In addition to finding the best MP3 player, you should also be on the lookout for the best wireless headphones, earbuds and noise-cancelling headphones to truly enhance your audio listening experience. In fact, there's a surprisingly robust market for devices that primarily play music. Today's top MP3 players need to support a wide range of codecs, with high-resolution bitrates and sampling rates. New York, It offers up to 12 hours of battery life. Or it could be those who simply want to work out to music. If you're looking for a Sony Walkman that comes with a nice screen and physical buttons, the Walkman NW-E394 is the way to go. Now smartphones can cover communication, productivity, gaming, social networking, photography, and still play MP3s and streaming music. For the most part, the people who will actually benefit from a portable music player in 2019 probably all have a few key traits in common: They buy music files, they prefer high-quality file formats, they rarely use streaming services (except for maybe Tidal), and they likely have some very nice wired headphones. The iPod started with a hard drive, a spinning wheel, and an unimpressive screen, and evolved from there until Apple's next big game changer, the iPhone. The, Even the iPod touch is a couple hundred bucks, however. The HiFiMan SuperMini is a far more affordable option at $399, Sony still churns out various Walkman models (now all-digital devices, not portable cassette players) that do a serviceable job of reproducing audio, and the $299 Activo CT10 is a solid player. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. In other words, the MP3 player in 2019 is a device for audiophiles. He specializes in reviewing audio products, and is obsessed with headphones, speakers, and recording gear. Key specs Display size: 2.4 inches | Storage: 16GB | FM tuner: No | Rated battery life: 12 hours | Size: 2.5 x 0.6 x 3.9 inches | Weight: 4.32 ounces. Even some of the most audiophile-friendly portable media players might not have quite enough amplifier power to work well with high-impedance headphones, so make sure to check the specs (although you're safe with the two models listed above). The question is whether you need one, and if so, which is the best MP3 player to buy? To quickly answer the question of whether you should buy a dedicated MP3 player, the answer is: Maybe. Key specs Display size: N/A | Storage: 4GB | FM tuner: No | Rated battery life: 12 hours | Size: 5 x 2 x 7.44 inches | Weight: 1.13 ounces. And at $59, it's one of the more affordable options available. Best of all, it offers 18 hours of playback on a single charge. With that in mind, perhaps there's never been a better time to invest in what is essentially a portable hard drive with audio connectivity and playback capabalities—and a time capsule and safeguard for your music. Regardless of which model was truly first to market, the 1998 Rio PMP300 was, for all intents and purposes, the first MP3 player of importance. Best MP3 Players 2019 By Don Reisinger 28 May 2019 If you want a device for listening to music on the go and don't want to use a phone, these are the best MP3 players available. Some models come with microSD slots now, so you can swap out cards loaded with music and essentially determine what the storage capacity is on your own. The company didn't need to do much, though, as the iPod touch is still most popular and prominent MP3 players on the market. © Apple isn't doing much to change its device, outside of upgrading its CPU to the A10 Fusion chip and providing a 256GB storage option. If you want a device for listening to music on the go and don't want to use a phone, these are the best MP3 players available. Just note that the display is on the small size at 4 inches. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. They aren't particularly rugged devices, with the exception of waterproof, For the most part, the people who will actually benefit from a portable music player in 2019 probably all have a few key traits in common: They buy music files, they prefer high-quality file formats, they rarely use streaming services (except for maybe, Chances are you don't remember the first MP3 players on the market—either because you weren't alive, or because you didn't own one. If you really just want a budget, portable MP3 player, SanDisk still makes its tiny Clip lineup, including the $35, How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad, How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill, How to Find Free Tools to Optimize Your Small Business, How to Get Started With Project Management, Have One of These Old Sonos Speakers? This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. © 1996-2020 Ziff Davis, LLC. It may be hard to believe, but more than a decade after the iPhone started killing the iPod and people turned to their smartphones for music, MP3 players still live on. FLAC support and a pretty good DAC in a tiny package for $50. gasp! People still use MP3-only players? Then along came the Apple iPod in 2001 to redefine and popularize the concept of the MP3 player. I tried to grab another one when they announced the discontinuation but I missed. Today's top MP3 players need to support a wide range of codecs, with high-resolution bitrates and sampling rates. The device is technically earbuds and an MP3 player in one, but since it  comes with only 4GB of space, you'll be able to store only up to 500 songs on it at any time. The