Despite the high popularity of smartphones, there is always a request for the best sound quality, as well as a separate device with its own battery and other benefits.
Players do not disappear but continue to evolve and change in parallel with the entire audio market, get support for wireless technology, streaming, and so on. In this article, we have reviewed the 9 best portable music players for you. Also. if you want to improve the sound quality, try portable DAC amps.
This item has the best price and quality:
|Our Top Pick|
|See Best Price|
The list of the other great portable music players with a comparison of the main characteristics:
|Item||Dimensions||Weight||Supported Standards||Internal Storage|
|0.43″ x 2.20″ x 3.84″||0.4 lbs||MP3|
|See Best Price|
|2.1″ x 0.45″ x 3.64″||0.12 lbs||MP3||2GB||See Best Price|
|7.3″ x 5.2″ x 3.2″||1.9 lbs|
|64GB||See Best Price|
|Sony Walkman NWZW273S||5″ x 2.75″ x 6.75″||0.6 lbs|
|See Best Price|
|3.54″ x 1.65″ x 0.47″||0.12 lbs||MP3||-||See Best Price|
|PLENUE J||9.2″ x 53.2″ x 102″||0.3 lbs||FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, APE, MP3, WMA, OGG||64GB||See Best Price|
|Sony NWZ-B183F||0.53″ x 3.33″ x 0.87″||0.3 lbs||MP3|
|See Best Price|
XDUOO X3II AK4490
|5.3″ x 3.9″ x 2″||0.5 lbs||DFF, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD, DAC, DSF, ISO, DXD, APE, ALAC||-||See Best Price|
|LUXURY&PRECISION L3 PRO||2.3″ x 4.4″ x 0.5″||0.3 lbs||MP3||-||See Best Price|
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This is a modern player from the leader of professional equipment for listening to music. It is available in an aluminum case with ergonomic navigation buttons and a 3.1-inch touch screen.
This model has a built-in battery with increased capacity. It guarantees uninterrupted playback of tracks for 20-45 hours.
Support for wireless data transfer via Bluetooth, NFC-connection makes it easy to share files and refill the playlist.
24-bit DAC and digital noise reduction function will allow you to enjoy warm, rich in shades sound anywhere.
The proprietary DSEE HX processor independently defines the genre. It increases the resolution for accurate audio playback. When connected to a PC via USB, you can use the device instead of the built-in audio card.
This model does not slide in your hand, it can easily fit in your pocket or bag. You can select another playlist and change the volume. Adjust the equalizer with the help of sensors on the 3.1-inch color screen. You can also do this with the mechanical buttons located on the case.
The built-in 16GB memory is enough to store your favorite artists’ albums. You can install an SD card up to 128GB to expand the capacity. With a Bluetooth connection, you can connect the device to portable speakers. Moreover, you can synchronize it with your computer to update your playlist.
If you need an audio player with good sound, functionality at an affordable price, choose the Sony NW-A55.
It is quite a nontrivial case when the younger model from the same lineup is cheaper and better than the older one.
Based on the M7 model, the specialists supplemented the capabilities of this player with full support for online services. This particular feature distinguishes portable digital players from the middle class.
Besides, not every expensive smartphone can boast the presence of an LDAC codec and the ability to work as a transport, and the Fiio M6 can.
AFC of the device is absolutely linear, but you can’t call its soundcheck. The developers have staged a scheme to add power and drive to the extreme frequencies.
Thus, the musicality has increased, and at the same time the universality of the younger “brother” of the M7.
Astell&Kern KANN Cube
This is the most unusual player in our rating. Very original design, completely unusual for Astell&Kern products musical handwriting. The manufacturer decided on a risky experiment. It turned out to be very successful.
From any point of view, the KANN model is interesting. There are separate balanced and unbalanced inputs/outputs, working pairs of different type USB ports.
Also, this model has the ability to use SD and microSD, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth memory cards with aptX HD codec. Also, the features include an inordinate output power.
