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.

This story, "Top 10 Music Players" was originally published by PCWorld.

To comment on this article and other TechHive content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.