Mark Harris
10 BEST MP3 PLAYERS - The Independent, 30 July 2003

The latest pocket-sized machines are small, shockproof and store hours of music. Mark Harris plugs in to the best ways to stay dancing on the right side of the digital divide

Dension DH101 Hard Disc/Tuner 400
Why should joggers have all the fun? Bring digital audio into your car with this innovative FM/AM tuner and MP3 player. The 16-colour LCD fascia folds down to reveal a removable 20Gb hard disc that plugs straight in to your computer and can hold around 250 CDs’ worth of music.
I Have To Have It (0871 871 9747; www.dension.com)

Apple iPod 300 -- BEST BUY
The latest third generation iPods are even slimmer and easier to use. This slick 15Gb model has a docking station that automatically synchronises with your computer’s music collection and can even pipe tunes direct to a home stereo. To add a personal touch, £16 buys laser text engraving on the minimalist white casing.
Apple (0800 039 1010; www.apple.com/uk)

Iriver IFP-195 300 -- BEST LUXURY BUY
The slim Toblerone-shaped iRiver has none of the calories but all of the class of its chocolate cousin. A chunky joystick controls the FM radio and voice recording functions, and a generous 512Mb of memory provides space for over eight hours of music. Your ears haven’t been forgotten either, with high quality Sennheiser headphones.
Miller PC (0870 102 3104; www.millerpc.co.uk)

Mpio FL100 170
If small is beautiful, the 128Mb FL100 is positively gorgeous. Its silver finish hides sophisticated features such as a Secure Digital card slot and voice recording, and it can manage 11 hours of playback from a single AAA. Although you can tinker with the sound settings, don't expect the best audio quality from a player this tiny.
I Have To Have It (0871 871 9747; www.mpio.com)

Nike PSA Act 200 80
Solid-state MP3 players are ideal for lightweight, skip-free music on the move. Nike and Philips have put their heads together and produced this toughened 64Mb model specifically for athletes. Its rubber casing is splashproof and sweat resistant, and if the rounded edges aren’t easy enough to grip, you can wear it on an elasticated armband.
Nike-Philips (0870 900 9070; www.nike-philips.com)

Nokia 3300 60 with contract / £250 SIM-free
One ring to rule them all: not only is the Nokia 3300 a finger-twistingly modern mobile phone, it’s also a stereo FM radio and a capable MP3 player. You can load tunes via the USB cable or 64Mb memory card supplied – and then irritate everyone by using them as ringtones. The colour screen also supports MMS messaging and Java games.
Nokia (0870 055 5777; www.nokia.co.uk)

Panasonic SLJ-900 150
If you’re not ready to bin your shiny discs quite yet, many personal CD players will also play MP3s – just burn them onto a CD-R with your MP3 software. This top of the range player from Panasonic has an unrivalled 48 seconds of shock resistance. It ships with an in-line remote and a docking station with built-in loudspeakers.
Panasonic (0870 535 7357; www.panasonic.co.uk)

Philips Key003 70 -- BEST BUDGET BUY
Smart and subtle, the magnesium-clad Key003 uses a battery that recharges directly from your computer. Plug it into a USB port and the Key003 powers up while you’re downloading tracks: you should be able to squeeze a whole album on its 64Mb internal memory. There’s no LCD but an in-line remote has all the essential controls.
Philips (0870 900 9070; www.philips.co.uk)

Sony NW-MS70 230
Sony’s smallest ever Walkman is a slinky, all-titanium player weighing just 54g, including a rechargeable battery and 256Mb of internal memory. Electronics giant Sony is shy of condoning piracy, so you’ll need to use the bundled SonicStage software to convert MP3s into Sony’s own ATRAC3plus format before you can listen to the MS70’s smooth tones.
Sony (0870 511 1999; www.sony.co.uk)

Creative Zen Jukebox USB 2.0 300
With the launch of Apple’s high speed USB 2.0 iPod, Creative’s look-alike player no longer has the PC market to itself. But a large 20Gb drive, longer battery life (14 hours to the new iPod’s 8) and its ability to play back Windows Media Audio files in addition to MP3s should ensure the Zen’s continued popularity.
Creative Labs (no phone; www.europe.creative.com)



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