apps and streaming services.
The luxe media player has a milled aluminum housing with convenient audio control buttons on its side. Its build also keeps electrical noise out of the acoustic experience.
This MP3 player has plenty of expandable storage and a solid battery life. Its touchscreen is equally handy for browsing through music and navigating apps.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
When shopping for an MP3 player, consider the size and quality of your digital music collection. If you own a lot of music in lossless file formats and don’t want to compromise on audio quality, consider getting an MP3 player with an advanced DAC (digital-to-analog converter). A high-end MP3 player will also improve the quality of the sound from high-impedance headphones.
But if you’re simply looking to untether your music library from your smartphone, a more affordable model should fit the bill just fine.
In addition to the audio hardware and performance, it’s important to consider the amount of available storage an MP3 player offers. You should either consider a product with ample built-in memory, or one with a built-in microSD card slot for easy expansion. Today’s splurge-worthy MP3 players will most likely offer you a combination of both.
Bluetooth connectivity is a must if you plan to use your media player with wireless headphones or earbuds. On the other hand, Wi-Fi-equipped products are all but guaranteed to bring you access to your favorite streaming service. If you are subscribed to one, look for onboard Wi-Fi.
When it comes to wired connectivity, avid audiophiles with vast collections of headphones and earbuds should look for players with more outputs. Such products cost more, but their audio performance and ability to accommodate virtually every wired headset are worth investing in.
Check out these thoroughly researched MP3 players that are worthy of your ever-growing music collection.