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The Top MP3 Players of 2011
By: wubayou
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    Shopping for a new MP3 player can be tough, especially with all the models now available on the market. To help you get started in your search, here are some of the top MP3 players that will allow you to enjoy your treasured tunes while on the go.

    Apple iPod Touch

    Having the Apple name attached to any product does well to add some much needed peace of mind, and such is the case with the companyís iPod Touch.  The deviceís music playing features are very strong.  You can view your musicís album art in a streamlined format through the Cover Flow feature which allows you to flick through different albums.  Genius playlists created customized playlists for you by analyzing your playing patterns.  If youíre at the gym and donít want to look down at your iPod to change the song, simply shake it to shuffle to a different one.  Apple doesnít limit your music experience to just the iPod Touch itself, as you can stream music to compatible speakers via AirPlay or use integrated Bluetooth for wireless pairing. 

    The iPod Touch offers much more beyond music as well.  The newest edition comes with a 3.5-inch touch-screen Retina display, making it the highest-resolution iPod screen ever.  Vibrant graphics make the iPod Touch perfect for watching videos, browsing the web, gaming, and more, and the touch-screen is ideal for navigating the user-friendly iOS 4 interface.  It comes with two cameras that enable you to snap pictures, record HD video, or video chat with friends through FaceTime.  You can connect to the internet via integrated Wi-Fi to check email, view your favorite websites, purchase apps and games from the App Store, and the list goes on.

    The latest iPod Touch comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations.

    Microsoft Zune HD

    Microsoftís answer to the popular iPod platform is the Zune HD.  While it may not be the household name that the iPod is, it is still a solid MP3 player in its own right.  If automation turns you on, the Smart DJ feature should be right up your alley.  All you have to do is pick a song, album, or artist, and Smart DJ will create a playlist according to your choice.  Do you like to listen to the radio every now and then?  The Zune HD will give you access to local HD radio stations with excellent clarity at no added cost thanks to the integrated HD receiver.  If you hear a song you like, you can tag it to purchase and download it later. 

    The Zune HDís 3.3-inch touch-screen display supplies great graphics for playing games, browsing the web, and any other task you want the device to perform.  You get fast access to your most commonly used items through the Quickplay feature, integrated Wi-Fi, and a solid web browser.  Thereís even the option to connect the Zune HD to your HDTV to stream or purchase music through the Zune Marketplace by using the Zune HD AV Dock.  Itís sold separately, but does help you convert the Zune HD into much more than a portable music player.

    The Microsoft Zune HD comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions.

    Creative Zen Touch 2

    Slightly off the beaten path of the top names like Apple and Microsoft is Creative with its Zen Touch 2 player.  The company is known for creating quality music players, and it stepped things up a notch with the Zen Touch 2.  The device comes running on Googleís Android operating system, so you get some Google perks thrown into the mix along with the ability to download apps, a solid interface, and more.  The 3.2-inch touch-screen offers vibrant graphics and responsiveness no matter what task you are performing.  Speaking of tasks, the Zen Touch 2 is a solid music player that includes a built-in FM tuner, an integrated speaker for listening without headphones, easy playlist creation, and everything else youíd want to fulfill your audio needs.  Itís Bluetooth compatible, so you can stream music wirelessly to certain headsets and speakers too. 

    Beyond the music, the Zen Touch 2 doubles as an entertainment hub.  Connect to the internet via Wi-Fi to browse your favorite sites, check email, or stream videos.  Thereís a 2-megapixel camera that takes photos and records videos.  Want to see your work on the big screen?  You can do so with the optional video-out connector.  Integrated GPS plus a compass are just a couple more features worth mentioning.

    The Creative Zen Touch 2 comes in configurations of 8GB and 16GB.  You can expand storage capacity by using the deviceís microSD card slot which accommodates cards of up to 32GB.

    Sony A Series Walkman

    The Walkman is a name that is etched into many peopleís minds when they think of portable music players.  Sonyís A Series Walkman comes equipped with the basic music features any audiophile would want plus much more.  Sound quality is of the essence with the A Series, and it delivers excellent audio quality through various exclusive Sony technologies that help to eliminate distortion and other unwanted noise.  As you listen to your favorite songs, you can upload a matching lyric file to sing along.  Integrated Bluetooth allows you to pair the player with compatible speakers or headsets.  Transferring content to the player is as easy as dragging and dropping files.

    The 2.8-inch touch-screen not only helps you interact easily with the intuitive interface, but it also produces excellent graphics for viewing album art, videos, and photos.   You can find the Sony A Series Walkman in 8GB and 16GB versions.

    Archos 15 Vision

    Are you looking for a basic MP3 player that wonít break the bank but will still let you enjoy your favorite tunes?  The Archos 15 Vision is just that.  Sure, itís not as fancy as the aforementioned players from Apple, Microsoft, Creative, and Sony, but it does the job when it comes to playing music.  The Archos 15 supports most standard audio formats and letís you create lists of your favorite songs with ease.  With its 4GB capacity, you can store thousands of songs on the player.  If you feel like listening to some radio instead, you can do so thanks to the integrated FM tuner.

    Portability is a strong point of the Archos 15 Vision.  It weighs only 0.6 ounces and measures just ľ inch thick, so you can store it in virtually any pocket, no matter how small it is.  This miniature size makes it a perfect companion at the gym.  Despite the small size, you can still enjoy videos and photos that you load onto the player via its 1.5-inch color display.  The touch-sensitive controls beneath the display are responsive and are ideal for navigating the simple interface.  Priced at around $30, this is one MP3 player that goes easy on the wallet.

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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