I remember the mid-2000’s. Going outside without an MP3 player was like going outside naked. There was something about this device that made it so fantastic.
While yesterday’s phones might have had an abundance of features, none were as well defined as today.
If you wanted to listen to music, play a game, or view a video – you better be prepared for a very short battery life.
That is where MP3 players came into the game. They could play music virtually forever without requiring a recharge, and if you got a good one, you’d be the coolest kid on the block. I adore MP3 players and don’t believe they’re obsolete.
Sure, phones today can do everything an MP3 can, and then some, but I’ve never had a phone that’s as charming, slick, or simple as an MP3 player.
These players are also extremely versatile, so you can take them anywhere.
They’re small, lightweight, and fun. That makes them the ideal running or activity buddy. The lightweight, humble, and ultra-portable MP3 player is the topic of today.
Below, I’ll tell you all about them, and give you a couple of my personal favorites. Just like always, I’ll link some reading martial and homework for you if you’re into that nerdy stuff.
What Is an MP3 Player
An MP3 player is a small device that plays music. It has a headphone jack for your headphones, and some even have Bluetooth.
Today, these devices are tiny and usually come with a clip. That makes them the ideal option for any activity.
They also have a surprisingly long battery life, which ensures you can listen to music for a long while before turning off.
MP3 players used to be all the rage, and they still have a lot to give. They’re fun, mobile, versatile, and some come with additional features.
MP3 players are simplicity at its finest, and make fantastic activity companions due to their lightweight, small proportions, and immense power.
They allow you to listen to your favorite tunes, save your phone battery, and take them virtually anywhere!
Things to Look for in an MP3 Player
I love MP3 players. They’re such a fun little dose of nostalgia, but I can’t lie – they’ve changed a lot since I last used them.
When I bought the products for a review, I didn’t expect them to evolve as much as they did. Today, they’re virtually as sophisticated as phones.
Below, I’m going to give you some facts you can judge your desired MP3 device upon. These are all features that the best MP3 players should have.
Video & Image Options
These options are undoubtedly new ones. Last I checked, MP3 players played MP3s, not videos and images.
Clunky old cylinders are replaced by slick, clip-on, small screens which have a lot of options. Not only is their memory massive, but it can play MP4 content as well.
An excellent MP3 player should have a lot of video and image options and store as much visual content as you like.
Just like I remember the clunky cylinder days and Linkin Park, 50 Cent, and Evanescence songs – I remember when 1 GB was a huge thing. Today, 1 GB is nothing.
You can’t even store a couple of albums on that much memory.
Today, music is far more substantial, and so is the MP3 memory. While it should have a large internal memory, it should also accept microSD cards to augment it.
Sometimes, you get sick of your music. There is nothing quite as annoying as listening to the same song selection for too long. That’s exactly why your MP3 device needs radio options – to snap out of the monotony.
Now, this used to be the dream, but today it’s a reality. MP3 players today don’t only have wireless internet access – they can also have data.
It allows you to download tunes, listen to tunes online, or simply use any media you like.
State of the art MP3 players in the past used to have some simple games. Now, these were no MW2, but they were fun. Today, most MP3 players have some sort of simple, fun, and interesting games.
Even if you dread mobile gaming (as you should), MP3 games are a sweet punch of nostalgia. There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with your inner child, and MP3 player games are a fantastic way to do so.
Best MP3 Player 2021 Review Guide
Reviewing these products was a true dose of fun, wholesome nostalgia. I had a very tough time picking just five out of the large selection, but I’ve made my choices. Below, you’ll find my top picks for the best MP3 players currently on the market – jam-packed with nostalgia, affordability, and fun features.
Sony Walkman NW-A45 – Best MP3 Player 2021
This one had “Walkman” in the name, so I had to put it first. Walkmans, for the younger generations, were small cassette players that you could put in your pocket.
In my personal opinion, they were far better than CD players, which took up a huge amount of pocket space and made you look silly.
Unless you had old, huge jeans, you couldn’t use a CD player on the go.
