MP3/MP4 players buyer's guide
The MP3 totally changed the way we buy and enjoy music and now the MP4 is doing that for video as well.
MP3s and MP4s are types of digital file that enable small portable players to carry hundreds, if not thousands, of songs and hours of video. It helps that these portable devices tend to be small and light, similar in size and weight to a mobile phone, and have enough battery life for hours of playback.
The main requirement is that you have computer with a USB port, although more advanced players (such as the iPod touch) can connect to the internet independently and download music. You’ll also need a desktop or laptop so you can store your music and video files.
Similarly, if you have an audio CD collection and are using Windows® Media Player or iTunes, it’s possible to ‘rip’ tracks to your computer and copy these to your player as well. Alternatively you can buy and download MP3 tracks from online stores, such as www.tescoentertainment.com.
In the MP3 world there are three general designs: the stick, the bar style and the touchscreen.
The stick is the most basic, offering little beyond basic player controls but is the smallest, lightest and cheapest option.
The most common is the bar style, which usually provides a screen for video and hard controls.
At the high-end is the touchscreen model, which is more like a portable computer providing full video, web, app and gaming features as well.
The amount of music and video a player can store is dictated by its capacity. Roughly speaking, most MP3 tracks use 1MB per minute of music. If you say the average track is 4 minutes, then a 1GB (1,000MB) player can store 250 tracks, while a 4GB (4,000MB) player can store around 1,000 tracks.
A screen on a player will make it easier to choose albums, select songs and watch video. However, it also makes it bulkier to carry. Touchscreen devices can also provide advanced features such as apps and games, though this increases the cost.
Other great features
Look out for other features such as: integrated FM tuner, voice recording for taking dictated notes, and data storage for carrying PC files.