By Max Parker
Sony Walkman NW2 – F805
Running on the Android OS, this PMP pairs the ever growing app library of Google Play, with finely tuned audio tech from Sony to create a great sounding device that's also very well connected. An S-Master MX Digital Amplifier and Clear Audio ensures every detail of the song is heard, while the xLOUD speaker system lets you share your music with the whole room. Front and centre is a 3.5-inch touchscreen and it's fully compatible with Sony's Music Unlimited service.
Packing 110 hours battery life…yes, you read that correct, 110 hours of battery life, this device is great if you're planning on being away from a mains socket for a large amount of time. As it's from Cowon you know the sound quality is going to be top-notch, with the JetEffect engine giving you highly realistic sound, being aided further by the included high-quality earphones. There's a myriad of EQ settings and presets so tuning this system to suit your own tastes shouldn't take too long.
Astell & Kern AK 100
Costing about the same as a sim-free iPhone 5, this device is probably only for the pure audiophiles out there, yet with the steep price comes some seriously great sound quality. Twin Micro-SD card slots, both able to carry 64GB, means you can stick a fair bit of high-quality Flac music on this thing and it'll sound great. You won't be running back to your iPod Touch anytime soon we can assure you of that.
Sony Walkman NWZ – E574
Sony's focus on the Walkman line is sound-quality, ensuring you can listen to your favourite tunes in the best possible way. Clear Audio tech is employed for this very purpose, increasing each detail in your music – even if they are fairly heavily altered and compressed digital files. The included in-ear noise cancelling headphones aim to combat pesky outside noises, cutting out some 98% of background sounds. A single charge of the battery should last over 30 hours and drag-and-drop file transfers make syncing a breeze.
£109 | Sony
Cowon A5 Plenue
Jumping on the Android bandwagon, Cowon's 'Smart MP3 player' runs on a modified version of the OS and sports a 4.8-inch 800x480 WVGA touchscreen display. It's powered by a 1GHZ processor and 512MB of RAM, while battery life is around 22 hours if you're listening to music. There's a HDMI port for watching flicks on your TV, and crucially for serious audiophiles, Jeteffect 5 is on board to deliver 48 presets, a 5-band EQ filter, and BBE+ enhancements which helps deliver an overall audio performance that surpasses most music smartphone pretenders.
£199 (64GB), £169 (32GB) | Cowon
Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi 4.2
Essentially the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone sans the phone functionality, this Android device with a TouchWiz overlay will take care of all your audio and video needs. Packing a 4.2-inch 480 x 800 resolution screen that supports a range of file formats including Xvid and DivX, the Galaxy player weighs in at a light 118g and features a 2-Megapixel rear-facing camera and VGA front camera. There's 8GB of storage on board, and to help your music sound sweet, Samsung's SoundAlive tech analyzes the audio source to optimize the music before it reaches your ears.
Sandisk Sansa Clip+
A simple value-for-money MP3 player that is perfect for the gym or travelling. This clip-on music player doesn't boast any out of this world tech but a built-in 15 hour rechargeable battery and a MicroSD expansion slot allowing up to 32GB of storage means you won't have to listen to the same song twice. A simple colour screen for navigation and a number of features such as FM radio and a stop watch make this MP3 a simple and stylish choice.
The X3 offers high quality HD music from your pocket for a cutback price. There's 64GB of memory storage thanks to the MicroSD card slot and guarantees 10 hours of music playback. USB Smart charging means the X3 can be charged using a PC, USB cable or a mobile power charger. It plays almost every lossless music format and although powerful enough to run Android the X3 doesn't play videos or display pictures, concentrating instead on maximum music enjoyment.
Sony NWZ-W273 Walkman waterproof
100% waterproof up to 2 metres, Sony's underwater MP3 player means no more listening to screaming kids when you're taking a dip and increased comfort in the gym. It comes with various sizes of ear buds which prevents water getting into the ear, maintains sound volume, and the all-in-one design offers complete freedom of movement. Simple drag and drop music transfers allows you to create playlists and a three minute power up gives 60 minutes of playback, with a full charge lasting eight hours.
The DX50 has incredibly clear sound clarity and for around £200 is a brilliant value portable media device. It holds 8GB of onboard flash with the capacity to store up to 2TB using MicroSD cards. Most file formats are supported by the DX50. It has a 2.4-inch touch screen and a user replaceable battery with a 14 hour life that is also compatible with Samsung S3. The DX50's huge storage and great sound quality make up for its large size.
Creative Zen Touch 2
The android compatible Zen Touch 2 allows users to play android games and read e-books while they listen to music. Bursting with features including wireless music streaming and a two mega pixel camera, the Touch 2 is a slim and sleek multi-media device. It also allows internet browsing on its 3.2-inch touch screen. Available in 8GB or 16Gb with a MicroSD slot ensuring plenty of storage for Music, videos and games. A bargain for under £100.
£89 | Creative
Yet another Cowon dominating our list. This 2013 release uses JetEffect5, the most powerful and sophisticated sound technology available for MP3, which produce high sound quality and create a great multimedia experience. It boasts up to 90 hours of music playback, the longest in its class, and has a 16M colour Touch Display for videos, images and games. Drag and drop file transfers make managing music easy. The D20 is a small and stylish way to enjoy music and other media.
£119 | Cowon