Walkmans, on the other hand, were an absolute treasure. While they’re obsolete today, their memory will live on, and the name is brought back to light with the Sony NW-A45/B Walkman.
This Walkman plays HiFi tunes, which was unheard of in the olden days.
Aside from fantastic tunes, this little device packs quite a significant punch when it comes to data storage. It comes with 16gb built-in, and a microSD card of 128GB.
That’s more than my phone at over one-third of the price – completely insane.
While it shares the name with the old Walkman, it shares virtually no features with it. Now, this is a worthwhile successor with all the things a modern MP3 player needs.
It has an HX digital amplifier that gives it a stunning sound, and the battery life is jaw-dropping at over 45 hours of music playback.
The design is gorgeous, slick, and portable. You can take it with you anywhere you’re going, from a run to the gym, or even when you’re trying to save your phone battery.
It also has Bluetooth capabilities, which allows you to connect it to your Bluetooth headphones – but just a heads up, the battery life is going to exceed the headphones by a longshot!
- Stunning design
- Long battery life
- Large storage (both internal and external)
- Fantastic features
- Bluetooth capability
- Amazing HiFi sound
- A bit pricey
- Not shatterproof
SanDisk is a well-known name in the electronic device and storage industry, and its MP3 player is superb. It comes with all of the features you’d like in an MP3 player and is remarkably resistant.
I hate to admit this, but I’m a bit of a klutz when it comes to handling small things. I start to worry that I might break them – then I drop them, then they break, and then I look like a dunce.
I’m happy to report that I’ve dropped this appliance twice while trying to clip it onto my running shirt, and it’s fine.
I’m amazed at its shockproof resistant design – it’s sturdy as a brick! It’s not as heavy as a brick, as it clips on anything with ease (unless you’re me).
Aside from its sturdiness, it claims to be water-resistant, and a quick trip to the sink confirmed that it was true.
You can’t kill this little device, and that’s a feature rare in the modern electronic device landscape. The features are solid and abundant – it has Bluetooth, a radio, and an internal device memory of 16 GB.
Its battery life is long, and it supports up to 20 hours of music playback, but I managed to get 21 out of it. It’s rounded, sturdy design is impressive, and it’s smaller than a gift card.
One thing that stands out about this little MP3 player is that it doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel.
It doesn’t have a mega ultra OLED 4k screen, it doesn’t have magic powers, and it doesn’t have visionary features.
It’s all the things a media player should be – long-lasting, great-sounding, and indestructible.
It is a bit plain, so if you’re looking for a high tech option, this might not be for you.
- Decent battery life
- Simple and slick
- Good design
- Sturdy clip
- Waterproof, shatterproof, klutz-proof
- Very decent sound
- A bit plain
- Not ideal radio reception
ONKYO DP-X1A – Best High-End MP3 Player 2021
One thing that makes this little ONKYO stand out is the design. Unlike all other additions on this list, this little device is miles ahead in terms of aesthetics.
It looks stunning, which brings me back to the old days. In the past, phones, MP3 players, and other handheld appliances used to have a unique look and feel to them.
Ask anyone about how the old Nokia phone used to look. The last unique-looking phone was the Xperia Play, and it was a commercial flop.
These days, everything is uniform, and I dread that. This little appliance is stunning, with a unique design, great materials, and all the features you could want.
While it’s not very affordable, it comes with an internal memory of 64 GB, one of the biggest on the list. While it looks unique, it isn’t simple at all.
This little nostalgic-looking device has Android 5.1, making it much like the phones of yesterday.
That is a powerful little device and can drive some pretty high-tech headphones. It drives my high-end Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature, which requires some power.
Furthermore, the sound is fantastic.
The OS allows the ONKYO to be far more sophisticated than its competition, as it supports all the things that android does.
It has WiFi capabilities, Hi-Fi sound, and a state of the art DAC and amplifier combo. There’s nothing that this device can’t do.
Its only drawback is its relatively modest battery life, which doesn’t exceed eight hours of playback, even if you use it sparsely.
The device is not only gorgeous, but it’s small as well. You can take it running with you, or anywhere you go, just remember to pack a power bank while you’re at it.
