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MP3 Players: Just Press Play

Once upon a time, nobody left home without an MP3 player stashed in their pocket or purse, ready to pump out thousands of epic tunes at the press of a button. From bus stops to treadmills to lecture halls, the MP3 player was the soundtrack to everyone’s day-to-day. Then along came the smartphone, and everything changed… right? Not so fast.

Modern MP3 players are as convenient as ever, and they’ve got more than a few supercool surprises hiding up their sleeves – surprises that’ll impress even the strictest of audiophiles. Keep reading to see why there’s never been a better time to stash your tracks on a dedicated MP3 player instead of your smartphone or tablet.

Why Use an MP3 Player for Audio Instead of a Smartphone?

Music podcasts, and audiobooks take up tons of storage space on any phone. And extended listening drains your phone’s battery fast. With an MP3 player, you can carry more audio files and listen for hours and hours without eating into your phone’s battery life.

MP3 players are also much smaller and lighter than typical smartphones. This makes them ideal for when you’re hitting the gym or going for a jog. Many of the smallest MP3 players even feature built-in tabs so can clip the player to your waistband or shirt. That way you can stay hands free while you push to beat your personal best.

When it comes to audio quality, MP3 players have the edge there as well, thanks to widespread support for high-end balanced headphones and high-resolution audio – two features that are still exceedingly rare smartphones.

Can I Play My Existing Music and Audio Files on Any MP3 Player?

Most MP3 players support a range of formats in addition to MP3 files, but not all. Each player will be different, and some formats are more restrictive than others. Music tracks purchased on iTunes, for instance, are AAC files and can only be used on MP3 players that also support AAC. Before you choose an MP3 player, make sure you know while file types you’ll need the player to support. The most common formats are MP3, WAV, WMA, and AAC.

Audiophiles will want to look for an MP3 player with support for FLAC, a lossless audio format that delivers CD-or-better audio quality.

Features to Consider When Choosing an MP3 Player

Storage capacity and support for specific formats will drive most of your decision to choose one model over another, but modern MP3 players pack plenty of other features you’ll want to consider as well.


While Bluetooth is a standard feature on most other devices, it’s not for MP3 players. If you want to connect a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds to the MP3 player, you’ll need one with built-in Bluetooth.


Another standard feature on smartphones, Wi-Fi is still something of a luxury in the world of MP3 players. While not essential, built-in Wi-Fi can make things like file transfers and podcast downloads quick and painless.

Display Size  

Unless you’re looking for an MP3 player that’s as small and as light as possible, a sizable full colour display makes browsing tracks and other menus easy breezy. It can also display album artwork and other info that makes at-a-glance navigation faster.

Video and Photo Support

Speaking of display size… Some MP3 players offer video and photo support as well as audio playback. This way you can always keep your latest photo albums and all of your hilarious fail videos close at hand.

Digital Radio

Some MP3 players include an integrated digital FM radio tuner, so you can tune into your favourite local stations when you need a break from your library of music, audiobooks, and podcasts.

Voice Recording

If you’re someone who makes consistent use of the voice recording feature on your smartphone, having this feature built into your MP3 player is an added bonus – especially if you’ve left your smartphone in your gym bag when inspiration strikes.