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Christmas Gift Guide
MP3 Players

Best MP3 players of 2006

We settle on our top six picks from 2006.

2006 was a good year for MP3 players. Devices got sleeker, more colourful and saw higher-res video, Wi-Fi and even a player that moonlit as a universal TV remote.

At Apple's September showcase, we saw updated iPods and the debut of the world's smallest portable audio player. Rumours of a Microsoft-made iPod competitor were proven true, as the Zune launched in the United States. There's still no sign of the player down here in Oz, but after waiting two years for our own iTunes Store, we've learnt that patience really is a virtue.

It's been difficult to choose, but we've managed to settle on our six favourite players from 2006. First up is the iRiver Clix, which impressed us with its unique, addictively clickable design. Next are two siblings from the iPod family -- say what you will about Apple and its dominance of the portable audio market, but these products are popular for a reason. Adding to the line-up is Samsung's slim and sexy YP-T9 and Toshiba's gigabeat S30, which, with the transition to a Media Center operating system, wins the "most improved interface" award. Last on the list is Creative's Zen V Plus, which is so darn cute we just want to love it and squeeze it and call it George.

We hope it's been a good year for the digital audio fiends out there. Here's to an even more impressive parade of shiny new portable players in 2007.


iRiver Clix
iRiver Clix

Think of pop queen Pink's unique combo of sass, good looks and smarts. The iRiver Clix is the portable audio equivalent.

Apple iPod (updated fifth generation, 80GB)
Apple iPod (updated fifth generation, 80GB)

The new "enhanced" iPod looks like a tremendous improvement over the last one, with a brighter screen and better battery life.

Apple iPod Nano (2nd generation, 4GB)
Apple iPod Nano (2nd generation, 4GB)

Apple's second generation iPod Nano looks and feels better than the original, and comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions.

Samsung YP-T9
Samsung YP-T9

Despite a few minor issues, the stylish Samsung YP-T9 is a no-brainer: it's easy to use, packed with features, and sounds fantastic. What more could you ask for?

Toshiba gigabeat S30
Toshiba gigabeat S30

Those turned off by previous gigabeat players' messy interface should take a look at this Portable Media Center model, which shows a huge improvement in the usability stakes.

Creative Zen V Plus (2GB)
Creative Zen V Plus (2GB)

Small, smooth, colourful and charming; the Zen V Plus is the cutest MP3 player Creative has come up with so far.