This model plays all popular audio files. The volume of the built-in memory is 64 GB. This allows you to store a whole music library on one device. It is also possible to use a card of up to 512 GB.
You can control the player by buttons, a sensor, and a 4-inch display. It displays all the necessary information. The lithium-polymer battery provides up to 15 hours of battery life. The metal case of the device and the protective screen film protect it from scratches and damage.
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Sony Walkman NWZW273S
In Sony’s catalog of digital players, there are more advanced models designed for sports. In particular, with the ability to pair them with smartphones via Bluetooth.
The function is certainly useful. But these devices do not have such chips as “ambient sound” mode, which is in demand among “street” sportsmen.
Furthermore, NW-WS413 has it and allows you to fully control the external environment. For example, while riding a bike and listening to your favorite music. Especially convenient in it is that the audibility of the environment is adjustable.
Besides, the new range of Sony mp3 players has received a higher protection class. Now they are not afraid even of saltwater. If the previous generation of Japanese MP3 players was for swimming pools, the four hundredth series allows you to get into the sea.
The main distinguishing feature is the presence of the Bluetooth module. It allows you to pair with smartphones and other external devices. Besides, there is a remote control. The device is securely protected from dust, dirt, and even water. In general, the player itself looks like ordinary headphones.
There are two small cups and a headband. At the same time, the headphones go deep enough into the ear canals.
Thus, you will be able to hear all the details of the melody with good clarity. Despite this, even at the largest volume, this device will not overshadow the surrounding sounds.
Depending on the package, the internal memory is 4 or 8 GB. There you can download a decent number of music tracks even at very high quality.
For example, in FLAC format. In standalone mode, when turned on at full volume, this device can work for about 12 hours.
Moreover, it even has a quick charge function. The sound quality is quite high, there are many branded settings. Any genre, from classical music to modern house, blues, rap, and other types will be played well.
The second generation of budget FIIO brand players got the “adult” filling and learned a couple of interesting tricks. The processor became more powerful. It is able to work not only with high-resolution audio formats but also with DSD64 streams.
This added to the universality of the gadget. Especially if you remember that M3K can also serve as a USB DAC. The conversion of digital/analog in the player is done by a modern DAC AK4376A with a built-in amplifier.
The model is small in size, so you can easily put it in your pocket of any size. The case of the product is aluminum, tempered glass covers the front side. Only the top and bottom end pieces are of plastic.
This does not affect either the appearance or strength of the device. The design is performed either in silver or black. All side corners are round. The weight of the product is 77 grams, so it will not interfere with the movement.
All the keys on the front of the touch screen, also provide a vertical navigation bar. As the basis of the device here is a microchip AK4376A. It has 32-bit decoding, has its own amplifier with 25 mW. In the sound area, there are certain elevations of the lower and upper parts of the range.
The first adds the intensity of percussion and bass instruments. Due to this fact it is possible to achieve a winning sound for electronics and acoustics. Firmware works very fast, navigation works in seconds. Extra features include the presence of a five-band EQ. It supports absolutely all known music formats.
This model stands out for its premium appearance and long battery life on a single charge. This player is for use with sensitive in-channel headphones.
The functionality of the device is only to playback through wired “ears”. At the same time, the player does not contribute anything extra to the played material.
Except for Cowon chip, which is a package of sound effects JetEffect. True audiophiles will pass by it. Otherwise, music lovers will appreciate it without any complaints. What else Plenue J will please its owner with is a decent amount of built-in memory.
This player has a luxurious appearance. The end parts are polished aluminum. It has high durability, shockproof glass covers the front side. The back panel is of ribbed plastic. It protects the construction from slipping out of hands.
There is a connector on the top of the product. It is for a headphone connection. On the left side, there are micro-USB cable and microSD memory card slots. Their largest capacity can be 128 GB. The diagonal of the touch screen is 2.8 inches.
The operating system is based on Linux and has a battery capacity of 1050 mAh. And in standalone mode, the device can operate for about 57 hours. The interface is logical and very clear. Moreover, there is a multi-channel equalizer. It allows you to choose the best sound and save the selected settings.
