Monday 29 December 2014

The ten best portable media players


iRiver P7 16gb: iRiver have always specialised in making high quality media players for people who want something less autonomous than the market-dominating iPod. This is no exception, with its eye-catching design making it a must-have for anyone who wants to stand out from the crowd. Price: £135.83
Philips GoGear Opus 16gb: A creditable entry level option supplying good quality audio and video playback in a simple but stylish package. Above average sound reproduction puts this ahead of its similarly priced competitors. Price: £74.39
Sony X-Series Walkman 16GB: Sony's flagship Walkman, although pricier than many of the competitors, features practically unrivalled audio quality and a supercrisp OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen. Price: £169.98
iPod Touch 16GB: The original iPod took the world by storm and this latest incarnation shows Apple are still top dog in the PMP market. The user interface is first-rate and its ability to run third-party applications has redefined what we now expect from a media player. Price: £229.99
Cowon S9 16gb: The Cowon S9 is clearly an item of beauty but it is also a serious contender acoustically. Its BBe+ Hardware is designed to make low-quality audio sources sound better and its handling of various more obscure song file types (including FLAC and OGG Vorbis) is excellent. Price: £199
HiFiMAN HM-801: Definitely aimed at the niche audiophile market, the audio-only HiFiMAN promises to deliver the very best digital listening experience. Although it is supplied with a high quality pre-amp, it is easily removable so that the discerning listener can customise it to their taste. Price: $650
Creative Zen X-F1 16gb: A WiFi-equipped digital hub that lets you instant message online while you listen to streaming media. It will also sync with a Microsoft Outlook account so you can have your contacts and calendar with you on the move. Price: £149.99
Archos 9 80gb: Bridging the gap between PMP and mini laptop, the Archos 9 is essentially a fully functional PC in 9in-wide tablet form. A touchscreen interface makes web-browsing easy through its built-in WiFi and 80 gigabytes is plenty of storage for digital media. Price: £449.99 Available from October
Samsung YP P3 16gb: One of the cheaper players on offer, but it doesn't look it, thanks to Samsung's sleek design. One innovation is the interface's haptic feedback, which means the touch screen physically responds to finger movements. Price: £139.99
PSP Go!: Scheduled for release in October, the PSP Go! is a slimmed-down version of Sony's popular PSP handheld gaming console. Primarily it is suited for gaming, though its 16gb flash memory can store audio and video plus and it has built in WiFi. Price: £199.97 pre-order at

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