If you truly care about sound quality, you’d stop listening to music on your smartphone and instead invest in an MP3 player.
When you’re shopping for an MP3 player, though, consider the size and the quality of your digital music collection. If you own a lot of music in lossless file formats and don’t want to compromise on audio quality, consider a more upmarket MP3 player with advanced DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and circuitry inside it. A high-end MP3 player will also have the ability to power high-end, high-impedance, audiophile headphones. Otherwise, you can consider a more reasonably priced offering.
In addition to the audio hardware and performance, it’s important to consider the amount of available storage an MP3 player offers. You should either consider a product with ample built-in memory, or one with a built-in microSD card slot for effortless and affordable expansion. Today’s splurgeworthy MP3 players will most likely offer you a combination of both.
Check out our top MP3 player picks that are perfect for showcasing your music collection!
Sony NW-A55 Walkman MP3 Player
The Sony NW-A55 Walkman MP3 player has all the bells and whistles you’re looking for: excellent audio quality, support for a wide array of audio files — including Hi-Res audio content — outstanding battery life (up to 45 hours between charges), expandable storage, and intuitive controls that include a touch screen and tactile buttons, among many other features.
FiiO M6 MP3 Player
The FiiO M6 mp3 player is a solid runner-up to our Sony top pick because it’s elegant, feature-packed, and more affordable. The audio performance of the M6 is also top-notch, courtesy of high-quality audio components, as well as a speedy Samsung-made chipset. Compared to the Sony NW-A45, the M6 has less battery life (up to 13 hours) and considerably less built-in storage (only 2 GB versus 16 GB). The latter makes purchasing a microSD card alongside the device mandatory.
Sony NWE395 MP3 Player
Sony’s NWE395 is among the best budget-friendly MP3 players out there, thanks to a rather superb 35 hours of battery life, up to 16 GB of non-expandable storage (4 and 8 GB variants are also available), and a 1.77-inch color display with an intuitive interface. The NWE395 has a built-in FM radio and Apple iTunes integration. Being an entry-level option, the MP3 player supports the most commonly used audio formats, but it can’t play lossless audio.
Apple iPod touch (7th Generation) Media Player
Apple’s latest iPod touch is truly in a league of its own when it comes to sheer entertainment capabilities. Equipped with the same A10 Fusion chip as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, a 4-inch Retina touch screen, an 8 MP camera, and Apple iOS, the device can do a whole lot more than play your MP3 collection. Apple iOS is what sets the iPod touch apart from all competitors. The tech giant’s mobile platform will give you access to a vast selection of high-quality apps and games, including access to all major music and video streaming services. Save for making phone calls, the media player will deliver an iPhone-like experience, including the ability to FaceTime and iMessage people.
SanDisk Clip Sport Plus MP3 Player
The SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is our favorite pick for workout warriors who want to take a break from their phone. It’s cute, colorful, insanely compact, water-resistant, and quite affordable. After testing seven MP3 players, Wirecutter named the Clip Sport Plus its best cheap MP3 player pick.