Thursday, March 1, 2007

Mp3 Player Shopping Guide

MP3 players are definitely not a one-size-fits-all product. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, use different types of memory, and support different formats. You should choose the player that both meets your needs and suits your personality. A player can have every feature in the world, but if the design doesn't match your lifestyle or if the interface is impenetrable, you still won't enjoy it. Though the first MP3 player used flash memory, it was the hard drive that really drove the digital audio player up the ranks of the digital jukeboxes. The cost per megabyte for hard drives today is still far cheaper than flash memory.

MP3 players come in two major storage flavors--flash memory and hard drive. Common sense would tell you to get a hard drive version if big storage is what you crave for, and flash if something small swings to your beat. More advanced models have integrated video inputs and support real time encoding, making them a potential VHS recorder replacement. Others have a similar feature set to a palmtop computer or PDA thanks to their operating system and application support. These portable media players are really more than just an mp3 player.

Most likely, a high-capacity, hard-drive-based player can accommodate every song you've ever purchased. Hard drives run from 10GB on up, and large players such as the 60GB Apple iPod can hold around 17,000 songs, assuming an average file size of 3.5MB per tune.

Most MP3 players display title and artist information about the song that's playing. Most have a backlit LCD for reading in the dark. Many high-end hard disk players have a colour TFT LCD screen for song info and for viewing your digital photos.

Storage Space
MP3 players have good storage capacity and we can store audio files according to their memory capacity. The following are some of the standard memory units used by most of the players.

Hard disk MP3 players have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which typically last up to four years, though this varies from make to make. Other types of player use AA or AAA batteries, and some have an internal rechargeable cell.

Key features:-

• If the intention is for the MP3 player to double as a mass storage device as well, it makes sense to get a player with a built-in USB jack.

• There are huge differences between mp3 players in terms of size and weight. Players range in weight from around 40 grams for small integrated memory players to over 300 grams for a large multimedia player.

• What's the battery life like? Batteries would ultimately have to be replaced in the end. So it's best to buy an MP3 player with a long playback time. A good bet would be in the realm of 18 hours or more. Sony's MP3 players are renown for a rated battery life of up to 50 hours.

• A remote control offers usability advantages, especially for hard drive and multimedia players which are usually impractical to take in and out of your pocket. The remote controls for MP3 players can either be compact and limited to just the essential functions, or feature rich and equipped with a small LCD screen displaying track information.

Optional Extras
Radio: FM radio reception is more common on Flash MP3 players than in the more common hard-drive models. Some even feature FM recording and presets.

Remote control: A control area in the middle of the headphone cord is useful for larger hard disk MP3 players that you can keep in a bag. Some players come with a infra-red card remote control.

Voice record: Some MP3 players have a small internal microphone - great for conversations or lectures, but not for high-quality music recording. These can be used as dicta-phones. The analog voice is compressed in any of the audio compression formats and stored in the player.

By: Vinay Choubey

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