An MP3 maven's favorite music gear

Editor Jasmine France rounds up her favorite MP3 players and accessories for the moment.

There are a few things I look at when considering a music gadget for personal use--OK, who am I kidding? I look at everything. But some key points top my list. One of them is design; I prefer devices that are stylish or unique in some way without sacrificing usability. Other necessary features include solid sound quality, a customizable interface, and handy features.

The 32GB Zen doesn't come in red, but if it did, that's the one I'd want.

The 32GB Creative Zen scores high in most categories. It's a high-capacity device with a slim, compact design, a large screen, and a customizable interface; it sounds fantastic; and it's a breeze to operate. It also packs in features that I really use, such as an onboard calendar and a contact list (that can by synced from Outlook), FM radio, and support for subscription music. For the gym, I prefer the SanDisk Sansa Clip, which offers a removable belt clip, a tiny chassis, and impressive sound quality. Plus, it's super friendly on the wallet and works with Macs. Finally, we have the Sony NWZ-A810, which garners my attention with its stellar audio quality and fantastic battery life. In fact, I bought this player for my brother.

The iMainGo 2 is only $40--not bad for a good portable speaker.

Of course, you can't make the most out of any MP3 player without some worthy audio accessories. For me, there are a couple that stand out from the crowd. In the $100 range, I'm really digging the Philips SHE-9850 earphones because of their solid sound quality and super sleek and small earbuds. Plus, they're super comfortable. For active pursuits, my top choice are the Sony MDR-AS50G Active Headphones. Their unique design keeps them secure on the head and they sound good, too. Finally, there's the iMainGo 2 portable speaker case, which comes in a variety of colors, fits most MP3 players, and packs a punch in the audio department without adding to much bulk to your carry-on.

 

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