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Shopping.com Tip: There are many MP3 players on the market today, so making a final decision can be a daunting prospect. How do you best compare MP3 players?
To start, think about how you plan to use your new MP3 player. Are you planning to just use it when you go to the gym? Will you use it in the car to replace your radio? If your answer is yes to both, how long do you work out and how long is your commute?
If you don't require a long playlist, then a 256M or 512M player, like the iPod Shuffle, may be a more cost effective choice for you. If you require a longer playlist, then look for one with an expansion slot for a larger memory card or one that has 20G of built-in memory or larger.
MP3 players are usually categorized into flash memory-based players, which have smaller amounts of memory capacity at a lower cost, and hard drive-based players which are more expensive, but store more.
Next, ask yourself how long you plan to use it between charging cycles. If you are a road warrior or an outdoorsy type, a comparison based on battery life is in order.
Are you the type that is always dropping your cell phone? Some MP3 players are hardier than others, such as the Rio Forge, which is completely encased in rubber.
If you are planning to use your MP3 player as part of a fitness program, another factor to consider is other functions, such as timers and distance monitors. The Philips MP3RUN 256MB Runner's MP3 Player contains both, AND comes in a rugged case.
Be sure to check out MP3 player consumer reviews to make sure there are no hidden "bugs" in the players you have shortlisted.
Last but not least, make sure you listen to each player and compare sound quality as this can vary quite a bit from player to player.