What exactly is connectivity? Plainly put, it is the way
your digital audio player talks to your computer so that
it can transfer music files. Though a few players are
beginning to offer the ability to wirelessly transfer
files, your main options at this point will be one of
two: USB or FireWire. Both require connecting a special
type of cable (sometimes included in the packaging, sometimes
not) from your player to your computer. The computer then
recognizes the player and you can begin moving over your
music. The first type of connection option, known as USB,
is the more common one found today and is something supported
by both PCs and Macs. It is also somewhat slower in regards
to how quickly it transfers music from your computer to
the player then the other standard, FireWire. FireWire
however, is primarily supported only on Macs.
of which standard you use, keep in mind that transferring
music can take some time, especially depending on how
many files you want to copy over.
display screen on most digital audio players these days
is tiny. Using the screen is a must though if you want
to see what music is playing, as well as navigating through
options like volume control, song shuffling and the equalizer.
The main things to consider here include making sure you
can see the display under all conditions, including being
outdoors when there is a glare, as well as being able
to read the characters on the screen without going blind.
music is copied onto your computer from a CD or downloaded
from a Web site, the type of file it is saved as can vary.
While it will often default to the .mp3 format, which
is the most widely handled by digital audio players today,
it could also end up as a .wav, .aac, .wma or something
else. The important thing to know from all of this is
to check what types of music files your player supports:
it doesn't help to waste an hour prepping music to transfer
to your player only to realize it’s not compatible
in the first place.
you get your music onto your digital audio player is important
to consider. Most players ship today with some type of
software which will allow you to compile play lists and
copy files. The big question here is: is it easy to figure
out? Does the software provide guided instructions, or
are you left to struggle with a cumbersome help file?
Is the interface easy to navigate, or a cluttered mess
of buttons and words?
you plan on taking your player jogging, or using it as
a supplement to your home entertainment system? This is
a big question to answer because players come in two types
of flavors for storage: hard drive models and flash-based
units. Hard drive models store files in the 1000s and
are great for when you want to kick it with all of your
tunes in your cubicle at work without having to lug dozens
of CDs around. The downside with hard drive units however,
is they tend to have movable parts, which means bouncing
along on the treadmill may make your music skip if your
player doesn't have a memory buffer.
models are small and sleek, usually slipping into your
pocket with no problem. They are great for more active
users and those on the go a lot, but are offset by the
fact that they can't carry more than a few dozen songs
unless you add a usually expensive memory card.
players let you take your MP3 and other digital music
anywhere. They've come a long way in the past couple of
years, and the choices can be confusing. Featuring some
MP3 Player Carbon
This is a "mini" hard drive player with 5GB
of space to hold up to 2,500 songs. It's the lightest
in its class and is the best choice for general portability.
However, if you plan to jog or do other strenuous activities,
you should buy a flash memory player instead. Key features
include 20-hour battery life and support for WMA files
so you can load it with music purchased from Napster,
MSN Music and WalMart.
The iPod line of players sets the benchmark for all hard
drive portables. You can't beat Apple's styling and ease
of use. These models support MP3, WAV and AIFF, but not
WMA. The full-size models come with 15-, 20-, 30- 40- and
60GB of memory, and the much smaller "mini" has
MP3 Player Zen Micro
Creative MuVo TX FM (1 GB)
This ultralight (1.1 oz or 31g) digital player and voice
recorder includes an FM tuner. It supports MP3, WMA and
ADPCM audio formats and records up to 16 hours with its
built-in microphone. The small size makes it very suitable
for jogging and other physical activity. The "Compare
Prices" link is for the 256MB version, but the player
is available in 128MB, 512MB and 1GB versions, too.
offers a great line of MP3 players under Yepp. The Yepp
MP3 player products usually hold under
1 GB of data but have great functions, are lightweight
This player is designed for sports use and fits comfortably
in the hand. Plays MP3 files as well as protected WMAs
used by online stores such as MusicMatch and WalMart.
It includes an FM tuner, stopwatch, alarm, and earbuds
designed for athletic use. It can also be used to store
data, since it shows up as an extra drive in Windows.
Runs for up to 20 hours on one AAA battery. Available
in 128MB, 256MB or 512MB, and memory can be expanded with
If you want to carry your digital music around but don't
have much money, consider this CD model. The SL SV570
plays regular, MP3, and WMA CDs. If you have a computer
with a CD burner, you can create MP3 or WMA disks that
will play as long as 10, 20 or more music CDs. This unit
packs a lot of features for the money and includes a digital
tuner with 30 presets. Unlike most units, it plays AM
as well as FM.
MP3 Player iFP-790T
This versatile 256MB flash Player from iRiver can play MP3,
WMA and ASF files, and is one of the few to support Ogg
Vorbis, a popular open-source alternative to MP3 and WMA.
You can record from the FM radio, the built-in mic, or through
a line-in jack. That's a lot of features for a 2.2 ounce
Archos manufactures handheld audio Archos
MP3 Players) and digital video products
including the Archos Jukebox, Archos Gmini and the AV-series
pocket video recorders. The cool, modern design of all
of their handheld products make Archos stand out as a
leader in the MP3 portable players' market.
The RioNitrus is the first MP3 player featuring an integrated
1-inch hard drive, is very compact and light unit plus
has a 1.5GB capacity drive.
MP3 Player Lyra RD1080
This lightweight RCA
MP3 player comes with 128MB of flash
memory and a built-in FM radio tuner. Memory can be expanded
with SD/MMC cards. The Lyra RD1080 is a 128MB flash based
the generic functions of an MP3 player alongside some
cool equalizer presets. Since 2002, the sales figures
for this player have been quite strong for RCA as the
price is appealing to first-time portable audio buyers.
Lyra RD1080 runs 2 AAA batteries in