Portable media players review and compare

We test the latest MP3, MP4 and video players to tell you the best buys.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:12 Nov 2008
 

02.Results

What to buy

Brand / Model Price
Media players with flash drive
Sony NWZA728B $199
Sony NWZA826KB $229
# Sony NWZA729B $279
SanDisk Sansa Fuze $129
Apple iPod Touch (32GB) $549
Creative Zen X-Fi (16GB) $330
Creative Zen X-Fi (8GB) $250
Media players with hard disk
Cowon iAudio A3 $679
Next G phone
Apple iPhone (16GB) Telco
 

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Results tables

  Performance
Brand/model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Ease of use score (%) Sound score (%) Video score (%) Battery score (%) Average measured battery life (hrs:min) to nearest 15min Claimed maximum video playing time (hrs) Price ($)
Media players
Sony NWZA728B
www.sony.com.au
84 76 82 90 97 31:45 10 199
Sony NWZA826KB
www.sony.com.au
84 76 80 90 99 35:15 10 229
Sony NWZA729B #
www.sony.com.au
83 76 81 90 92 27:30 10 279
Sandisk Sansa Fuze
www.sandisk.com/sansa
79 79 82 65 88 23:45 5 129
Apple iPod Touch
www.apple.com/au/ipodtouch
78 64 82 90 90 25:30 5 549
Creative Zen X-Fi
au.creative.com
77 71 84 90 69 12:00 5 330
Creative Zen X-Fi
au.creative.com
77 71 84 90 69 12:00 5 250
Creative Zen
au.creative.com
76 75 73 90 67 11:00 5 180
Sandisk Sansa View
www.sandisk.com/sansa
74 75 76 55 88 24:30 (1) 7 199
Philips SA5245BT #
www.philips.com.au
72 80 75 50 76 15:15 6 180
Samsung YP-S3A
www.samsung.com.au
71 64 72 80 74 14:00 4 149
Cowon iAudio A3
www.cowonglobal.com
69 65 66 90 61 8:45 7 679
Lenoxx MP37100
www.lenoxx.com.au
53 58 48 40 62 9:15 ns 150
Next G phones
Apple iPhone
www.apple.com/au/iphone
75 64 84 90 74 14:15 7 Telco
HTC Touch Diamond
www.htc.com/au
60 68 59 45 61 9:00 ns 999
Nokia N95
www.nokia.com.au
62 73 62 50 54 7:00 3 1059
 


  Features Specifications
Brand/model (in rank order) Playback whilst recharging (USB) Mac-compatible * FM radio Supplied software used Dimensions (mm HxWxD) Weight (g) Capacity (GB) Screen size (mm, W x H) Screen resolution (pixels, W x H) Battery Minimum system requirements
Media Players
Sony NWZA728B
www.sony.com.au
Media Manager for Walkman 1.1 93x51x10 72 8 36x49 240x320 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Sony NWZA826KB
www.sony.com.au
Media Manager for Walkman 1.1 93x51x10 73 4 36x49 240x320 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Sony NWZA729B #
www.sony.com.au
Media Manager for Walkman 1.1 93x51x10 72 16 36x49 240x320 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Sandisk Sansa Fuze
www.sandisk.com/sansa
Sansa Media Converter (via download) 79x49x10 71 4 38x30 220x176 ns Windows XP SP2
Apple iPod Touch
www.apple.com/au/ipodtouch
iTunes 7.7.1.11 (via download) 110x62x8 129 32 51x76 320x480 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2 or Mac OS X v10.4.10
Creative Zen X-Fi
au.creative.com
Creative Centrale 1.00.01 55x83x13 79 16 51x38 320x240 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Creative Zen X-Fi
au.creative.com
Creative Centrale 1.00.01 55x83x13 77 8 51x38 320x240 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Creative Zen
au.creative.com
Creative Zen Media Explorer 5.70.15 55x83x12 79 8 51x38 320x240 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2
Sandisk Sansa View
www.sandisk.com/sansa
Sansa Media Converter (via download) 119x50x12 93 8 37x54 240x320 ns Windows XP SP2
Philips SA5245BT #
www.philips.com.au
Windows Media player, Arcsoft Media Converter 2.5 58x107x10 107 4 57x44 320x240 1 Li-ion polymer Windows XP SP2
Samsung YP-S3A
www.samsung.com.au
Samsung Media Studio 5 6.0.1.0/5.2.1.4 95x44x10 68 4 28x35 176x220 1 Li-ion polymer Windows ME 128
Cowon iAudio A3
www.cowonglobal.com
• (2) JetAudio 7.0.4.3030 Basic VX, Cowon Media Center 79x134x25 296 80 86x51 800x480 1 Li-ion polymer Windows ME 128 MB RAM
Lenoxx MP37100
www.lenoxx.com.au
AVI Converter 2.0, 2.4 and 3.0 94x56x14 90 4 34x57 ns ns Windows 98
Next G phones
Apple iPhone
www.apple.com/au/iphone
iTunes 7.7.1.11 (via download) 115x63x12 148 16 50x75 320x480 1 Li-ion Windows XP SP2 or Mac OS X v10.4.10
HTC Touch Diamond
www.htc.com/au
Active Sync 102x51x12 123 4 42x55 480x640 1 Li-ion or Li-ion polymer Windows XP
Nokia N95
www.nokia.com.au
Nseries PC Suite 99x53x22 145 8 53x41 320x240 1 Li-ion Windows 2000
 

Table notes

ns - Not stated.
# Discontinued, but may still be available in some shops.
* Functionality may be reduced compared to use with a Windows PC.
(1) We had variable results with this player.
(2) Data transfer only.
Price Recommended retail, as of November 2008.

Scores The overall score is made up of

  • Ease of use (40%)
  • Sound quality (20%)
  • Video quality (20%)
  • Battery life (20%)

Battery life scores are calculated so that a player that averages 36 hours or more gets 100% and one that lasts six hours gets 50%. The battery score is based on at least two tests.

Playback while recharging means that it’s possible to listen to your music while the player is connected to your PC and recharging.

Mac-compatible Other than the Apple iPod and iPhone, some players functionality may be reduced compared with use on a PC.

Capacity is in gigabytes — 2GB can store around 500 songs of average length.

Software supplied Apple iPods use iTunes, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple website. Other players without specific software can also use iTunes or Windows Media Player.

How we tested

The CHOICE testers checked how easy the players are to set up, play music and video on and rip and transfer music and video files with the software provided or, if none was supplied, using Windows Media Player (or iTunes for the music test with Apple products). They also evaluated how easy each player was to handle, carry around or wear.
They listened to each player with the earbuds provided and measured frequency response signal to noise ratio, total harmonic distortion and channel separation.
They watched the video and assessed it for colour, clarity and accuracy of rendition. We have listed the claimed video life only this time, but we plan to test video life in our next test.
To check how long the batteries on each model would last playing music without recharging or replacing the battery, our testers played the same tracks on each model at the same volume on repeat-play mode until they switched off. For the Next G phones, we tested with and without flight mode activated, but only found a 5% difference in the results and so have listed the results without flight mode activated.