How do I know which MP4/Video player to buy?

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There are so many mp4 players for sale on the internet and on ebay these days, how do you know which one to buy?


There are many different types of mp4 players you can buy, there are factors you need to check before buying:

  • What size screen do I need?
  • Which design should I go for?
  • Which headphone socket does the player use?
  • Does the player have an FM function
  • What is the battery life
  • What extra features does it have?
  • Is an FM recording function included
  • SD Card support
Here is what you need to look for:

Screen size:  The smallest screen players you can get is 1.5" (Diagonal measurement), which to be honest is too small for watching video.  The minimum size you should be looking for is 1.8".  You should make sure it is a TFT screen as these are the brightest and the best quality.  There are a few players with bigger screens which are worth the investment if you are planning to watch regular movies/videos, between 2" and 2.5" is good for this.

Design:  There are a few different designs around at the moment, there is the Ipod Nano lookalike, the Ipod Mini lookalike and the compact shape.  The Nano is quite thin, made of plastic and will have a circular formation of buttons underneath the screen.  The Mini is normally made of metal, and in the same configuration as the Nano.  These are normally available in a large range of colours ranging from Lime to Pink.  Both these are slim and cool looking players, but you do need to be careful of the screen as it is more fragile and thinner.  The compact shape is thicker, but not as long. The screen covers the main workings of the player, and the up and down buttons and a menu button are on the side.  These are great for putting in your pocket or in a pouch.

Headphone socket:  The Nano players are so thin they cannot generally accommodate a 3.5mm jack, so use the less popular 2.5mm jack.  This is not a huge problem, adapters are available very cheaply on  View 2.5mm converters here , but its not quite as good as the mini or compact players which generally use the standard 3.5mm jack.

FM Function:  Check your player features an inbuilt radio.  Auto scan is a useful feature, and if you need MW or LW you will need to pay a bit extra, its not included as standard.  Presets are a useful thing to look out for, saves scanning through the frequencies all the time.

Battery life:  This is a very important criteria to check.  The cheaper mp3 players will have a low battery life, whether from an inbuilt battery or an external AAA or AA Battery. 
The inbuilt battery players are the ones you really need to check the battery life before buying.  If you get one with a low battery life there is no upgrading it, or changing for a more powerful one.  The good thing about an external battery is most players consume the same amount of power when running.  You should be looking at a battery life of between 15 and 20 hours for a quality player with external battery. 
For an internal battery player the battery life is generally less, but you should expect at least 12 hours battery life.  There is normally a price difference of £1/ $2 between a high quality battery and a low quality for the seller, check which one your supplier has invested in.

Is a voice recorder built in:  This is a pretty standard function of most new mp3 players, and often a function which goes unappreciated.  A voice recorder is very useful for taking notes whilst on the run, recording meetings or lectures, or even phone conversations.  It is important to check the quality that the player records, and the format it stores in.  MP3 is a pretty good format to look for, as WAV is a bit big.  Also check the quality settings, it is useful to be able to record high quality larger recordings, and also lower quality smaller recordings.

Is an FM recording facility included:  FM Recording is a brilliant function to have on your player. It allows you to record directly from the radio onto the player, which you can then either listen to again on your player, or copy to your computer to share with friends or for later playback.  You should ensure you have a large memory capacity if your looking to record lots of radio recordings.  You should check the format and quality the recordings are stored in to ensure they are good quality.

Lyrics and ID3 Tags:  The Lyrics function is not the most useful of functions, but good if your trying to learn for that big Karaoke competition!  The function displays the lyrics in time with the music.  You can download the Lyrics files from  You need to make sure your mp3 has the same file name as the lyric file, and they are in the same directory.
ID3 tags are very useful, the function displays the music files artist and song title.  The information is stored in the file, and no extra copies or settings need to be loaded onto the player.

SD Card support:  If your looking for an all in one card reader and mp3 player, then an sd card player will be the one for you.  You can put any card into the player, and as long as it has music on it, it will play!  You need to check the maximum memory capacity of the player, and that is supports the card you have.  Most players support MiniSD, SD or MMC Cards.

Line In:  This allows you to record directly from a line out/headphone jack on another device, whether it be a hifi, another mp3 player, your computer or your phone.  Quality is generally pretty good, although for best results you should invest in some quality leads as the ones that come as standard with your player will probably not be that great.

There are just a few of the factors you should consider before you have any buying your mp4 player.  Dont forget to ask the seller if you are unsure about any of the functions, if it doesnt state the answer in the advert it probably wont do it.

This information remains property of Audio Mania Ltd, to view our items check here: Audio Mania Ltd MP3s and Memory
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