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.
Western Digital WD TV Media Player ( 2014)
While not for everyone, the WD TV's adroit playback of video and music files makes it the perfect living room box for people with large digital media collections.
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.
Uebo M200 Media Player
Priced competitively with similar products, the M200 is a great networked media streamer for the do-it-yourself content guru.
HP DreamScreen 130 ( 13-inch)
The HP DreamScreen is a decent a photo frame and Pandora Internet radio, but it's weighed down by several lukewarm features and an interface that demands patience.
Wetern Digital Mini
If you don't already own an Xbox 360, PS3, or Blu-ray player and you're serious about networked streaming, the WD TV Live is one of your best choices for getting content to your TV.
Sony W-Series Walkman ( 2GB, black)
If you're looking for a sweat-resistant, all-in-one solution for rocking out at the gym, the Sony W-Series Walkman will provide just that.
The Zoom Q3 is long on audio features, but short on video quality, but it fills a niche for musicians and avid concertgoers who may prize sound above all other considerations.
Pricing not available
Haier America Video MP3 Player ( 8GB)
The Haier America Video MP3 Player is nothing special, but the shuffle works a treat.
Zune HD ( 32GB, platinum)
The Zune HD delivers one of the best portable music and video experiences money can buy. At a time when many people have shifted their focus to games and applications, providing a killer media experience may not be enough for potential Zune buyers.
Apple iPod Nano ( fifth generation, 16GB, yellow)
No other MP3 player on the planet packs more features, from video to a pedometer, into a smaller package than the overachieving Apple iPod Nano.
Apple iPod Touch ( third generation, 8GB)
Though the updates are subtle, the third-generation iPod Touch still leaves its competitors in the dust.