- Good looking and unique
- Android OS
- Powerful capabilities
- HiFi sound
- WiFi, Bluetooth, and external storage capabilities
- Fast UI
- 64GB built-in storage
- Poor battery life
- User manual in Japanese
The iPod has revolutionized the MP3 world more than once, and the seventh generation with iOS 12 packs a punch. There’s nothing to say about this little device that you don’t already know, but I will anyway.
Design-wise, you really can’t compete with the likes of apple. That’s by far the most affordable device on this list but is lightyears away feature-wise.
It comes with everything that a person could think, from WiFi, Bluetooth, data, HiFi Sound, to enormous storage capacity.
That’s the only driver on this list that comes with a camera – in fact, it comes with two.
The front camera is a 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera, while the back is capped at a cool 8MP, which is more than good for such a device.
It comes in three different storage options, from 32GB, over 128GB, to 256GB. I’m not going to lie – I’m not Apple’s biggest fan.
I think their products are a bit pricey, but you simply can’t knock the hustle that went into creating the seventh generation of the Apple iPod Touch.
Its touchscreen capabilities are slick. Apple has always been a pioneer, and they’ve outdone themselves with this device.
It’s durable, lightweight, and overly capable. Every device comes with a charger and headphones, both of which are fantastic, functional, and high in quality.
The sound is impeccable. Apple is equipped with the best that the industry has to offer and even offers different color capabilities.
Furthermore, Apple will engrave your iPod touch if you would like to personalize it. The amount of additional merch you can purchase for this device, such as cases, headphones, and holders, is huge.
The iPod Touch 7th gen also has Bluetooth capabilities, which allows you to connect them with your AirPods, for an even better sound. It even has games!
- Slick design
- Jaw-dropping sound quality
- Two cameras
- iOS 12
- Fast, functional, and full of features
- Outright expensive
That is the first time I ever heard the name HiFiMan. I guess the best thing about the current day is that there are so many companies to explore.
HIFIMAN did not disappoint, though. Once I opened the box, I was flooded with nostalgic feelings – it looks exactly like an MP3 player I used to have.
Its familiar design was only further augmented by its features, all of which are centered around playing music.
A good MP3 player should not have tonnes of features that overwhelm, that’s what I have my phone for.
This little device does what it should, and boy does it do it well. I was surprised at the sound quality – which matches the best devices out there at a fraction of the price.
Now, this device is far from affordable, though, but it’s well worth the money for the features.
It comes with HiFi sound capabilities, an incredibly slick design, and a very long battery life. While it doesn’t have android or Ios, it has superb music playing capabilities, and that’s precisely why you should love it as much as I do.
The device stands up to its supermini name, as it’s tiny. It’s lightweight, small, and its output voltage of 4.2V drives the best headphones with ease.
The amplifier in this little thing is top of the line, making this the premium option for audiophiles.
Again, it’s larger price tag doesn’t make it consumer or student-friendly, but the amplifier, DAC, and the functionality alone more than make up for the price.
Aside from the fantastic functionality, the UI is simple and easy to navigate, making this one very user friendly.
- Nostalgic, slick, aluminum design
- Decent 20-hour battery life
- The best sound capabilities on the list
- Tiny dimensions
- Superb capability and mobility
- Amazing Amplifier and DAC
- Very pricy
- SD card conversion issues ( FAT32 )
You might have a general idea about my favorite on this list, and if you picked the first option, you’d be right.
I am fascinated with the Sony Walkman NW-A45. It’s the perfect combination of price and functionality, and it’s as beautiful as they get.
It’s a great piece of technology that does the MP3 world justice. The battery life, features, and large storage make it remarkable.
This device would be fantastic even if the sound were just decent, but it’s not.
The sound is awe-inspiring, and when combined with good headphones, you’re going to have an audiogasm in no time at all.
While the Walkman might be my personal favorite, I can’t knock the rest of the selection.
All these MP3 Players are top-of-the-line tech, and I recommend all of them equally – I just recommend the Sony Walkman NW-A45 a little more.