Hard Drive MP3 Player Review


Why Buy a Hard Drive MP3 Player?

Large capacity MP3 players can play full length movies, mobilize thousands of songs and pictures, and can store and transfer data. These players are different than flash or sports players that have flash drives; these players have a more traditional hard drive and offer an average of 160GB of storage.

So what can you do with an MP3 Player?

  • Watch Movies – Many portables can play some video, but these large capacity players can easily store and play full-length feature films. Additionally, many of them can connect to projectors or televisions so you can share your entertainment.
  • View Images – These players are popular with professional photographers because they are smaller than laptops yet can store thousands of images. So if you are on the road, you can store an entire vacation's worth of images from your camera onto your player without a computer.
  • Listen to Music – MP3 players, of course, play mp3 audio files. They also play a variety of other file types offered through popular music download services like iTunes, Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, Wal-Mart Music and Napster. Some also have integrated FM tuners.
  • Store Data – Nobody wants to walk around with an external hard drive in their pocket though they might need data storage. Many MP3 players can store data files so it can be used as a portable storage device.
  • Record/Import – With an MP3 player you can record almost anything. Not all players record everything, but many can record from a line-in, FM radio or a mic, can import files through a USB port, or directly from another device like a camera.
  • Have Fun – Even though these little players are powerful and can store and transfer massive amounts of data, you can have fun with them by creating slideshows, playing games, listening to audio books or podcasts, watching humorous clips and much more.

There are a wide variety of players available; the hard drive MP3 players we looked at for this review are large capacity players (more than 30GB) that do not have flash hard drives. Currently, there are many to choose from, and they all offer different features, so there are a few things to consider before purchase, such as:

  • Memory – Hard drive MP3 players come in sizes ranging from 30 to 160GB. If you only want to play and store music and some pictures, than 30GB may be enough. If you want to store large volumes of images and music and some video look at the players in the 60 to 80GB range. If you are a professional photographer or videographer or want to use your player as a portable storage device for large volumes of data, check out the large capacity 100 to 160GB players.
  • Display – Some hard drive MP3 players cannot display images or video; if you just want to store music this will work for you. But if you want to see album art or watch music videos you will want a decent display. If you are going to use your screen to supplement your digital camera you may want a high quality display (320x240 or more).
  • Formats – Music and video download services offer files in different formats. You may want to investigate which service you like before you select a hard drive MP3 player. Keep in mind that iPods are most compatible with iTunes and that other players are compatible with Windows Media files and all players can play MP3 files.
  • Record/Upload Ability – Some hard drive MP3 players can record from a line-in or from the FM tuner, and many cannot directly upload from a camera without additional accessories. If you need any of these options you will want to look for a player that can satisfy these requirements.

In this site, you'll find articles related to MP3 Players, as well as comprehensive reviews and a side-by-side comparison to help you make an informed decision on which player is right for your media needs. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™

What to Look for in a Hard Drive MP3 Player

Since these players are a bit pricey, before you purchase you may want to carefully look through our product comparison to find a player that has the features you need and read the review to help make an informed decision. Additionally, consider which extras you may need to purchase to get the hard drive MP3 player to do what you want.

Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate MP3 Players:

These are the portables' primary features, including what they can play and display, what they can record from and their time management tools. The best MP3 players can play music, radio and video, can display pictures and text, and can record from any source.

Music Formats
The most practical mp3 flash players can play an assortment of music formats including MP3, wma and wav. iPods are the only players that usually support aac and aiff.

Picture Formats
Typical players can display jpg images, but the best also support other formats like bmp, gif and tiff.

Video Formats
Practically all of the hard drive MP3 players that can display video are compatible with mp4 or wmv files. The most flexible players also play other video formats such as mov, xvid and divx without conversion.

Physical Features
Physical features include size, look and type of controls. We also looked at screen size, resolution and signal to noise ratio.

Customer service is crucial to customer satisfaction; accommodating manufacturers provide several ways to contact the company, including email, telephone or chat. It is also helpful if they post online extensive product information and useful downloads.

Electronics » MP3 Players » Hard Drive MP3 Player
Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Apple iPod Classic Zune 120 ARCHOS 7 Archos 5 Archos 705 Zune 30 Archos 504 Apple Ipod Video 80GB Creative Zen Vision 60GB Archos 604 Wifi 30 GB
Apple iPod Classic Zune 120 ARCHOS 7 Archos 5 Archos 705 Zune 30 Archos 504 Apple Ipod Video 80GB Creative Zen Vision 60GB Archos 604 Wifi 30 GB
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Lowest Price
Visit Apple iPod Classic Classic 160GB
Visit Zune 120 120 (3rd gen.)
Visit ARCHOS 7 7 160GB
Visit Archos 5 5 250GB
Visit Archos 705 705 WiFi 80GB
Visit Zune 30 30  (1st Gen.)
Visit Archos 504 504 40GB
Visit Apple Ipod Video 80GB MA448LL/A
Visit Creative Zen Vision 60GB 70PF204000000
Visit Archos 604 Wifi 30 GB 500872
Storage Capacity 160 GB 120 GB 160 GB 250 GB 80 GB 30 GB 40 GB Built-in 80 GB Hard disk drive 61 GB 30 GB
Song Capacity 40000 30000 95000   9500 7500 10000 20000 15000 7500
Battery Type Lithium ion Lithium ion Lithium ion Lithium polymer Rechargeable Internal Lithium polymer Rechargeable Internal Lithium ion Lithium ion Lithium ion Lithium ion Lithium ion
Battery Life 36 hrs. 30 hrs. 39 hrs. 12 hrs. 25 hrs. 13 hrs. 17 hrs. 20 hrs. 17 hrs. 16 hrs.
MP3 Screen Size 2.5 in. 3.2 in. 7.0 in. 4.3 in. 7.0 in. 3.0 in. 4.3 in. LCD 2.5 in 2.5 inch TFT 4.3 in - Color
Display Resolution 320 x 240 320 x 240 800 x 480 320 x 240 800 x 480 320 x 240 480 x 272 320 x 240 320 x 240 480 x 272
  None None
FM Tuner  
Touch Screen  
   No No
Audio Equalizer
Audio File Formats ACC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, Audible AAC, MP3, WMA MP3, WMA, WAV, AC3 AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, ADPCM MP3, PCM, WAV, WMA, ADPCM, Protected WMA (DRM) AAC, MP3, WMA AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, AC-3 AAC, MP3, AAC, MP3, WAV MP3 MP3
Video File Formats H.264, AAC, MPEG-4 WMV, MPEG-4 MPEG-4, WMV, M-JPEG MPEG-4 WMV, MPEG-4 MPEG-4 MPEG-4 MPEG-4 MPEG-4 MPEG-4
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year   1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year   1 Year 1 Year
MP3 Width 2.4 in. 2.4 in. 4.3 in. 5.0 in. 7.0 in. 2.4 in. 5.1 in. 2.4 in 2.4 in. 5.2 in
MP3 Height 4.1 in. 4.3 in. 4.3 in. 3.1 in. 5.0 in. 4.4 in. 3.0 in. 4.1 in. 4.1 in. 3.1 in
MP3 Depth 0.6 in. 0.5 in. 0.6 in. 0.5 in. 0.8 in. 0.6 in. 0.7 in. 0.55 in. 0.87 in. 0.7 in.
MP3 Weight 5.7 oz. 4.5 oz. 2.3 oz. 8.8 oz. 22.0 oz. 5.6 oz. 11.2 oz. 5.5 oz. 6.9 oz. 10.23 oz.