Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Portable Media Players

John Marine | 5/30/2012 08:00:00 PM | |
(UPDATED: June 13, 2012)

Portable media players play more than just MP3s. Some of the best PMPs today are capable of playing music and video, and some even can access the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection. The iPod series has made other companies step their game up and offer their own consumer electronics to rival or surpass the iPod range. Regardless of what your favorite company or PMP is, you find some sort of importance in trying to find a PMP to suit your media needs. What do you want out of a portable media player? In this blog post, I will try to offer some advice as well as offer a general discussion of portable media players. The post is based on material I recently posted on "John's Shop Space." I am offering this post here on "John's Blog Space" for discussion purposes.

Welcome to John's Blog Space! Or welcome back to John's Blog Space if you're a regular reader.


JUN 13 2012 - made a few edits to content

--- Portable Media Players at a Glance ---

portable media player
^ from: - Most portable media players are not just MP3 players anymore. Some are capable of doing things MUCH more than just play music.

NOTE: The following text was taken from a post on "John's Shop Space":

What makes a portable media player accessible and fun is in its ability to play back a number of different forms of media. The reason why this blog post is not entitled about MP3 players is because many of these devices could play much more than MP3s. Some even can wirelessly access the Internet! Through the history of listening to music, we have evolved from 8-Tracks to cassettes, cassettes to CDs, CDs to MP3s, and much more. The devices themselves have evolved. You probably have a cassette player. You probably have or had a portable CD player. Maybe you can remember your first MP3 player. Or have you ever had an MP3 player?

Today, the device of choice is the portable media player- able to play MP3 music and lots more. The further evolution of the portable media player is in its ability to play various other formats other than music. One of the real innovators of the PMP's evolution was the iPod. The original iPod evolved in a way to where it could take advantage of podcasts as well as video. When it seemed possible to play both music AND video, the iPod challenged other PMP makers to step their game up and offer competitive PMPs that can deliver taking on various forms of media.

I hope this blog post has you at least interested in getting a portable media player or shop for a new one. I want you to be able to have a PMP that you can enjoy listening your music (and perhaps videos too) on. Please be sure to keep reading this blog post and enjoy its content. Remember- I will NOT feature phones in this post because the focus is on PMPs that do not have phone features. So no iPhone or smartphones will be featured here. Maybe I'll focus on those in a future post. But for now, please continue on to the next section.

--- Portable Media Players: What to Look For ---

It is important to consider the basic entertainment needs of someone in regards to picking a portable media player. Here are a few points to consider. Don't answer me these questions- think about these factors as you're shopping for a portable media player:

What to Look For.

• Media Needs - What do you want out of your PMP? What forms of media do you want stored onto your device? Do you even want to wirelessly access the Internet?

• Portability - How comfortably do you want the device to fit in your pocket or onto something?

• Capacity - how much space is enough for your media needs?

• Sound and Video Quality - how much quality do you want out of your PMP? Do you want to be able to pick EQ settings to customize sound quality?

• Charging Options and Battery Life - how do you keep the device charged? How long can its battery or batteries last?

• Navigation - How do you prefer navigating menus to find and access your media? Do you prefer clicking buttons, using a physical wheel, touch-based buttons, or even a touchscreen?

• Operating Systems and Interfaces - Some PMPs can take advantage of firmware updates. Some PMPs have their own operating system (especially more expensive ones). Are you okay with downloading updates for your device to take advantage of new features?

• Special Features - Do you want a PMP capable of (but not limited to): FM Radio, HD Radio, recording live FM radio, camera features, Wi-Fi Internet access, a microphone for voice recording, a device doubling as a Flash drive, etc?

• Syncing - How do you want to be able to port over your media from your PC to your PMP?

• Price - Finally, how much are you willing to spend for the most enjoyable portable media experience; and is its price worth what you are apparently getting?

Now that you've thought about these characteristics, it is time to think about what actually suits you and your needs.

Price Considerations.

