The second-generation, 80GB Zune from Microsoft offers tremendous value for the money, as well as innovative features such as wireless sync, RBDS FM radio information, Wi-Fi music sharing, and subscription music support (Zune Pass). We know the Zune name was dragged through the mud last year, but the second-generation Zune 80 does not disappoint.
Apple's iPod Touch is expensive, but there's no beating it when it comes to design and features. Wi-Fi applications such as e-mail, Web browsing, maps, weather forecasting, and wireless music downloads from Apple's iTunes store, put the iPod Touch on the bleeding edge of portable media players. With its 3.5-inch screen and support for iTunes movie rentals, TV shows, and video podcasts, the iPod Touch is the most video-friendly iPod yet.
One of the first flash-memory players to break into the 16GB range, the Creative Zen V Plus packs a monster wallop into an ultracompact space, and the vivid OLED display is viewable from any angle. Features include an FM radio, voice, and line-in recording, photo and video playback, and compatibility with subscription WMA tracks.
The iRiver Clix is the perfect slim and sleek MP3 player for those who find the iPod Nano too stifling, but the Toshiba Gigabeat too bulky. This player comes packed with extras such as an FM radio; a voice recorder; an alarm clock; support for subscription content as well as OGG and Audible files; and photo, video, and text viewing. The Clix includes SRS Wow sound effects, it has good battery life, and it's priced competitively.
The Sony NWZ-A810 offers a fantastic display, a sleek design and interface, and a stellar battery life--plus, it's one of the few MP3 players that sound great right out of the box, thanks to Sony including some high-quality MDR-EX082 earbuds in the package. The player itself has a high-quality, metallic build with a chromelike strip surrounding the edge. The overall look is more elegant than flashy, so it may not turn heads, but users with an appreciation for understatement will like the style.
The Cowon iAudio 7 is one of the most versatile MP3 players available. It plays music, video, and photos; has unbeatable sound quality; records line-in, voice, and FM; supports OGG and FLAC file formats, plus DRM-protected WMA; works in MTP and MSC connection modes for use on both Mac and PC; and has an unmatched rechargeable battery life.
The sleek, durable Samsung YP-T9 has a user-friendly interface and is packed with features: photo viewing, video playback, gaming capabilities, voice recording, and subscription music support. It sounds great, looks hot, and has an impressive battery life.
The SanDisk Sansa Clip offers impressive sound quality; an ultracompact, gym-friendly design with a removable belt clip; and useful features such as an FM radio and Rhapsody DNA integration. Plus, all of this comes at an incredible value, since the player is very inexpensive ($40) and easy to use.
If you're looking for an MP3 player that also makes for a fantastic portable video player, the Archos 605 WiFi is one of the best values around. With it's touch screen interface, gorgeous high-resolution screen, and integrated wireless video and music downloads, the Archos 605 WiFi is one of the best portable distractions money can buy. If you frequently find yourself on the road or in the air with nothing to do, consider the 605 a must-have.