What Is The Best Portable Music Player?
If you love to listen to your favorite music or podcasts on the go, you need a music player that you can rely on. It needs to be durable, resilient, portable, and offer excellent-quality sound.
Even though they are restricted by size, there is a huge range of portable music players available. They come in all sorts of different shapes and colors. These devices are now sometimes also referred to as digital audio players, or DAPs for short.
What should you consider when looking for a portable music player?
One of the first things to bear in mind is your budget. A lower budget will likely restrict you to certain brands and specs. If money is no object, you will need to narrow down the choice using other criteria such as sound quality, storage capacity, size/dimensions and weight, battery life, durability, connectivity, and ease of use.
Sound quality is perhaps the number one consideration. This will vary, although perhaps not as significantly as the price differentials would suggest.
When it comes to storage capacity, most devices will be able to hold significant numbers of songs. Even a lower-budget option will usually have a minimum of 32GB of storage, which is enough for most music collections.
Size and weight are important considerations as the device needs to be suitable for your individual circumstances. Weight-wise, they range from less than 90 grams to above 400 grams, so you need to keep in mind how much you want to carry. In terms of size, the length varies between 8cm and 13cm, width between 5 and 8cm, and thickness between 6 and 25mm. Screen sizes also vary.
Battery life is an important factor for many as charging isn’t always easy, especially when you’re out and about. The battery life on portable music players ranges from 8 hours up to 100.
Durability and resilience will often be determined by the material that the device is made from, so this is something to keep an eye on. Some may claim to be waterproof and the screens on some are shatter-resistant, which is very useful.
Connectivity in terms of what can be connected to the device and what the device can be connected to are both important. More is usually better in this regard.
Ease of use is mostly determined by the software that the device runs and the type of controls it uses. Most will be straightforward enough, but it is always worth trying before buying (if possible) as you don’t want to end up with something that is so finicky or complex that you do not enjoy using it.
Keeping in mind all of the above points, a few of the best portable music players on the market are outlined below.
Cowon Plenue D3
Now on its third iteration, the Plenue D3 has added Bluetooth and a volume wheel on the top right of the player. It looks much more expensive than it actually is and packs a mighty punch despite its diminutive size (just 8 x 5.3 x 1.6cm and weighing 103g). The storage of 64GB is sufficient for most but can be expanded to 192GB using a microSD card. The PD3 boasts an impressive battery life of up to 45 hours and supports a multitude of different file types.
All in all, the Cowan Plenue D3 is probably the best portable music player currently on the market in its price range.
The Astell & Kern Kann Alpha is the first Astell & Kern to feature Bluetooth 5.0. It has a more powerful headphone amplifier than its predecessor and is contained in a smaller and more portable chassis, enabling it to fit in a coat pocket.
The Kann Alpha has a screen size of 4.1 inches, battery life of up to 14.5 hours, weighs in at 316g, and has a built-in storage capacity of 64GB (although this can be increased via a microSD card). Sonically, it is incredibly impressive and excels with live recordings in particular, offering a realism and spaciousness that is a rare find.
The Astell & Kern A&futura SE100 is a fantastic high-end portable music player. With storage of 128GB, a 5-inch screen, and a battery life of up to 11 hours, this player is somewhat of a no-brainer if you have the budget for it. It is feature-heavy, looks great, and delivers impeccable sound - especially when paired with headphones of equal caliber.