Plain old MP3 players are yesterday’s news, and Portable Media Players (PMPs) are all the rage. These babies play a whole bunch of formats, both audio and video. The also have a whole lot of applications that can be quite handy. And I’m not just talking about iPods. Every major electronics company is investing time and money into making smaller, lighter, sleeker players with larger capacities. Every new PMP comes competitively priced, and with better features; so how do you know which one to buy. This buying guide helps you decide.
The first thing you should ask yourself is what you will be using this player for. How much media do you want to carry around with you? If you like video on the go like I do, a 2 GB PMP will be of no use to you. Even if you convert the videos to a much lower resolution, you won’t be able to store much on a player with limited capacity. You should look out for a 4 or an 8 GB player if you want to carry a lot of music as well as some videos around with you. But then again, if you are a true audiophile, and want uncompressed formats, you might want to look at something even bigger.
The Transcend MP860 4 GB - A great entry level PMP @ Rs. 4,230
A good option is to look for a PMP with expandable memory. This way you can get a 4 GB player with an extra 4 GB memory card, which will work out quite cheap. This way you can put all your music on the player and the videos on the memory card, or vice versa.
When and where you use you PMP the most will dictate its size. If you like working out at the gym, a smaller, flash based player will be ideal, as a hard disk may get damaged with all that running and pumping. On the other hand, if you want a player with larger capacity, you will have to compromise a little on the size, as these are usually hard drive based, and are obviously larger than their flash drive based cousins. The same goes for players with large screens.
Display Size and Type
Ooh, it has a touch screen, you say? But don’t get carried away by that, as you also need to check a few more things before you fall for it. What’s the size of the screen? Up to what resolution does it support? This is what you should look at first. The display should be large enough to watch videos and images on, although PMPs with larger screens tend to be larger in size as well. Watching videos and images on a larger screen will be a lot better, but you have to keep in mind, that this also limits the players other uses due to its size. While the device will still be portable, it’ll definitely make a cumbersome workout buddy.
Good audio and video playback apart, what else do you want from your PMP? There’s a host of options to choose from such as FM radio, a voice recorder, flash support for games, calendar, contacts, notes and even a camera. Also check to see what kind of audio and video formats the player supports; needless to say, the more the better. Other than that, expandable memory and a resume playback function for videos will also come in handy.
A good PMP will have more than just EQ presets, as you’ll definitely need more than that if you are an audiophile. A manual EQ is what you really want so you can adjust the player’s sound to give you the best output. Of course, there are other features such as Bass Boost, but certain manufacturers like to add their own little personal touch. One good example is Creative’s X-Fi settings, ‘Crystalizer’ and ‘Expand’, which makes the sound crisper and louder. And speaking of louder, make sure that the PMP you are buying is loud and clear enough. A lot of players tend to distort at high volumes due to cheap digital to analogue converters (DAC).