target audience ranges from children who might not be ready for a smartphone to older people who might not want to deal with a full-fledged handset. If $1,000 and up is out of your budget, there are still some high-quality portable music players worth considering. PCMag Digital Group. Your subscription has been confirmed. But it's also one of the smallest, with a tiny 1-inch display and physical buttons that let you quickly jump between tracks. To quickly answer the question of whether you should buy a dedicated MP3 player, the answer is: Maybe. A quality portable music player will be able to load most lossless formats, like AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, OGG, and WAV. Yes, they can also play lossy MP3s, which can still be fairly high-quality depending on their specs. It's a whole lot easier than carrying a huge phone around to get broken. Regardless of which model was truly first to market, the 1998, In 2019, the best portable media players for music lovers are far more similar to the original MP3 players than they are iPhones. The MP3 player, along with Napster, was viewed as the downfall of the recording industry, and even Metallica got involved in lawsuits that now seem quaint, if not ridiculous, in an era when music is more often subscribed to than actually purchased and owned. If you're looking for a gym-friendly music source, it's hard to make a truly compelling argument for MP3 players. Despite streaming services taking over how we listen to music, the MP3 player is still alive and well in 2019, in concept if not name (portable music player makes more sense). Key specs Display size: 1.8 inches | Storage: 8GB | FM tuner: Yes | Rated battery life: 35 hours | Size: 3.6 x 1.7 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 1.44 ounces. Key specs Display size: 1 inch | Storage: 8GB | FM tuner: Yes | Rated battery life: 18 hours | Size: 0.6 x 1.6 x 2.6 inches | Weight: 0.8 ounces. The device starts at $199 for 32GB of space. Music lovers with huge digital libraries of high-quality files have been more or less forgotten about by the phone and tablet makers, with a few niche exceptions. But ultimately, you get what you pay for with modern music players—it's a category ruled by serious features and practicality, not superficial style and status. Yes, Apple still offers the iPod touch, which is, For audiophiles, the question becomes: What kind of file support do you need? If you really just want a budget, portable MP3 player, SanDisk still makes its tiny Clip lineup, including the $35 Clip Jam and the waterproof $50 Clip Sport Plus. At $40, the SanDisk Clip Jam is one of the more affordable MP3 players available. And if you're willing to spend some serious dough to get your lossless audio in a portable player that works with your awesome headphones in this era of headphone jack-less phones, then yes, you probably want to consider a dedicated portable music player. It has a small, 1.4-inch display for viewing album artwork and other content and physical buttons that will allow you to quickly change songs, pause playback and more. The question is whether you need one, and if so, which is the best MP3 player to buy? But for those of you who also want to listen on high-end audiophile or studio headphones, it's about more than just storage and file compatibility. Physical buttons on the front control playback. I've got an iPod Shuffle I wear when I'm cutting grass and working out. If you use our links to buy, we may get a commission. Of course, a great MP3 player isn’t complete without a trusty headset. Key specs Display size: 1.8 inches | Storage: 16GB | FM tuner: Yes | Rated battery life: 35 hours | Size: 3.6 x 0.4 x 1.7 inches | Weight: 1.38 ounces. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and features support for various high-quality music formats, though it's also a gateway to the massive iOS app ecosystem you get on iPhones. Tom's Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. With smartphones and tablets occupying the space in pockets and bags that was once reserved for iPods, the MP3 player has adapted to become a very different beast for a very specific kind of user. Sony's Walkman NW-E395 is similar to the NW-E394, but has one major advantage over the alternative: double the storage. A good music player should also be able to handle 24-bit tracks with at least 48kHz sample rate (and ideally, much higher). Best MP3 player 2020: TechRadar's guide to the best portable music players. This article is an epic fail, since it didn't include any Fiio players. Best MP3 Players for 2020. Apple Will Fix It for Free, Corsair's Latest Headset Is Packed With Tactile Feedback, Apple Discounts Its EarPods and Power Adapter After Removing Them From iPhone Boxes, The Best Bluetooth and Wireless Speakers for 2020, The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Running, The Best True Wireless Earbuds for Running, AirPod Alternatives: The Best True Wireless Earbuds for 2020, First Listen: Spatial Audio on the AirPods Pro, Studio Wishlist: Top Picks for Offbeat Home Recording Gear, Holiday Travel Survival Kit: Audio Gear to Help You Block Out Noise, Distractions. Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews. Options like the $1,500, But for those of you who also want to listen on high-end, If $1,000 and up is out of your budget, there are still some high-quality portable music players worth considering. