The days of clunky MP3 players with easily-breakable controls seem to be in the past. While it is still possible to find basic MP3 players at the budget end of the market, most high end models now include touch-screen controls and the ability to watch videos and run apps as well as play music. When connected to the wireless internet, these apps and extras are completely free to run (unlike a smart-phone, which requires a data plan to work). For many people, in fact, these muscular and high tech touch-screen MP3 players are a stand-in for a smart-phone (and an excuse to hang on to their dumb-phone and cheap monthly talk and text cell phone plan).
Do you want to sleekness and features of a touch-screen MP3 player? Here are your best options
Samsung Galaxy Player
This device, which comes in three different sizes, is the main competition for the iPod. The Galaxy Player looks like a Galaxy cell phone, expect for the fact that you cannot make calls. It has an Android operating system, so it can run apps from the Android marketplace. Yes, this is a music player, but it can do a lot more (pretty much anything that a Galaxy cell phone can do except make calls and send texts). A choice of 3.6, 4.2 and 5 inch screens makes it possible for people to find a player in their price range. The Android features are attractive, but people who expect the device to work seamlessly with things like iTunes will be disappointed and will have to install third-party apps to transfer their music library to the Galaxy Player. Nonetheless, this is a great option for people looking for a touch-screen alternative to the iPod Touch.
The iPod Touch
The iPod has long been the standard by which other MP3 touch-screen players are measured. How good another player is depends on how well it stacks up to the iPod. Some players (like the aforementioned Galaxy) have come close, but no one has yet produced an “iPod killer.” The current 5th generation of iPod has market leading features. It works seamlessly with Apple’s powerful apps and can offer people access to the Apple marketplace even if they don’t have an iPhone. A great camera, video camera and, of course, great music playing features, make this a true standout amongst touch-screen MP3 players. The one problem that some people complain about is the fact that they are tied to the Apple marketplace for apps. However, if you mainly consider this an entertainment device, then the lack of Android-like flexibility is not really an issue, since iTunes is the best music managing tool in the world.
Sony Android Powered Touch Screen Walkman
Sony offers the only other device that can really truly challenge the iPod and Galaxy. This device has Sony’s almost legendary music playing capabilities. The brand that dominated the market in the pre-iPod days is still in the game thanks to this new touch-screen offering. It has a 4.3 inch screen, so it can be used to watch movies as well as listen to music. This Walkman can be more-easily connected to larger screens as well, a great feature for people who want to use their device to show videos on their TV or to play music through their home sound system. This makes this Sony a great choice for those who want to be able to easily use their device with the home entertainment system that they already have (without having to buy additional connectors or special docking stations). With a price tag that sits under $200, the Walkman is competitive with the other two media players on this list in terms of price as well as in terms of functionality.