Does anyone buy MP3 players anymore? At one time, everyone owned an MP3 player. However, now, everyone just listens to music using their smartphone.
The thing is, MP3 players are still a thing, and still serve their original function of playing music. So, is it still worth buying an MP3 player?
In this article, we examine the pros and cons of using MP3 players and help you decide whether it’s worth buying an MP3 player.
A Brief History of MP3 Players
Before discussing the pros and cons of using an MP3 player in detail, it helps to understand the history of these humble devices. The story of MP3 players—both the rise and fall—focuses on making music accessible.
While there were MP3 players before Apple showed their hand, the launch of the iPod in 2001 saw the format take off in a big way.
During the heyday in the early 21st century, the portability and ability to hold an extensive number of songs changed the way people listened to music. People no longer had to haul a piece of hardware along with their music collection spread across multiple CDs (or cassette tapes or vinyl records).
As with most technology, MP3 players reigned only for a short time. Their appeal diminished with the increased affordability and accessibility of smartphones. Suddenly, there were devices capable of playing your music and doing so much more besides. Rendering MP3 players pretty much obsolete.
However, you can still buy MP3 players today. The only question is, should you?
The Benefits of MP3 Players
Despite their inability to complete directly in all features with smartphones, MP3 players still boast some benefits. MP3 players focus solely on playing music, which may be beneficial to some people. Owning a dedicated MP3 player can also free your smartphone up for other tasks.
The Simpler Technology Means More Portability
When you think of a smartphone and what you need it for, the list can get big fast. Due to the variety of everyone’s needs, certain design features cannot change drastically on smartphones. Designers of smartphones have to anticipate a very broad use case for the everyday users of the device.
For example, you need a certain screen size on your phones to take advantage of video or mobile gaming. Conscious design decisions make sure they’re able to support a certain size-ratio for software. If you’ve ever gamed on a non-standard size TV, you’ll have experienced clipping issues where things meant to be on-screen aren’t there.
Because of situations like these, the need for comparable features across smartphones can limit a company from taking any risky ventures. On the opposite end, MP3 players have become more of a specialized device. Due to their ability to diversify more, MP3 players can come in a variety of sizes.
A great example of this comes in the form of wearable MP3 players. As a fusion between earbuds and MP3 players, the devices fulfill their niche well while also not taking on excess space. While you have more limited space for songs due to their size, it takes away common travel complaints.
The design isn’t bulky, and it takes up as much space as any standard earbud would, which makes it a great choice for working out. If you’ve ever jogged with a smartphone in your coat or pants pocket, you can feel the weight of a bigger device. If you need to look at some other design options for comparison, look at some of the best standalone MP3 players .
MP3 Players Boast Great Battery Life
Besides more fluid design options, MP3 players have the benefit of their own battery life. For those with smartphones, you most likely have dealt with portable batteries, charge stations, or car charger concerns just to keep up with your busy life. If you feel the need to reduce the time your smartphone is plugged into the mains, you could benefit from removing at least one task from your smartphone.
You Have an FM Tuner On-Demand
For any fan of listening to radio, it helps to have more devices that support additional access points. While you can always access online radio on your smartphone or tablet, owning an MP3 player with an FM player included allows you to listen to radio without data or Wi-Fi.
The Downsides of MP3 Players
When it comes to the downsides of owning an MP3 player, there are various reasons to not own one. However, they mostly boil down to two simple reasons.
You Have to Own Yet Another Device
Compared to the technology of the past, the trend of all-in-one alleviates a lot of needs. Smartphones put most of what you need in your pocket. They let you call and message friends, listen to music, watch movies, and even work.
If you aren’t actively avoiding a smartphone’s other features, it’s hard to justify buying an MP3 player.
Streaming Services Are Better
As nice as it is to watch local content, streaming services have a lot to offer. If you subscribe to a streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora you can easily find any music you want to listen to.
Anyone who tried to maintain a music library will know that you always had to update your devices with new song releases. There was also manual transfers, song syncing, device updates, and other nuances to contend with. Whereas streaming services have fixed all of these issues.
The Final Verdict on MP3 Players
So, should you still buy an MP3 player? In a word, no. Unless you have a specific need for a standalone device to play your local music. Or, for whatever reason, you don’t own a smartphone.
However, for the majority of people, smartphones are the best option. And you can then spend the money you’ve saved not purchasing an MP3 player in one of the best gaming smartphones .