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Sounds Confusing? Mp3 and Mp4 Player Buying Guide

Apr 9, 2008
If you are planning to buy an MP3 or MP4 player, you should take into account its memory capacity, supported formats, accessories and battery. Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, Philips and several other brands are available. Need help choosing the right product? This guide can assist you in picking the best player suited to your needs.

What are MP3 and MP4 players?

MP3 and MP4 players are digital devices that let you take your music and videos with you, wherever you go. You can transfer files from your computer to the player and enjoy them anywhere using headphones or portable speakers and the built-in screen. Use MP3 players to play music and MP4 players to view photos and play videos. These players are convenient to own and easy to use. They provide entertainment for hours on end.

What are the different types of MP3 and MP4 players available for sale?

You can buy various types of MP3 players like flash memory players and hard disk drive players. You have a large selection of MP4 players to choose from as well, including basic models, MP4 players with digital cameras, HDD media players, DivX MP4 players and TV MP4 players.

How many songs and images can a player store?

The number of songs you can store on a player depends upon the memory space available. The memory capacity of an MP3 player ranges from 256 MB to 160 GB. MP4 players have a much higher memory capacity with ranges of 20 GB to 100 GB and above. A 1 GB player can store more than 350 songs and 300 images. Since MP4 players playback video, they have more memory, as videos consume much more space. MP4 players use hard disks for better storage capacity. If you have to store hours of video, opt for an MP4 player with 20 GB of storage, as a minimum. Memory card slots allow you to expand the memory space available in MP3 and MP4 players, so check for them before making your final selection.

What formats do these players support?

Before buying an MP3 or an MP4 player, make sure that it plays the formats you want. An MP3 player supports other formats like AAC (the default format used by iPods), WMA (Microsofts technology), and Atrac (Sonys audio compression technology). MP4 players can play more file formats than MP3 players. The basic MP4 player can support MP4, MP2, MP1, DivX, AVI and WMV video files. They also support audio formats like MP3, WMA and Ogg Vorbis.

What features do MP4 and MP3 players have?

MP4 players come with built-in screens and recording features. Theses players usually include an MP4 conversion software and instructions on how to best encode video content. High-end MP4 players can record audio directly to the memory from an in-built FM radio tuner, line-input or microphone. For added convenience, some players feature an in-built microphone. You can also record TV shows directly from your television and output your saved data to your TV.

Many MP3 players feature backlit screens for better viewing, radios and Wi-Fi capabilities. Wi-Fi enabled MP3 and MP4 players let you download songs and videos from the Internet. Most current models support high-speed USB 2.0 transfer and a few models support FireWire.

Which player is best for you?

If you will use your player only for short durations, then choose a small, compact and lightweight one. Looking for a player to store your entire music collection? Go for players with 30 GB of memory or more. If you intend to use your player on long trips, select among models with lengthy playback times. If you are looking for an MP3 player for sports or working out, you will need an ultra-compact player like the iPod Shuffle or a small flash memory player that clips onto your clothes. Get a compact flash-based player with a pair of noise-canceling headphones if you travel by bus or train.

What accessories are available for MP3 and MP4 players?

There are many accessories available for MP3 and MP4 players. Here is a look at some in detail.


Most Portable Audio or MP3 and MP4 players come with earphones. If you listen to music at work, clip on or wrap around headphones might be more comfortable. Noise-cancellation headphones provide clear sound when your travel. Buy a headphone splitter to share music with a friend.

External Speakers and Docking Stations:

There is a wide range of external speakers available for MP3 and MP4 players. Most of these speakers include docking stations that will recharge your player.

Travel Speakers:

Carry travel speakers with you when you picnic or hit the beach with your friends and family. These speakers use rechargeable batteries.

FM Transmitters:

FM transmitters allow you to transmit songs stored on your player through any radio.


Almost all MP3 and MP4 music devices use a rechargeable battery. You can recharge a player by connecting it to your computer.

AC Adapters:

Many MP3 and MP4 players come with a standard AC adapter to quickly recharge your music device.

Cases and Skins:

Protect your music player from scratches with cases and skins. They come in many different designs and colors, so choose your favorites to personalize your player.


Cradles hold MP3/MP4 players in your vehicle while you drive.


Strap your music player on your arm with an armband. Get one if you plan on exercising with your player often.

Cassette Adapters:

Cassette adapters allow you to play MP3 songs from your portable music player in your vehicles cassette deck.
About the Author
Bob Shanty has been researching and writing articles that help shoppers make more
educated buying decisions on Portable Audio for online shopping
mega store BIGshop for years. For more articles by Bob please visit http://www.bigshop.com.au.
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