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
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)
£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)
£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
Miller PC (0870 102 3104; www.millerpc.co.uk)
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
I Have To Have It (0871 871 9747; www.mpio.com)
Nike PSA Act 200
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)
£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)
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
Panasonic (0870 535 7357; www.panasonic.co.uk)
£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’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
Creative Labs (no phone; www.europe.creative.com)
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