What are the Different Types of MP3 Players?

Michael Giuffre

MP3 players are pocket-sized electronic devices that have the ability to not only store, but play music and other sound files. Although MP3 players are sophisticated devices and there are many varieties, they can be placed into one of three broad categories. These categories include hard drive based players, micro hard drive based players, and flash based players.

An MP3 player.
An MP3 player.

Hard drive based MP3 players are typically larger and heavier than their competitors due to the fact that they contain a large capacity hard drive inside. This however, may be one of it's only weaknesses. These players provide the largest capacity, ten gigabytes or more, out of the different types of MP3 players. Due to the fact that ten gigabytes equates to roughly 2,900 MP3 files, most consumers buy these players because they accommodate their entire MP3 collection. However, if you are looking for a player to bring with you on a jog or to use at the gym, you may choose to shy away from these players. Any sudden physical movement may cause the internal mechanical hard drive to skip.

MP3 players fall into three categories: hard drive based, micro hard drive based, and flash based.
MP3 players fall into three categories: hard drive based, micro hard drive based, and flash based.

Micro hard drive based MP3 players are similar to their big brothers, the hard drive based players, except that they are a bit smaller, both in physical size and internal storage capacity. These players hold up to six gigabytes of MP3 files, which equals roughly 1,700 songs. Still boasting a respectable capacity, these players have won over many consumers due to their light-weight, compact size. However, these players are also susceptible to skipping if subjected to intense physical movement. Additionally, both hard drive and micro hard drive based players commonly contain rechargeable batteries that can not be replaced for a new battery, but only recharged. If it's small size and moderate capacity that you are in search of this type of player may be just right.

If neither of these players pique your interest, flash based MP3 players may fit your needs. These ultra compact, low capacity players contain no moving parts and consequently, never skip. Another advantage of these players is that their size and lack of moving parts allow them to use minimal power, causing your batteries to last longer. Also, these players almost always use replaceable, disposable batteries, allowing you to put in a new battery if your player should die in the middle of use. However, flash based players commonly range in capacity from 32 megabytes (roughly 10 songs) to two gigabytes (roughly 570 songs) at most. Therefore, most consumers with a large music collection tend to shy away from this type of player, while athletes can appreciate the sturdy nature of these devices.

Some of the different types of MP3 players include additional features as well. A few of the hard drive players include a small screen that can display pictures and video that are stored on the internal drive. Other players allow for digital voice recording for future playback.

Some MP3 players are designed specifically with joggers in mind.
Some MP3 players are designed specifically with joggers in mind.

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Discussion Comments


great article, explains the basics really well and exactly the information I was looking for. Thanks for the great MP3 player advice!


flash drive FTW


Which players allow fast fwd and rewind when listening to postcast type files?

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