Top 10 Music Players

Yes, they have moving parts and disk drives that can be rattled. But hard disk-based digital music players still offer the biggest bang for your buck. Here's a list of the top hard-disk players, including mammoth and micro devices, as ranked by PC World. For more information, see PCWorld.com.

Large-Capacity Players

1. Apple iPod Photo: 30GB of internal storage; iTunes software; AAC, AIF, Apple Lossless, Audible, BMP, GIF, JPEG, MP3, TIFF, WAV formats; 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.6 inches; 5.9 ounces. This elegant player gives you all the advantages of an iPod, and it lets you tote your favorite pictures, too. Check for prices.

2. Apple iPod: 20GB of internal storage; iTunes software; AAC, AIF, Apple Lossless, Audible, MP3, WAV formats; 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.6 inches; 5.6 ounces. This unit is also a portable hard drive. It has intuitive menus and simplifies playlist creation. Battery life could be better, however. Check for prices.

3. iRiver H320: 20GB of internal storage; Windows Media Player software; ASF, JPEG, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA formats; 4.1 by 2.5 by 1.0 inches; 7.3 ounces. Great audio, dazzling color display, FM radio, and photo viewing partly offset the H320's relative bulkiness. Check for prices.

4. Creative Zen Touch: 20GB of internal storage; Creative MediaSource and Creative Media Explorer software; MP3, WAV, WMA formats; 2.7 by 4.1 by 0.9 inches; 7.0 ounces. A well-made MP3 player, the Zen Touch nonetheless lacks several features that might have helped it rival the iPod. Check for prices.

5. Archos Gmini XS200: 20GB of internal storage; ArcLibrary software; JPEG, MP3, WAV, WMA formats; 2.9 by 2.3 by 0.7 inches; 4.3 ounces. This ultracompact, no-frills unit has great sound, lets you create playlists on the go, and permits photo storage. Check for prices.

Midcapacity Players

1. Rio Carbon: 5GB of internal storage; Rio Music Manager software; Audible, MP3, WMA formats; 3.3 by 2.5 by 0.6 inches; 3.2 ounces. This sleek, ultracompact MP3 player combines a terrific, innovative design with a simple interface and a low price. Check for prices.

2. Apple iPod Mini: 6GB of internal storage; iTunes software; AAC, AIF, Apple Lossless, Audible, MP3, WAV formats; 3.6 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches; 3.6 ounces. Available in spring colors, the Mini is flashier than the bigger iPods. Its battery life is even longer than the first Mini's. Check for prices.

3. Dell Pocket DJ: 5GB of internal storage; Musicmatch software; MP3, WAV, WMA formats; 3.5 by 2.1 by 0.5 inches; 4.4 ounces. The scroll dial and Home and Back buttons support speedy navigation. Offers more capacity than the 4GB iPod Mini for the same price. Check for prices.

4. iRiver H10: 5GB of internal storage; Windows Media Player software; ASF, JPEG, MP3, WMA formats; 3.8 by 2.2 by 0.6 inches; 3.4 ounces. Versatile player sports a friendly interface on its color screen, making it a lower-capacity competitor to Apple's iPod Photo. Check for prices.

5. Creative Zen Micro: 5GB of internal storage; Creative MediaSource, Creative Media Explorer software; MP3, WAV, WMA formats; 3.3 by 2.0 by 0.7 inches; 3.8 ounces. Despite some rough edges, this highly portable player is a solid choice. Includes FM radio recording and playback. Check for prices.

Dan Sommer is a PC World senior associate editor.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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