Your helpful friends at Microsoft have put together some tips on what to look for in a flash-based MP3 player. It's not clear how long this has been around, but a lot of them sound eerily like they were written up in response to the iPod shuffle. There are handy pointers like:
2. Make sure you're getting all the goodies…Some players have a built-in voice recorder, FM recorder, or stopwatch. And some come with extra accessories like high-quality headphones, a belt clip, or an armband. Because most of these features are included at no additional cost, make sure the device you choose is filled with these fun extras.
A point emphasizing the importance of having a display:
3. You?ll want a display. When you have hundreds of songs on your player, you really need an easy way to select your music by artist, album, or genre. This is critical if you want to find that one song or artist you really want to hear.
Another tip about how you?ll definitely want an FM tuner:
4. Let a professional make your next playlist. Having an FM radio lets you put your player on autopilot as you mountain bike, cycle, or rollerblade. And when you?re sweating it out on the stationary bike at your health club, you can listen to the program airing on the club?s TV. You want to have something that is fun, lightweight, and flexible. And FM radio is a key feature that many players offer at no extra cost, even for less than $100.
And this not-so-subtle dig at the iTunes Music Store:
6. Don?t get locked into one online store. Have you ever been on the hunt for a particular song? Some obscure indie rock tune or rare jazz performance you heard on the radio? You might have to shop at more than one store before you find the song you?re looking for. Having the flexibility to choose from over 1 million tracks of music from multiple online music stores such as MSN Music, Napster, MusicMatch, and Wal-Mart can be the key to getting the music you want. Several stores even offer subscription services so you can download all the songs you want for about the cost of a CD each month.
[Via Digital Media Thoughts]