How to Select and Buy an MP3 Player

Getting tired of your old clunk of a Walkman or CD player? Time to get in style with a new MP3 player! Selecting an MP3 player can time consuming, so follow these steps to find one at the best price for your needs.


  1. Image titled Select and Buy an MP3 Player Step 1
    Determine why you need an mp3 player.
    • Will you be watching videos or just listening to sound?
    • How much space will you need to store your songs?
      • Estimate how many songs you get in a month, and then multiply by 100 for the amount of MB you will need. (This number is a general rule of thumb taking into consideration that each mp3 song is about 2.5-3 MB in size, and you will probably want your mp3 player for 3 years before deleting stuff.)
        • For example, if I know I get 15 songs a month, then I will want a 1500 MB mp3 player, which is 1.5GB.
        • If I know I will get 50 songs a month, then I will want a 5 GB mp3 player. (1024 MB is one GB)
      • This is a general rule of thumb and you should purchase what you think you will use.
    • Are you planning to join a music subscription service?
      • If so, research the various services to find out which mp3 players they do and do not work with.
    • Will you be carrying your mp3 player with you everywhere you go?
      • If so, you may want a smaller type that can easily fit in your pocket.
  2. Image titled Select and Buy an MP3 Player Step 2
    Search google and find consumer reports about different mp3 player brands. Check out various online sites that specialize in consumer price comparisons with reviews such as:
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    Make sure to look at the big online retailers first, because they often have cheaper prices.
    • Amazon
    • Newegg
      • If you are a college student, check with your campus IT department to see if you can qualify for a discount at Dell or other computer stores. Sometimes there are university loan programs or just flat discounts for your university students.
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    If you are comfortable with auctions on high-priced items, you can often find a significant deal there. You should always look at the seller's ratings, feedback and full item details including the shipping & handling fees before you bid!
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    Check out any other department stores with online sites such as:
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    You can often find sites like Pricewatch or Pricegrabber that will compare these prices for you.
    • Also note that some stores offer coupons or discounts for their items that can sometimes be applied to mp3 players, so do a google search for the store's name and the word "coupon" to see if anything is applicable.
      • example: google for "amazon coupons" or "WalMart coupons"
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    Go to the sites of mp3 player manufacturers to learn the technical specifications and what kind of computer equipment they need to run on.
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    They can range from anywhere from $15-$500+, depending where you live, but most of them are about $200-$300. Some online sites offer free shipping, but usually you'll also need to pay $6-$20 for standard shipping and handling fees.
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    You might want to buy a case for your new mp3 player so it won't get scratched up. There are three types of main protection items:
      • a transparent screen-resistant cover
      • a case-cover
        • also known as a "skin" which can often also change the color of your mp3 player
      • a general carrying case.
    • It's usually recommended that you buy the screen protection cover and the skin.
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    Purchase accessories:
    • AC adapter
      • This is good for charging up your mp3 player when you don't have access to a computer, such as in a hotel or when you're at school or work. Most mp3 players don't come with AC adapters, just a USB adapter that charges your player through your computer.
    • Arm-band holder or exercise "pouch".
      • This lets you exercise with your mp3 player without it falling off or getting bumped.
    • Headphones
      • Many players come with earbuds but a few do not. It should mention earbuds in the player's description if it includes them.
      • Occasionally people find earbuds to be painful, though most think they're acceptable. You can always purchase headphones later if you decide you don't like earbuds.
      • Some people just like the sound quality of headphones anyway.
    • Car charger battery.
      • Great for travelling!
    • USB connection cable
      • Most players will come with this, so make sure you need one before you buy it.
    • Radio transmitter
      • This will let you play your music for people with radios.
      • This can be great for caravan travelling or for transmitting music to radios for other people.
    • Emergency battery converter.
      • Lets you use AA batteries when your charge gets low, only available for some mp3 players.
    • Extra battery
      • Some players, like iPods, don't have the option for you to change your own batteries, so check this out before you buy one.


  • There are many types of players out there aside from the iPod, so don't fall into the trap of thinking that it's the only brand around! iPods are good, but try to consider other brands too, like Creative Zen, Sony, Zune and even the PSP.
  • Check into firmware for your mp3 player if you are interested in adding software that may change your features. Note that in some cases this may void a warranty.
  • If you want to keep low and buy a very cheap MP3 Player, these ones are normally 128mb and 256mb, buy one with a Flash Memory Slot. The memory slot will let you expand your amount with a flash memory card. These are about £10-£50 (about $20-$100)starting from the very ancient 8mb cards to the 256mb cards, to the newer (and much more expensive) 6gb+ cards!
  • You can also order it off the internet or the phone if you want, but try to go to the store to save on shipping and handling.


  • Be aware that if you break or lose your mp3 player, it's gone forever. No one will put this in the lost and found box, so you may consider insuring your mp3 player if you purchased a high-end model.

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Categories: Portable Media Players