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: 128GB (expandable via microSD card slot)
- Battery Life: N/A
- Wireless Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6
- Other: 6.1-inch OLED display, Waterproof, Android OS
The audio jack-toting Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone is also an awesome audio player. Like the brand’s greatest media players, it can deliver an amazing sonic experience from any content — from your personal collection to the best streaming services.
Sony’s smartphone can even make your old MP3 files sound better. It is compatible with hi-res audio (both wired and wireless), as well as Sony’s immersive 360 Reality Audio format.
The Xperia 5 III is also an excellent 5G Android phone with a fast chip, a captivating OLED display, and a stellar triple camera. A bigger and pricier Sony Xperia 1 III with similar capabilities is also available.
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.