Smartphones vs MP3 Players

Apple iPod Nano (Pink)There is a huge convenience in condensing two devices down into one. Still, you can’t help but wonder whether or not your Smartphone really does make a better MP3 player than a dedicated device. Smartphones offer one significant advantage over MP3 players: a mobile data connection. You can download and stream music, so you’re not limited to the songs you can fit on your device. The iPhone and Android phones also have the advantage of well stocked App stores for all sorts of multimedia, productivity, and gaming applications (something only a few MP3 players offer).

SamsungMost Smartphones also offer a full multimedia experience, allowing playback of not only music, but video as well. Where Smartphones fall short is battery life. Many MP3 players can last over 30 hours, while Smartphones have trouble lasting through a full day, potentially leaving you without a phone for the latter part of the day. This can be especially bothersome if you rely on your Smartphone for phone calls, email, or texts.

Portable Media Players (PMPs)

Apple iPod TouchPortable Media Players (PMPs) offer a middle ground between Smartphone and MP3 player. The iPod Touch, for example, is a PMP, and is currently the best selling MP3 player, due to the fact that it gives you full access to the Apple App Store and nearly all of the functionality of an iPhone, minus the monthly costs. Similar Android devices are also on the rise, like the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi edition. Microsoft’s Zune HD is also very popular, with excellent playback features like HDMI output, integrated FM Tuner, and significantly cheaper price than the iPod Touch.

Microsoft Zune HDThe major turnoff for PMPs is their price, many costing hundreds of dollars. If you expect to use all of their features, it’s perfectly worth it, but if all you’re after are some good tunes, there are plenty of MP3 players that cost far less than $100. PMPs also unfortunately suffer from some of the same battery troubles as their Smartphone brethren. Running large touch screens and processing hardware powerful enough for high quality video causes battery life to suffer. The difference is that when your PMP dies, you can still use your cell phone.

Traditional MP3 Players

Apple iPod Nano 6th Gen

If all you want to do is listen to some music, traditional MP3 players are the route to take. Forget all the bells and whistles; all you need are a few buttons, a screen large enough to sort through your songs, and enough storage space for all your favorite music. The 6th generation iPod Nano is a popular choice, but many find it a bit too prissy and prefer the slightly larger but more familiar 5th generation. Though at around $150, both are at a fairly steep price, leaving the display-less iPod Shuffle as the only sub-$100 Apple MP3 player. For those willing to forego the Apple logo, though, there are many great options at very appealing prices. SanDisk’s Sansa Fuze and Sansa Clip are both extremely affordable, but for just a bit more, Sony’s Walkman NWZ-E354 will give you better sound quality and a few more features.

Which Would You Chose?

Personally, I’m content using my Smartphone as my MP3 Player, but if I were the type who listened for hours of music every day, I’d have to go for either the 5th Gen iPod Nano or Sony Walkman. I can still use my Smartphone for all that PMP stuff the Nano can’t do. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comments below.

Editor in Chief alaTest.com : Arie Struik

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