If you're looking for a no-nonsense, great-sounding player the Cowon Plenue 1 is pretty hard to beat.
If you hate iTunes, the SanDisk Clip Jam is the best bargain music player you can buy.
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.
It's been a while since an MP3 (or rather, ATRAC) player impressed us this much. Sony has nailed the small-form player and delivered everything you could hope for. Aside from the typically pointless SonicStage software, this is a master stroke
It has none of the elegance of Apple's equivalent iPod Shuffle, but it's cheaper and has some very useful features, including a built-in screen, FM radio and recording capabilities. Minor concerns aside, the NWZ-B142F is good performer with an attractive price tag.
The Sony Walkman NWZ-E453 isn't quite as slick or good-looking as its iPod rivals, but its simplicity, affordability and portability make it a worthy competitor none the less. Overall, it's a winner.
This could be the best Samsung MP3 player to date. Not only is it remarkably affordable at £99 for 16GB, but support for lossless FLAC audio, BBC iPlayer, FM radio, drag and drop file management and a cracking little screen, means it's going on our list of Samsung successes
The YP-U1 won't be up for any awards, but it's a competent player with plenty to offer the casual listener. Though sticklers for sound quality will be underwhelmed by the output, if you're looking for a data USB key with a little extra kick, the business-like U1 should make the commute more bearable
An excellent MP3 player with loads of features and great sound quality. The rubber wheel is a bit weird to use, but with lossless format support, many people will be prepared to get used to it
The Archos 405 is an attractive and affordable portable media player for those on a budget. It offers good sound quality and supports high-quality video, but the screen isn't anywhere near as good as it could be. If you can't afford the Archos 605, this may be what you're looking for
Good things sometimes come in daft packages. The Sony Walkman NWZ-W202's comfortable fit, ear-pleasing audio and rock-solid build quality more than compensate for its laughable Zappin song-navigation system and Bluetooth headset-esque styling. It's a great alternative to the iPod shuffle for anyone who values sound quality over minuscule dimensions
The Sony Walkman NWZ-A846 is a great audio player with a useful noise-cancellation feature and a brilliant OLED screen. It's expensive, but it's definitely worth a look.
The Panasonic SC-PMX2DB isn't exactly an exceptional sounding micro system, but it has a good range of features for the price and we like the way you can expand it in the future with plug-in modules
The Apple iPod nano 6th gen is a great product for rich people who use the gym. For everyone else, the iPod shuffle and iPod touch offer better value for money.
The most beautiful MP3 player we've seen since the nano, with incredible video playback and superb battery life. Sadly, though, the SonicStage software still drags down usability
120GB of storage and the addition of the Genius feature, makes up for the slightly reduced battery life over the previous model, reaffirming the iPod classic as our favourite portable audio player on record
Apple has not only exceeded our expectations, it's exceeded ones we didn't even have. The iPod classic is a superb audio player with a huge wealth of well-integrated features and intuitive navigation. Our only real concern is that menus can be laggy. Apart from that, outstanding
The Cowon D3 Plenue media player offers great video and audio quality. Unfortunately, its tweaked Android 2.3 Gingerbread software is buggy, making the device frustrating to use and difficult to recommend.