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Cutting edge: MP3 players with built-in Wi-Fi

CNET editors round up a handful of MP3 players that offer unique wireless capabilities. Includes devices from Microsoft, Creative, and Apple.

Zune was the wireless pioneer. Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

We've come a long way since the 5GB iPod.

Today, you can find pocket-size video players, MP3 players with tiny flash drives offering up to 32GB capacities, even digital audio players built into sunglasses.

But one of the most advanced features you can find in today's MP3 players is wireless capability. This is generally split into two categories: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is the subject here, and the devices that incorporate it represent the cutting edge in MP3 players.

Zen X-Fi lets you access your music from anywhere. Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

Although every device listed here integrates 802.11b/g connectivity, not all of them use this functionality in the same way. First up is the Microsoft Zune, which lets users within range of one another share music. You can also sync content from your PC over a home wireless network.

Slightly similar to this is the Creative Zen X-Fi, which lets you hop on any Wi-Fi signal to access a centralized content library (it also throws in chat capability for good measure). Taking a different tack is the Haier America Ibiza Rhapsody, which lets Rhapsody subscribers stream and download tracks wirelessly and lets any user access content from AOL Video and do some basic Web browsing.

The iPod Touch's Web browser is innovative, fun, and unique. Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

For an unmatched Web browsing experience, we have Apple iPod Touch--its touch-sensitive screen is perfect for the task. You can also download applications, stream Internet radio, and purchase songs from the iTunes music store.

The Archos 605 WiFi offers a similar experience, but adds compatibility with video download sites such as Cinema Now for true on-the-go visual entertainment.

Finally, there's the Cowon Q5W, a beast that seems more computer than PVP.

Check out all the players in a side-by-side lineup.