When the first generation of iPods hit the market in 2001, the life of every music lover in the world changed forever. Portable media devices flourished, and everyone carried one of these tiny devices to listen to their favored music anywhere on the go. However, as soon as smartphones arrived, the new era of the streaming services such as Spotify began, making MP3s obsolete rather quickly.
We live in an age of constant change, though, and while the cloud-hosted tunes seemingly provided the definitive answer to everyone’s needs, MP3 players evolved to offer several advantages that smartphones didn’t. Much of the storage of many phones is, in fact, filled with system files and apps, and those who like to walk around with a giant collection of music found it quite inadequate. MP3 players also become much and much smaller, so minuscule that they could fit in any pocket while jogging or exercising, while smartphones became thinner on one hand, but much wider on the other.
Today the iPod Classic is dead and many do not like the iPod Touch anymore, and since all Apple devices are way too much expensive, customers often look for a cheaper alternative. So, here we go – we wrote a quick guide to help everyone find a neat list of the best music players compared to iPod.
- Astell & Kern AK Jr
Although it is a bit expensive compared to its peers, the Astell & Kern AK Jr is a potent and versatile music player that produces very high quality music at the best resolution possible. If you value audio quality, this music player is great for both casual listeners and audiophiles as well. Astell & Kern is known as one of the best (if not the best) MP3 player manufacturer, so it comes as no surprise that their entry level device cost so much – yet you can expect only the top-most audio definition from their Jr. version.
The touch screen is stylish and the battery life can last up to 8 hours. Sadly, there’s no Wi-Fi connectivity, but you got a nice Bluetooth option. The Wolfson WM8740 Digital Audio Converter (DAC) can process many different audio formats with a powerful, hi-res effect. If the native 64GB storage isn’t enough, you can still add an additional one in the SD slot.
- SanDisk Clip Sport
A durable and lightweight MP3 player is great for fitness lovers and sport buffs alike, the SanDisk Clip Sport is probably the best device to bring on with you during an intense workout session. Other than being extremely small and robust, this media device boasts an impressive 25 hour battery life, meaning that it can safely endure even a marathon!
Instead of having a smartphone bouncing in your pocket, the ultra-light SanDisk Clip Sport can be secured to your shorts with his nearly indestructible clips. Given it’s cheap price (less than $50), this MP3 player doesn’t shine for the quality of its audio, but more than makes up for it with its many features. Equipped with a FM radio tuner, it can handle even hi-res .FLAC files.
- Sony Walkman NWZ-A17
If the SanDisk’s 25 hours of battery life weren’t enough, Sony comes back with a vengeance with its new NWZ-A17 Walkman featuring a near-immortal 50 hours of battery life. And that’s just the first of its many features. Built to be as user-friendly as possible, this MP3 device comes with a wide 2.25-inch display and a comfy four-way selector. Based on an in-house, non-Android operating system, the Walkman comes with 64GB of storage plus a microSD memory card slot. Just like the AK Jr, this device has no Wi-Fi, but onboard Bluetooth and FM radio somewhat make up for the loss.
The audio quality is exactly what you expect from a device made by Sony: warm, detailed and as authentic as you can hope it to be. Puzzling enough, although the Walkman plays almost every audio file format, it doesn’t work with Sony’s own hi-res DSD.
By many seen as the direct competitor of the Sony’s NWZ-A17, the PonoPlayer is a beautifully designed, high resolution music device that doesn’t come for cheap. In addition to its sleek and charming design, this MP3 player excels at user inferface simplicity, coupled with a distinctly superior sound quality. You can bring it to even higher levels if you got a pair of headphones capable of being driven in balanced mode.
Unfortunately, the battery life is abysmally short, and the PonoPlayer comes with neither Bluetooth nor Wi-Fi connectivity. Needless to say it quickly becomes a 64GB paperweight, Also, good luck fitting this triangular thing in your pocket!