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How to buy a portable player
Buyer beware in buying
By Russell Kibbee
(more articles from this author)
2000-10-25
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The recent explosion in digital music has spawned a new growth industry of portable players to play this music while you are away from your computer. This started about 2 years ago with the launch of the first generation player (the Diamond Rio). Now, there are an amazing array of players that come in a myriad of colors, shapes, features, and prices. In this series, you will learn what all these mean for how you can use the player, and what matters in a player (and what doesn’t).

Step 1: Know your stuff
The expression "If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is" holds true in the digital music player world. Many times you will see players for really cheap prices, but if you are not informed when it comes to these players, you can be very disappointed. Fortunately, the internet is a great location for researching this.

Step 2: Avoid last year’s model
The first generation of players hit the market in late 1998 and early 1999. They were expensive and had their fair share of problems common with the first version of anything. The technology has quickly become inferior, and therefore those with inventory are selling them at bargain basement prices. Stay away from them if you can.

Step 3: Understand the memory ratio
Here is a rule of thumb for getting a player. 1 Megabyte = 1 minute of MP3 music or 2 minutes of Windows Media Format. If you see a player with 32 Megabytes of memory available, you must realize that it is 32 minutes of music (about 9 songs). If you consider that a mixed tape can have 90 minutes, you begin to see why you will need more memory.

Step 4: Look for expansion slots
Make sure you check the specification sheet for memory expansion capability. You can buy extra memory chips in 32, 64, and even 96 Meg sizes. If you get a good player, then you can simply slide the chip in for a quick hour or two of extra music for your enjoyment.


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