There’s huge variety of MP3 players available right now that would make great Mother’s Day gifts, from tiny gadgets that nearly disappear when you clip them to your shirt, to handheld multimedia marvels. In this article, we’ve rounded up an assortment of portable media players and we've also included key accessories for each model. The MP3 players are organized by size, starting with the smallest. Several accessories are mentioned at the end to give you more ideas on how your mom can use and wear her new device.
Ultra Compact MP3 Players
When the topic is MP3 players, it’s wise to acknowledge the 800-pound gorilla in the room right away. Apple is the undisputed king of this category. The world simply hasn’t been the same since its iPod products exploded in popularity in the mid 2000s. The simplest (and most affordable) iPod is the iPod shuffle. It doesn’t have a screen, just a few buttons and volume controls. It’s incredibly compact, and an integrated clip allows you to attach it to your clothing. It’s called a shuffle because it can randomly select the song it’s going to play next, or you can play the songs in the order that you have them in your iTunes Playlist. The iPod shuffle has a 2GB capacity (enough space for hundreds of songs) and it’s available in Pink, Orange, Green, Blue and Silver. This model is a favorite among people who exercise, so if you like to jog in the rain or walk along beside the crashing waves on the beach, you may also want an H2O Audio Amphibx waterproof armband (which is compatible with most of the ultra compact MP3 players in this article).
Another item that looks more like a high-tech brooch than a media device is the Archos Clipper MP3 Player. With a total weight of just 0.49 oz (14 grams), the Clipper offers 2GB of internal storage, 11 hours of battery life and a high-speed USB 2.0 port. A true MP3 player (other file formats are not compatible), the Clipper features a built-in clothing clip and an attractive price tag. [[nid:7706]] When you don’t feel like listening to your favorite songs with the included earphones, you can hook the Clipper up to the optional Altec Lansing IM227 Orbit Speaker (sold separately), a self-powered speaker that’s really compact as well.
If you prefer devices with screens, check out the iPod nano. You can easily navigate to specific songs and Playlists, look at photos and even listen to FM radio. Like the iPod shuffle, the iPod nano is extremely compact and lightweight, and features an integrated clip. It’s available in Pink, Orange, Green, Blue and Silver, in capacities of 8 and 16GB. The iPod nano is so small that many people use them as watches. B&H sells many different watchband accessories that were made specifically for this model.
Average-Sized MP3 Players
Coming in at just an inch larger than the other offerings, but still boasting the ever-popular integrated clip, is the Sandisk Sansa Clip+. It provides 15 hours of battery life, a digital FM tuner with 40 presets, a built-in microphone for recording voice memos and a bright OLED screen. A 4GB version is available in Purple, Red, White, Blue and Black, and another version in black is available in 2GB and 8GB capacities. In addition to its internal memory, the Clip+ also features a micro-SD expansion slot (which is compatible with micro-SDHC cards), so you can add several more gigs of storage for just a few more dollars.
The iPod touch is essentially an iPhone without the phone. It’s capable of being an amazing portable media player for listening to music and audio books, for watching movies and videos on its 3.5” multi-touch Retina display, and for shooting movies with its built-in HD video and photo camera. With a Wi-Fi connection, you can surf the Web and access all of the incredible apps available in Apple’s App Store. Like all iPods, the iPod touch is both Mac and Windows compatible, provided that you connect via iTunes. It’s available in Black and White as well as in 8-, 32- and 64GB capacities. An awesome accessory for the iPod touch is the Bose SoundLink Mobile Speaker. The iPod touch makes a wireless Bluetooth connection with the Bose SoundLink, and it acts as a wireless battery-powered speaker, with incredible sound, for listening at home or out at a picnic.
For people who prefer an alternative to Apple, check out the Samsung 8GB Galaxy Player 5.0”. It’s essentially an Android smartphone without the phone. It features a generous 5” multi-touch display and runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. When you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, you can dig in to more than 250,000 apps on the Android Market, browse the Web and enjoy Adobe Flash-powered websites, as well as use popular services like Google Maps (GPS is built in), YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Stay in touch with friends and family through email and video chat through Skype, thanks to the Galaxy’s front- and rear-facing cameras. When you’re not online, the Galaxy acts as a fantastic media player for music and video, and an FM radio is built in as well. You can easily add more storage with its micro-SD card slot. Samsung also offers a separately available custom-fit case specifically for this model, as well as a desktop dock.
Some people like to have as much memory on their portable media player as possible. This way they can fit extensively large music collections and entire seasons of television shows in their shirt pocket. This is the appeal of the iPod Classic. It’s available in Black and Silver and features a mammoth 160GB capacity (that’s equivalent to 80 iPod shuffles). An excellent way to take in all of that content is with a premium pair of earbuds. All iPods come with Apple earbuds, but when you upgrade to a better pair, the sound quality and the comfort level is immensely better. A good way to go in this regard is the Audeo Perfect Fit In-Ear Stereo Headphones. They feature premium sound, over-ear cable guides (which makes them easier to put on and take off), and they come with Hearing Components Comply foam ear tips. Take our word for it, these are the most comfortable ear tips available, and are a must-have for anyone who owns a compatible set of in-ear headphones.
Now that you’ve got a cutting edge music player, you can improve the music situation in your car, too. You can connect your new portable media player to a vehicle’s cassette deck with the Sony CPA-9C. If you’ve got an iPod touch or an iPod Classic, you can play the music on your iGadget through a car radio with the Griffin iTrip. The iGadget itself can rest safely in a cup holder beside your latte with the Macally MCup Adjustable Automobile Cup Holder Mount. If you’ve got a thing for the water, a Pelican Water-Resistant Case would be a great accessory to have on your next kayaking trip. No matter what kind of MP3 player you decide to get, you can never go wrong by upgrading the ear buds, or getting some portable speakers to accompany your new device.
Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth roundup article! If you have any questions about MP3 players and their many accessories, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.