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, The Best MP3 Players. And if you want to listen to the radio, it also comes with an FM tuner. It comes with 16GB of storage, allowing you to store up to 4,000 songs for listening on the go. 9 Best … For audiophiles, the question becomes: What kind of file support do you need? They aren't particularly rugged devices, with the exception of waterproof earphones with built-in storage, like the JBL Endurance Dive. The A10 Fusion chip will make those apps sing a little louder, as augmented reality app support is a marquee new feature. Even the iPod touch is a couple hundred bucks, however. The device has an 8GB drive, which means it can carry up to 1,000 songs. Still use MP3 player. The player can store up to 4,000 songs, and with 35 hours of playback on a single charge, there's plenty of juice inside the device to keep you listening to music throughout the day. Options like the $1,500 Astall & Kern Kann Cube do just that. It sold quite well, and the RIAA panicked, fearing that devices like the Rio would be used to share "stolen" files. PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. Of course, there's also the $199 iPod touch, which is the most popular MP3 player by name, though it's the least like the rest of the portable music players discussed here. Well technically the iPod Touch doesn't have an FM tuner and an app won't magically add an FM tuner to the iPod Touch, but you can always download a streaming app and stream the stations over the internet. https://www.pcmag.com/news/whats-the-best-mp3-player. Swappable storage is also a consideration. Memory space is a very important aspect for selecting the right MP3 Player, same as when it comes to choosing a flash drive.What you want to look for is a player that has large enough memory storage to fulfill your needs, depending on the reason for which you are buying the product itself. Yes, there are still portable music players in 2019, and we don't just mean the iPod touch. Chances are you don't remember the first MP3 players on the market—either because you weren't alive, or because you didn't own one. In 2019, the best portable media players for music lovers are far more similar to the original MP3 players than they are iPhones. In addition to an FM tuner, the NW-E394 comes with a big battery that delivers up to 35 hours of playback on a charge. Key specs Display size: 4 inches | Storage: 32GB to 256GB | FM tuner: With App | Rated battery life: 40 hours audio, 8 video | Size: 4.9 x 2.3 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 3.1 ounces. But if you're simply looking to untether your music library from your smartphone, a more affordable model should fit the bill just fine. I still have an ipod classic from the final generation with an mSATA (there are adapters) installed to replaced the hard drive that died a few years ago. Expect up to 40 hours of battery life during audio playback. Sony says that the wearable is waterproof and sweatproof, so you can wear it while you work out. You Can Get a Discount on a New One, Getting Static or Crackling in Your AirPods Pro? This means the relatively low-power jacks on smartphones can't coax much sound out of these headphones, because they're expecting much more power to drive the signal. The best MP3 players to take your music on the go. By Christian de Looper, Olivia Tambini 17 November 2020. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time. It's a fantastic device for kids who want to watch Netflix, play games, and keep in touch with their friends, though it's less compelling as a dedicated device for audiophiles. With its design, feature set, streaming app support, and that excellent touchscreen, it's extremely well priced, and is actually one of the best value propositions on our list, especially if you're primarily concerned with audio quality. Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. 9 Best Powered Speakers in 2020. Cyber Monday deals: see all the best offers right now. Keep an eye on your inbox! The SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is a diminutive device that's compact enough to clip to your clothes and is water-resistant. Note: We have curated the list of some of the apps for Windows 10 and older versions.Please note that the names aren’t mentioned in any order of preference. Sadly, I don't use it as much as I used to as my Crosstrek doesn't get along with a classic ipod as well as the aftermarket system in my old Mazda 6 did (it does cooperate well with thumb drives though). A quality portable music player will be able to load most lossless formats, like AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, OGG, and WAV. Sony's Walkman Wearable is an attempt by the company to bring back the MP3 player of old and combine it with the wearables people want. Pioneer has boosted its audio performance with hi-fi support to help justify its lofty price. So I got a Fiio M3 instead. So long live the MP3 player—just don't call it an MP3 player. Here are the best MP3 players you can buy in 2020. These are the best MP3 players for your money right now. Yes, there are still portable music players in 2019, and we don't just mean the iPod touch. Visit our corporate site. Key specs Display size: 1.4 inches | Storage: 16GB | FM tuner: Yes | Rated battery life: 20 hours | Size: 2.60 x 1.74 x 0.68 inches | Weight: 1.28 ounces. Yes, they can also play lossy MP3s, which can still be fairly high-quality depending on their specs.