The player is able to recognize absolutely all available music formats. It supports .avi, .3gp, .mpeg4 and some other video formats. The resolution of the display is not too high, so it does not consume too much power, which saves the player.
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This player looks very original. Although it is not equipped with a large touch screen, unlike most similar designs. The display here is small in size, but it is quite bright.
Everything on it will be perfectly visible even in direct sunlight. Besides, its small size significantly saves charging. It is monochrome and has a light blue backlight.
You can adjust the brightness manually if necessary. The body itself is metal, which only adds practicality to the product. It will not be scratched or covered with a layer of dirt even in adverse conditions.
The quality of the assembly is also quite high. Almost all buttons are slightly protruding from the edge of the device. So they can be easily detected by touch. On one side there is a removable cover under which there is the USB connector. The player itself has a small size.
The sound is quite acceptable and there is a lot of fine-tuning. The product is able to work with many formats. There is a playback memory. So the next time you turn on the player, playback will start from where you left off last time.
XDUOO X3II AK4490
Despite the fact that the design of this player has some clumsiness, its filling is very high quality. The case is of high-quality aluminum alloy of high strength.
Thus, it is almost impossible to damage it even with aggressive daily use. Still, it is very convenient to use this product. All buttons and switches are analog. The control wheel has a decent dimension.
The menu is characterized by intuitiveness, which gives this gadget a significant advantage. On the front panel, you can find a fairly large display, the diagonal of which is 2 inches.
It is very bright, has an anti-reflective coating. So all the information will be very visible even on a very sunny day. The viewing angles are narrow but this is quite normal.
Underneath the screen, there are several buttons. They are responsible for menu navigation and playback control. On the upper side of the model, there is a micro-USB cable connector and a power button. On the left is a volume button and two memory card slots. Each of them can have a capacity of up to 128 GB.
There are not too many items on the menu – you will not have to deal with them for a long time. You can appreciate all the advantages of the player’s sound with full-size headphones. The sound is thick enough, well divided into plans. The bass line is a little bit embedded, which gives the music extra interest. It has an accentuated emphasis, and the medium and high tones are spelled out clearly enough.
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LUXURY&PRECISION L3 PRO
It is a recognized leader among premium class products by most parameters. The company that manufactures this player, specializes in the manufacture of such devices.
That’s why everything here is thought out as carefully as possible with the convenience of the user. The case is of aluminum, the panel is carbon fiber.
The weight is insignificant, the dimensions are quite acceptable. All elements of the design are reliably matched to each other. There are no even the slightest backlashes or creaks when pressing on the body.
There are three buttons on the upper part. One for switching on, and two programmable, the user can choose their destination. Volume control here is step by step.
The screen here is touch-screen, all its elements are quite large. So it is convenient to press them even in cold seasons. The viewing angles for the player are quite wide. In the sun, you can see everything quite acceptable. The interface is simple; you will be able to understand it in a few minutes.
Firmware is characterized by a stable operation. The battery provides about 10 hours of work at the largest volume. The sound is simply excellent in many respects due to the quality of channel separation. The bass does not block other frequencies.
FAQ for portable music players buyers:
How to turn off the portable player?
With the hold button released, press the stop button to stop playback. Once playback has stopped, the portable player will turn off automatically in approximately 10 seconds when using battery power, or in approximately 3 minutes when using the AC power adapter (if applicable).
Ability to expand the memory of the player with memory cards
The number of songs that the player will accommodate depends on the volume of each song. If you consider that the volume of one track is approximately 4 Mb, you can easily calculate that 1 GB will include 200-300 songs. If the player’s memory is catastrophically lacking, then some models have the ability to expand the memory with memory cards.
How to clear the memory of the player?
Player memory is cleared either by formatting data, or simply deleting files and folders (these functions can be found in the player menu) or through a computer (in some models) through a special program that comes with the package.
How is music organized in the player, can I create folders?
In most cases, you can create playlists or just copy music directly into folders that will define your player.