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Best MP3 players

Consumer Reports Ratings for Best MP3 players

Best MP3 players

We tested 13 mp3 players to determine the best-performing models. Our expert lab technicians tested each MP3 player based on the following criteria:

  • Depth (in.)
  • Weight (oz.)
  • Headphone quality
  • Still picture quality
  • Motion video quality
  • Damage resistance
  • Ease of use
  • Width (in.)
  • Audio playback time (hr.)
  • Video playback time (hr.)
  • Height (in.)

Below lists the MP3 players that rated best in each of the tests our experts looked for. Learn about how these tests were performed and find out which MP3 player is rated best when you subscribe.

Consumer Reports Ratings for Best MP3 players

Best MP3 player for Depth (in.)

The player's depth is measured to the nearest tenth of an inch, and listed the way the player would be oriented if you were viewing the screen.


This MP3 player which tested best for Depth (in.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, FM radio, Built-in microphone, Equalizer, Data storage, Miscellaneous features and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Weight (oz.)

How much the player weighs in ounces, including batteries but not including accessories. For models with no internal memory, the memory card is included.


This MP3 player which tested best for Weight (oz.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Data storage and Miscellaneous features.

Best MP3 player for Headphone quality

Headphone quality reflects judgments from a listening panel comparing the player and its supplied headphone to a test audio CD and a high-fidelity headphone. All uncompressed (audio CD or WAV) test music sources were ripped (encoded) to MP3 format (128, 192, and 256 kbps CBR rate) using a high-quality encoder.


This MP3 player which tested best for Headphone quality has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Built-in microphone, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Still picture quality

Picture quality is based on evaluation of the player in indoor and outdoor setting, plus the display's viewing angle.


This MP3 player which tested best for Still picture quality has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Built-in microphone, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Motion video quality

Motion video quality is based on evaluation of the player in indoor and outdoor setting, plus the display's viewing angle.


This MP3 player which tested best for Motion video quality has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Built-in microphone, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Damage resistance

Damage resistance mainly reflects drop-test results; scratch- and wipe-resistance results were also considered.


This MP3 player which tested best for Damage resistance has the following features: Audio playback format, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, FM radio, Built-in microphone, Equalizer, Data storage, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Ease of use

Ease of use mainly covers player characteristics that aid in convenience, versatility, and portability. These primarily include navigation and scrolling features; the accessibility and readability of the controls; and the readability and breadth of the information in the display (such as music-track data and battery-life indicator); size and weight; and ease of use while walking or jogging. Some features and capabilities considered include the presence of an FM radio, built-in microphone, upgradeable firmware, equalizer, data storage, software assessment, and the player's ability to be recognized as a hard drive by the computer without the installation of additional drivers.


This MP3 player which tested best for Ease of use has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Built-in microphone, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Width (in.)

The player's width is measured to the nearest tenth of an inch, and listed the way the player would be oriented if you were viewing the screen.


This MP3 player which tested best for Width (in.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, FM radio, Built-in microphone, Equalizer, Data storage, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Best MP3 player for Audio playback time (hr.)

Audio playback time (hours) reflects lab measurements of continuous playback time to the nearest hour, using a selection of music tracks encoded to MP3 format at a 128 kbps constant bit rate (CBR); fully charged rechargeable batteries; backlight at the minimum setting; with included headphone; and volume set at a reasonable level. For players that can use standard batteries such as alkaline, expect a bit longer playback time. Our measurements should not be compared with those stated by the manufacturer, which may use different testing methods and criteria.


This MP3 player which tested best for Audio playback time (hr.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, FM radio, Built-in microphone, Equalizer, Data storage and Miscellaneous features.

Best MP3 player for Video playback time (hr.)

Video playback time (hours) reflects lab measurements of continuous video playback time to the nearest hour with fully charged rechargeable batteries. Our measurements should not be compared with those stated by the manufacturer, which may use different testing methods and criteria.


This MP3 player which tested best for Video playback time (hr.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, FM radio, Equalizer, Data storage and Miscellaneous features.

Best MP3 player for Height (in.)

The player's height is measured to the nearest tenth of an inch, and listed the way the player would be oriented if you were viewing the screen.


This MP3 player which tested best for Height (in.) has the following features: Audio playback format, Mac compatible, Color display, Expansion memory format, Display size H x W (in.), Battery rechargeable, Video playback, Slideshow capability, Built-in microphone, Volume limiter, Equalizer, Miscellaneous features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.