MP3 Players & MP3 Accessories Buying Guide

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MP3 Players & MP3 Accessories Buying Guide

Ditch your bulky walkman and upgrade to a lightweight and stylish MP3 player on eBay.

Select the Right MP3 Player for You

Different types of MP3 players (hard drive-based, flash-based, and MP3/CD) work best for different types of people. Before you buy, use this guide to figure out how you plan to use your player most.

Give me MP3 music all day long

Stay entertained at the office, during your commute, or at home with a hard-drive MP3 player. These players offer huge amounts of storage compared to flash-based players, making them the perfect choice for anyone who wants to listen to a large selection of music over a long period of time. Unfortunately, hard drives have movable parts that can be damaged by high-impact movement, making hard drive-based MP3 players less suitable for people who want to listen to music while exercising. Popular hard-drive MP3 players include the Apple iPod, Creative Zen, Dell DJ, Rio Carbon, RCA Lyra Jukebox RD2840, and Rio Nitrus.

I want to run with my MP3 player

Invigorating music livens up any workout. Skip the movable parts, which can be damaged with a lot of movement, and look at flash-based MP3 players. Many include a radio tuner and voice recorder and some even support Secure Digital cards, CompactFlash, SmartMedia cards, or MultiMediaCards, relatively inexpensive memory cards also used by digital cameras and some PDAs. If you already use a memory card for other devices, buy a player that supports the same type of memory card, and use your storage media with all your devices. Popular flash-based MP3 players include the Apple iPod Shuffle, iRiver iFP series, NOMAD MuVo, and Rio Forge Sport.

I want a flexible and inexpensive MP3 player

All of us want to save a little money. Although hard drive-based players often give you a better value per megabyte, flash-based MP3 players (see shopping recommendations above) and MP3/CD players usually cost less overall. If you like to burn CDs, seriously consider MP3/CD players. They play back audio CDs as well as MP3s burned to CD and look like traditional portable CD players. Some even include an FM radio tuner so you can listen to your favorite local stations. Popular MP3/CD players include the iRiver SlimX and Rio Volt.

Determine How Much Storage You Need

eBay sellers list an MP3 player's storage capacity by megabyte (MB) or gigabyte (GB). One megabyte (1MB) equals about one minute of CD-quality MP3 music.

Hard drive MP3 players

Office-dwellers will want enough storage to stay entertained throughout the day. A hard drive-based player with 4GB of storage holds about 1,000 songs, a player with 20GB of storage holds about 5,000 songs, and a player with a 60GB hard drive can hold a whopping 15,000 songs. Keep in mind that you can use your MP3 player as a portable hard drive, storing data files on the space you don't use for music.

Flash-based MP3 players

If you plan on using your player for an hour at the gym every day, you don't need a ton of storage space. 64MB will let you store about one hour of MP3 music, which comes out to about 32 songs. If you want to mix things up with more song options, invest in more storage. Remember, some flash-based players support memory cards. A 512MB card can keep you groovin' for up to eight hours, or you could keep several smaller cards handy with different music on each one.

Discover iPods & iPod Accessories

You'll find a large selection of Apple iPods, one of the most popular MP3 players on the market, on eBay. You'll see everything from first-generation players to the latest fourth-generation iPods and iPod nano. When you read an iPod item description on eBay, find out which accessories a seller includes. To get started, you'll generally need a dock, headphones (sometimes called earbud headphones), and a FireWire cable or USB 2.0 cable.

  • iPod Shuffle: Apple's flash-based player, iPod Shuffle, comes in 512MB and 1GB sizes. It's about the size of a pack of gum and doesn't have a screen, playing back songs on random (shuffle) or in the order they were put on the player. It connects directly to your computer via USB and does not use a dock with cables. Since it doesn't have movable parts, it makes a great player for people who love to exercise.
  • iPod nano: The slim and trim iPod nano measures 3.5" x 1.6" x .27" and can hold 500 to 1,000 songs, depending on storage size. It also features a 1.5" LCD screen with backlight.
  • iPod: Apple's 30GB and 60GB iPods feature click wheels, offer battery life up to 12 hours, and can play back songs, podcasts, photos, and most recently, video.
  • Apple iPod from HP: The fourth-generation (4G) Apple iPod from HP marketed by Hewlett-Packard comes pre-formatted for Windows and the HP logo appears on the back.
  • iPod U2 Special Edition: iPod U2 Special Edition includes all the features of the 4G iPod. The sleek black case includes a red click wheel and autographs from members of U2 (yes, the band) on the back.

Buy a retired iPod

Older, retired iPods can cost less than their new counterparts, but you need to consider a few things when buying one.

  • Windows compatibility: First and second-generation (1G and 2G, respectively) players usually require additional third-party software to work with Windows. Third-generation (3G) players come with a Windows installation utility.
  • Battery life: iPods use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which you can recharge between 300 and 450 times. After that, the battery dies completely. A replacement battery for an iPod no longer under warranty runs $99 from Apple. If you're concerned, verify with the seller that the battery still works or was recently replaced.
  • Connections: First and second-generation (1G and 2G) players have a FireWire data port at the top while third-generation (3G) players use a connector dock. Make sure a dock is included with players that have lower storage capacity.
  • The wheel: How you select iPod menu options varies from generation to generation. 1G players have a mechanical scroll wheel, 2G players use a touch-sensitive non-moving wheel surrounded by mechanical buttons, and 3G players use touch-sensitive buttons. If you like 3G players, but don't want to accidentally select things off the menu with the touch-sensitive buttons, go with a 4G player.

iPod accessories

Whether you want to trick out your player with a skin or charge it in the car, you can get everything you need to integrate your iPod into your life on eBay.

Download Music for Your MP3 Player

Downloading music from a reputable online service for $.88 to $.99 per song quickly builds your music collection. Just make sure the player you buy supports the file type (AAC, AIFF, MP3, WMA, RealAudio) used by the music service you use or plan to use. For example, if you want to use iTunes, buy an iPod. If you want to use a service that uses WMA files, buy a brand that supports WMA such as Creative, Dell, iRiver, or Rio.

Service

File Type

iPod Compatible

iTunes AAC Yes
Napster WMA No
RealPlayer Music Store Real AAC Yes
MusicMatch WMA No
Wal-Mart WMA No
BuyMusic WMA, MP3 No
eBay Digital Music Downloads Mostly WMA No

Find MP3 Players on eBay

Now that you know what to buy, narrowing down item listings to the MP3 player you want shouldn't take much time. From the Consumer Electronics portal, click the MP3 Players link under MP3 Players & Accessories, and start searching for items on eBay.

  • Categories: If you know what brand you want to buy, select it from the Categories list on the left side of the page. When shopping for an iPod, make the Categories list your best friend. It will help you narrow down your choices by make and storage capacity in a couple seconds.
  • Keywords: Let eBay find items for you by entering the keywords you want to find into the search box. For example, if you want a new 512MB flash-based player from iRiver, type "new iriver 512mb flash" into the search box. If you want a player that's still under warranty, type "warranty" in the search box. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more advice about searching with keywords.
  • Let sellers help: A good item listing should include information about how a player connects to your computer (USB or FireWire) and compatibility with Mac and Windows operating systems as well as a player's brand, condition, storage capacity, and supported file formats. Listings should also include a clear picture. If you want to know about information not included in a listing, email the seller your question by clicking "Ask seller a question" under the seller's profile.

If you can't seem to find exactly what you want on eBay, try shopping at an eBay Store, tell the eBay community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on MyeBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

Buy MP3 Players with Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to $1,000.
  • eBay Security & Resolution Center: Visit the Security & Resolution Center to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

 

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