Once upon a time, personal media players ruled the earth. Companies like Archos made gigantic devices with huge screens to play all your video, Apple’s iPod line was the darling of the world and every company was working full speed to release a device to topple it. Then, all of a sudden, smartphones became the ‘thing’ to be seen with, and with them came higher resolution screens, music apps and more ways than ever to enjoy your media.
The problem, of course, is that these jack of all trades devices are more often than not, masters of none. The dedicated device still has a place in many people’s hearts, and for good reason, with more space, more battery life and higher quality audio chips, there’s a lot to love, so join us as we run down Octobers top five personal media players.
iPod Classic 160GB
The iPod Classic is the last remaining ancestor of the storied iPod line, devices that traditionally came with hard drives and wheels for your thumb to glide around. Apple haven’t refreshed the Classic in a few years now (it’s still holding on to the older, wider dock connector which many accessories still use) but it’s still a pretty fantastic way to carry around masses of music in your pockets. iTunes, whilst not to everyone’s taste, is a simple and quick way to get music to and from your device and the store is still an embarrassment of riches in regards to both music and podcasts.
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB
SanDisk’s Sansa Clip+ has become something a sleeper hit. Released to not an awful lot of fanfare, it’s found itself home in the hearts of many due to its diminutive size, support for a huge number of file formats, great audio quality and most importantly – a MicroSD card slot to expand the memory to suit your needs. Couple it with a good pair of headphones and you’ve got an inexpensive and great way to enjoy your music without wrecking your phones battery life.
Roberts’ Sports DAB 4 Pocket Radio
For many people, listening to the radio is an important part of their day, until recently however, it’s been hard to get the high quality DAB radio service in your pocket. That’s all changed now and devices like Robert’s Sports DAB 4 have stepped in to serve a market hungry for beautiful, functional tech. The device itself features an easy to read illuminated LCD display, 18 hours of battery life and RDS text to display information about the show you’re listening to. If, however, Roberts’ efforts don’t suit your needs, there are plenty more examples of DAB portable Radio at Superfi.
Cowon X7 160GB
The only true competitor to Apple’s iPod Classic comes from South Korean audio juggernauts Cowon in form of the X7, their last high capacity audio player. The device itself packs a whopping 103 hours battery life, a four inch touchscreen and support for nearly every audio format under the sun. Sure, it might not be the thinnest or the prettiest personal media player in the world, but if you’re a slave to beautiful audio, the X7 is not one to miss.
Apple iPhone 5S
‘Sacrilege!’ I hear you shout, but wait, there’s some method behind the madness. Apple’s latest is not only the best phone they’ve ever built, it’s also been receiving praise for its fine audio and video playback. What Hi-Fi gave it five stars, calling outs its excellency in both aspects as main reasons for the glowing review.
It also opens the door to the vast number of accessories built for the device like Superfi’s JBL Onbeat Micro as well as the use of the hundreds of music applications, including Google’s Play Music app which allows you to store 20,000 of your own songs in the cloud, effectively removing the capacity barrier altogether.