Anyone who claims to love music or even enjoy it on any significant level, should own an mp3 player. Truly, a masterful invention, having your own mini jukebox that you can slip in your pocket and listen to on the go is tremendous bearing in mind they should last for a long time and are available at such a low price. Coming into 2011, it has been well over a decade since the first mp3 players were patented and made available for public purchase. Today, the technology expended on the mp3 player is still high. The ability to hold and play hundreds, and very often, thousands of songs as well as incorporating other features such as video playback, customised settings, image viewing and integrated radio makes the mp3 player a multi-purpose gadget.

In this article I run down 5 mp3 players I see as being the best buy for 2011. Enjoy!

Apple iPod Classic 160GB (7th Generation)


Estimated Price – $249 (£197)

If what you are looking for is a high end, brilliantly functioning, reliable and easy to use mp3 where you can store shed loads of music then the iPod classic will be for you. Larger than the Nano and the Shuffle and more basic than the iPod Touch, the classic is the usual choice for someone who doesn’t necessarily want a load of extra gadgets rather than a solid, back-to-basics music player that is faster and incorporates a smoother sound than ever before. Durable and steady, the 7th Generation classic is more likely to not let you down and should last you a long, long time with an incredible 160GB worth of storage, equal to around 40,000 songs. If you do want a little extra aside from the music, then up to 25,000 photos and 2 hours of video. Of course, if you are on a budget the price tag may seem a little steep, but remember an mp3 like this should easily be lasting 5 years with no trouble.

Archos 5 500GB


Estimated Price – $550 (£399.99)

At the highest end of technicality within Mp3 devices comes the Archos 5 with included internet tablet. The Archos 5 has almost every capability that an mp3 player could hold. The ability to surf the web whilst simultaneously listening to your music collection puts the Archos well above the average workings of a music player. As well as internet, GPS and HD TV are available to hand with the Archos 5 as well as the custom camera, video playback and 1000s of applications available for download. If you are a newbie to the mp3 world, the Archos 5 is definitely one to steer clear from as it is more of an all in one multimedia device rather than a central mp3 player. 

Zune HD 32GB


Estimated Price - $199 (£300)

The Zune mp3 range, set up by Microsoft to compete against the iPod, seems to have finally given Apple something to think about. The already popular Zune HD is one of the best portable mp3 players on the market with a standout OLED display screen and a much longer battery life than the current iPod touch. The only downfall’s of the Zune is that, as it belongs to Microsoft, it is not available to work alongside a Mac which could prove a difficulty for some. Having said this, the Zune HD when in full working order will offer high definition video playback and crisp HD radio whilst giving owners a chance to surf the web within wifi range.

SanDisk Sansa Fuze 4GB


A range of Mp3 players have been released by SanDisk under the name ‘Sansa’ for a number of years. The variety of music players have often been seen as an affordable substitute to other high end mp3 players such as the iPod. With the Sansa Fuze the price is certainly lower than leading competitors but not necessarily lower quality. Often, an advantage of a less pricey, more basic mp3 player is its sturdiness and long battery life, as proven by the Sansa Fuze. The designers at SanDisk have even thrown in video playback for the new model. Whilst for many, the storage of 4GB will be a little on the short side, however, for an introduction mp3 and for those who don’t have huge music catalogues the Fuze is perfect. 

Creative ZEN M300 4GB


Estimated Price –$49.99 (£39.99)

One of the most up to date mp3 players on the market, the M300 by Creative Zen was only released for public sale in June 2011. The people at Creative Zen have seemingly always tried to create the perfect entry level mp3 player in competition with the iPod’s Shuffle and Nano and in fairness they have done a decent job this time around. The dinky M300 is packed with all the usual mod cons plus more such as an integrated Bluetooth system, which at this price, is pretty much unheard of. In fact the M300 is possibly the most comprehensive budget music player to have ever been brought out, plus with the available 32GB SD Card slot there is always more room for expansion.