Cowon Plenue 1
If you're looking for a no-nonsense, great-sounding player the Cowon Plenue 1 is pretty hard to beat.
The PonoPlayer is an inherently likeable portable music player that delivers excellent high-end sound, but its quirky design and lackluster battery life leave us waiting for the second generation -- or a price cut.
Available from the manufacturer.
Sony Walkman NW-ZX2
The Sony Walkman NW-ZX2 is a luxury portable high-res audio player with Android streaming apps, a premium build and excellent sound, but its high price may be too much for all but the most dedicated music lovers.
The Samsung Galaxy Muse is quite possibly the most awkwardly designed MP3 player ever made.
Apple iPod Classic ( third generation, 160GB, silver)
The iPod Classic refines the formula that put the iPod on the map. None can match its combination of storage capacity, battery life, and intuitive user interface.
Apple iPod Touch ( 4th generation, 16GB, black)
The fourth-gen iPod Touch is Apple's second-best portable media player, with a price that will help you forget about No. 1.
Apple iPod Shuffle ( 2012, red)
The Apple iPod Shuffle is an adorable way to take your favorite songs on the go, but sometimes it's too small for its own good.
Apple iPod Touch ( 5th generation, 64GB, black)
The latest iPod Touch is the best iPod ever, and as close to a phoneless iPhone 5 as you can get -- but its high price makes it a tough call versus cheaper tablets with larger screens.
Apple iPod Nano ( seventh generation, red)
The seventh-generation iPod Nano is an incredibly compact portable media player with gym-friendly features, but it's overshadowed by the superior value of Apple's iPod Shuffle and fourth-generation iPod Touch.
Eton Grundig G2 Reporter
The Eton Grundig G2 Reporter is more than just a little portable radio, but it has some drawbacks to consider before you buy.
Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 ( black)
When it comes to competing with Apple's iPod Touch media player, the Galaxy Player 4.2 is Samsung's best effort yet, but it's still playing catch-up.
Philips GoGear Connect 3
The Philips GoGear Connect 3 is a fun idea, cut short by cheap specs and a relatively high price.
Sony Walkman Z ( 8GB)
The Walkman Z is Sony's iPod Touch for Android-loving audiophiles.
Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0
Samsung delivers Android's answer to the iPod Touch at a time when you can spend less for Android's answer to the iPad.
Apple iPod Touch 2011 ( 64GB, white)
The iPod Touch is the best iPod yet, offering all the fun of the iPhone experience without a carrier contract or monthly bill.
SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip ( white, 4GB)
SanDisk's tongue-twister of an MP3 player is a stupefying value and its practical clip-on design is perfect for the gym.
Pure Oasis Flow
The Pure Oasis Flow is a strong portable effort, but its shortcomings keep it from satisfying as a complete Wi-Fi radio package.
SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ MP3 ( black, 16GB)
You can find smaller or cheaper MP3 players, but you won't find a better value than the Sansa Fuze+ in terms of dollars per features.
Apple iPod Nano 2011 ( 16GB, orange)
The sixth generation of the iPod Nano is the smallest yet, but it comes at the expense of valuable features and practical controls.
Apple iPod Shuffle 2011 ( 2GB, blue)
The iPod Shuffle's buttons are back, and the lightest, smallest MP3 player on the planet is now better than ever.