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Top five MP3 players for 2017

We've reviewed the most popular MP3 players from Apple and Sony in our test lab. These are the best MP3 players of 2017.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Whether you're looking for an MP3 player to relax with on the morning commute or run through the park with, our expert, independent reviews will help you find the ideal model for you.

We've tested MP3 players from big-name brands, including Apple and Sony, so you can be sure you're spending your money on a device that's worth its price tag. Our testing proves you don't need to break the bank to pick up a top-notch MP3 player.

Read on as we take a closer look at the best MP3 players of 2017. Each is easy to use, with a host of handy features and enough internal storage for chunky music libraries. And below we've also highlighted some models to steer clear of, as they'll let you down with unclear audio and a disappointing lack of bass.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 Which? trial.

The best MP3 players of 2017

Apple iPod Nano (7th generation) 16GB
Today's best price £149.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2012
Best Buy
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

This MP3 player is highly portable and can clip onto an item of clothing if you're off on a run. It's light in your pocket and features a multi-touch display, so you can arrange your library by artist, genre or composer.

Sony NW-A25HN
Today's best price £219.99
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Best Buy
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

Although this MP3 player may be too pricey for some, it's very easy to use, with great battery life and an expandable memory, a feature you don't find on many other MP3 players.

Sony NWZ-E585
Typical price £80.00
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

You can pick this MP3 player up for less than £100. There's 16GB of memory included, and we squeezed 70 hours of battery life from it during testing. Sound quality is consistently good across a wide range of genres.

Apple iPod Touch (6th generation)
Today's best price £149.00
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
4 out of 5
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

You can use this MP3 player to browse the web while you're listening to music, and there are lots of apps available to try out. Downloading new music while you're out and about is easy.

Sony NWZ-A15
Today's best price £122.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

Battery life is where this device shines. The MP3 player's makers say you'll get 50 hours of playback on a single charge, but we managed 63 hours in total. Sound is detailed, and dragging and dropping new music onto the device is very straightforward.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our MP3 player reviews.

And here are two MP3 players to avoid

Not every MP3 player on the market will do your music collection justice. The worst models we've tested take a long time to get to grips with, can't offer up detailed sound and run out of charge far too quickly. You might be tempted to pick up a cheap MP3 player, but our testing proves that bargain buys aren't always the best option. Our extensive audio tests help us uncover the MP3 players that really don't deserve a spot in your pocket.

Below, we've rounded up some of the worst MP3 players that have passed through our test lab.

Low-scoring MP3 players

Sony NWZ-W273S
Typical price £60.00
Which? score 52%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
3 out of 5
Performance:
1 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

This MP3 player is a disappointment in the sound department and, although speech is reasonably clear, pop tracks are noticeably harsh-sounding. There's no display (which makes navigating through tracks a little tricky) and getting the earbuds to fit comfortably can be quite a challenge.

Sony SSE-BTR1
Today's best price £199.90
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Feb 2016
Don't buy
Sound quality, with supplied headphones:
1 out of 5
Performance:
1 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Memory (GB):
Member exclusive
Expandable memory:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
FM radio:
Member exclusive

Our tests prove this device simply isn't worth buying. It's a clear Don't Buy, completely lacking bass with weak speech ruining jazz tracks with scratchy audio. Your money will go further with a Best Buy.

Apple vs Sony MP3 players

If it's an MP3 player from a big-name brand you're after, it's likely you'll end up deciding between an Apple iPod and Sony Walkman.

Our rigorous testing proves that both options have their pros and cons, and there are plenty of models to choose from whether you're after a gym buddy or a commuting companion.

While several models making up the Sony Walkman range support hi-res audio (something that no iPod can manage), you won't find a dedicated app store like you would on an iPod. A Sony Walkman places far more focus on audio quality instead of 'bonus' features. Many Walkmans also offer expandable storage, whereas if you opt for an iPod you'll have to pick a device with a set amount of internal storage. Of course, using audio streaming services, such as Spotify, will help you save space.

To see how the latest MP3 players from Apple and Sony have performed in our test lab, take a look at our MP3 player reviews. For more on the differences between these two brands, see our Apple iPod vs Sony Walkman guide.

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