I listed five levels of portable media players in my post on "John's Shop Space." Here are the five points I categorized in terms of price for PMPs. Consider these options when shopping for your PMP:

• Affordable and Serviceable - The quality is not great, they are priced cheaply, they may not have the best sound quality; but are all serviceable. The point of these very low-priced PMPs is to enjoy MP3 music without having to spend more than you like to. Because these specific devices are cheap, be ready to make some sacrifices and work around the limitations of these specific PMPs. Many of these are cheaply-made and cheaply-priced devices. Think about going to certain low-priced stores and finding various MP3 players from brands you've never heard of or aren't known as industry leaders. A lot of these will cost $25 USD or less. Sometimes, MUCH less than $25 USD.

• Affordable and More Capable - These are portable media players that cost a bit more than very basic MP3 players. Some of these may have LCD displays and even allow you to listen to FM Radio. A lot of these devices will be in the US Dollar range of $20 USD to about $50 USD. An example of a PMP in this price range is the iPod Shuffle.

• Bang for the Buck - The prices of these portable media players may be a bit on the high side for the casual music listener, but their sound quality and other features are top notch. These are some of the best pure MP3 players. Some even may be able to play videos as well. A lot of them cost somewhere in the price range of $50 US Dollars to just over $100 US Dollars. The SanDisk Sansa Fuze is an example of a PMP in this range.

• More Than Just Music. - I call this category based on portable media players that are capable of playing music, but are also capable of playing videos. This price category would include PMPs that cost north of $100 USD. These PMPs offer outstanding sound and video quality as well as great battery life. These are about the best PMPs money can buy for the serious media lover.

• Music, Media, and [Much] More! - Many of the portable media players in this category are almost basically beyond "MP3 player." These are PMPs that can play music and video while basically being their own pocket PCs. Some PMPs in this range can even be able to access the Internet wirelessly through a Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, you could even play games on these PMPs. Some may operate on mobile operating systems. The two major ones are usually Apple's iOS and Google's Android. These PMPs can start at just about $150 US Dollars and go up in price depending on storage capacity. Two examples of PMPs in this price range and in this category include the iPod Touch and the Samsung Galaxy Player series.

Consider these things when thinking about getting a portable media player in a price range you're happy with.

To read my more in-depth look at these "What to Look For" features, please read: "Portable Media Players" - John's Shop Space.

--- Portable Media Players: Talking Points ---

I've been somewhat of a busy bee on YouTube and around Google doing my own research on various portable media players. Most of you know that I want to get an iPod Touch 4G. You may have read my "Take Your Pick" blog post regarding the iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 devices. Here is a look at portable media players by various talking points.

Understand Your Media Needs.

Why did you buy that device or want to get a certain device? Does it really suit your media needs? I define "media needs" as what someone's needs in music and media are dear to them. Some love to listen to music. Some want to watch videos on the go. Some people even want to view the Internet wirelessly via Wi-Fi connection. Everyone has various media needs based on budget and on various other considerations.

Certain needs mean that your price range for certain portable media players will vary. For example- be prepared to spend at least $100 USD especially if you are looking for a PMP that allows for Wi-Fi access. That is, unless you find something fairly cheap in price. Think about your media needs and what you really want out of your portable media player.

How Much Space is Enough?

When I mentioned the iPod Touch, I mentioned I want to get the 8GB model because I don't have a whole lot in the way of MP3. Let me give you some perspective. My current SanDisk Sansa Fuze is 4GB in capacity. I have about 4GB total in MP3s on my computer. What are the chances I actually utilize all of the space on the device? Sometimes, there are some MP3s I just stop listening to. So it really comes down to what music you actually want to take with you. Instinctively, you want to take all of your favorite songs with you to store on your PMP. Some songs rarely get listened to on your device. If there are some songs you know you're not going to listen to, it's best to let them go and maybe reserve some space to enjoy some other media.

