Which? Christmas gift guide - top 5 MP3 playersThe best MP3 players and the ones to avoid
16 December 2010
MP3 players make a great gift. But the range on offer can be bewildering.
That’s why we’ve tested dozens of different models, from the cheapest, simplest devices to large, feature-packed players that cost hundreds of pounds.
And to make sure that no one's disappointed on Christmas morning we’ve selected our favourite models from 2010.
If you're still stuck on how to go about picking the right model, read our straightforward Which? advice on how to buy the MP3 player.
Best for gamers: Apple iPod Touch 8GB/32GB/64GB – from £189
It may have been designed as a music and video player but the iPod Touch has quickly become the most popular handheld gaming device in the world.
Graphics look incredible on the super sharp touchscreen display and you can choose from over 300,000 downloadable games and apps. You can even play against your friends using Apple’s Game Center.
Read the full Apple iPod Touch review
Best for long journeys: Cowon J3 8GB/16GB/32GB – from £169
Cowon’s MP3 players may not be as well-known as Apple’s, but this compact MP3 player impressed our experts.
It’s a great choice if you spend a lot of time travelling as the outstanding battery gives up to 63.5 hours of music playback. It’ll even last up to 10 hours when watching videos.
Read the full Cowon J3 review
Best for those on tight budgets: Sony NWZ-B152 – from £27
The Sony NWZ-B152 is a small, light MP3 player that you can plug straight into your computer – there’s no need to worry about cables.
It's very basic – it can’t show photos or videos - but it’s easy to use and is perfect for taking to gym, or as secondary player that's cheap enough to be lost or damaged.
At less than £30 it's excellent value, and it's from a brand you can trust.
Read the full Sony NWZ-B152 review
Best for gym goers: Apple iPod Shuffle – from £39
This tiny model is ideal for taking to the gym as it weighs just 12.5g. This makes it the smallest iPod ever. And at just £39, it’s also the cheapest. There’s a handy clip so you can attach it to your clothes while working out and the 2GB memory should allow you to save plenty of your favourite songs.
If you need a larger memory and want a model with a display then the iPod Nano is another option. Thought not as tiny as the Shuffle, it still only weighs a pocket-friendly 21g.
Read the full Apple iPod Shuffle review
Best for film fans: Cowon V5 8GB/16GB/32GB – from £209
This tablet type player weighs nearly 200g and has a large 11.4cm by 6.3cm screen that takes up the whole face of the player. This makes it a great choice for watching movies on the go.
It’s compatible with most common video formats so can play your favourite movies without the hassle of having to convert them first. It’s also easy to use and picture quality is extremely impressive.
Read the full Cowon V5 review
One to avoid: Alba MPK4065BUK 2BG/4GB – from £24
Finally, before you head to the shops or online retailers, check out the list of Which? Don't Buy MP3 players.
We suggest Santa steers well clear of these models, which are hard to use, have under-powered batteries and sound awful.
How to follow the latest Which? Tech news
Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.
Prefer RSS? Don't miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed.
For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.
Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared - find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up - we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 - find the best laptop deals