Let us pretend that I put on ALL of my MP3 media onto an 8GB portable media player (all 4GB or so). It means I have just under 4GB to use any sort of way I want. I may decide that I want to put on some videos or (in the case of PMPs that allow for app usage) install apps for my device. I have more than enough to suit my needs. What if I DON'T have enough space remaining? Simple- just remove whatever I am not using or listening to.

Don't go out and get the most expensive model with the most space. I think it would just be a waste of money to go out and get something that isn't going to have its mileage pushed to the limit. It would be like buying a sports car that you aren't going to drive harder than it's supposed to.

Pay Up!

Can you get a good portable media player for a great price? Does it fit your price range? Shopping at certain places can allow you to get something for a great price. Let me provide an example. When I did my blog post on PMPs on "John's Shop Space," Amazon offered certain MP3 players at unreal prices compared to their list price. Some MP3 players with a list price of about $150 US Dollars sold for about maybe... $85 US Dollars on Amazon. Or maybe you shop for some used models. You can save money with a used model. Maybe its value is diminished since it's used, but you still can get a solid deal.

The best case would be that you find a portable media player that suits your price range with all or as many features as you want out of a PMP. More power to you if you do find a great PMP that you'll enjoy.

Warranty Considerations.

If I fear one thing about getting a certain MP3 player, I want to wonder if I have a certain warranty for that device. I fear I may completely smudge up or damage my iPod Touch if I had one. Insurance and such costs extra money. However, to be able to enjoy your device for some time to come, it is best to consider an extended warranty if you can afford it. You usually arrange to pay for a plan based on where you bought the device from. So if you bought a certain device from Wal-Mart or Best Buy, you'll have to buy some insurance from that dealer you got the device from. It really depends on the device and its usage.


The best thing about a portable media player is its portability. Are you easily able to store it in your pocket or someplace else? Could you be able to buy some accessories to get that device to be better stored or attached? PMPs that are big and bulky may not be very cool to carry around if you want to enjoy media on the go. The best PMPs (in terms of portability) don't feel like you're carrying around something big and bulky. Then again, you don't want to wear or carry something that may not be able to hold your lovely PMP.

These are among some of the different talking points when looking for a portable media player. These five points are five different ideas in regards to finding the best PMP for your media needs.

--- Cross-Promotion/Other Reading ---

The majority of this blog post is complete. If you don't mind checking out other material, let me point you towards other material.

"Portable Media Players" - John's Shop Space
^ My post on "John's Shop Space" features some extra info on portable media players, and you are able to shop for some PMPs that I've found for you based on the five different price categories I've listed.

"iPod Series" - John's Blog Space
^ My blog post about the iPod series. Find out my thoughts on perhaps the world's most famous portable media players of all time.

"Take Your Pick: iPod Touch or Samsung Galaxy Player?" - John's Blog Space
^ Which is better: the iPod Touch series or the Samsung Galaxy Player series? Of the Samsung Galaxy Player series, this post is mostly about the 3.6 model. The iPod Touch fourth generation (4G) is mainly featured for this post.

One of the best ways to show that you care about my work is to buy some items that may interest you. I would appreciate if you did buy something on Amazon using these links below, but it is completely optional. I would still appreciate your business if you did find my post to be enjoyable to where you look for items that interest you based on what you've read. That's why I set up this blog and "John's Shop Space" with extra content- all to help you. So please click on the link below to shop for MP3 players on Amazon.

To all of my readers, PLEASE be sure to click on and buy any item that interests you. I would greatly appreciate your business if you were to buy something based on material you see in this blog post.

MP3 Players on Amazon
^ MP3 players on Amazon including accessories.

iPods on Amazon
^ iPods on Amazon including accessories.

I may add some extra material based on traffic or interest to this post.

--- Special Request to Fans of Mine ---

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I hope this blog post was helpful and informative to you. Thank you for reading!

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John Marine said...

Great post about music players! The areas such as price and portability were really informative. I also agree that warranty is extremely important. Thanks for you lovely comment on my blog. Keep writing interesting posts!

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