by January 1, 2000 0 comments

The Weightages 

Performance
CPU
usage 
50
Memory
usage 
50
Features
Intuitiveness  29
Basic
features 
29
Supported
formats 
18
Special
features 
12
Skins &
plug-ins 
12
Pricing  100
Overall scores were determined out
of a total of 200 points.
Performance  100
Features  150
Price  50
Total 200

The MP3 revolution might have acted as a destabilizing storm for the music industry, but it spawned a whole new world of multimedia programming. MP3 is an audio compression technology that lets you pack one hour of CD-quality digital audio in just 32 MB of storage space. This advantage makes it extremely easy to distribute MP3 music over the Internet and other low-bandwidth networks. MP3 is a compressed digital audio, and you need a decompression software to play it. Such software is called an MP3 player. We checked out 15 popular MP3 players to determine which is the best one.

When you choose an MP3 player, you’d have certain expectations from it. So, we made a list of such expectations, and divided them on the basis of price, performance, and features. Then finally, we plugged them into our Brown-Gibson model to arrive at their relative weights, and poof–there lay before us the best MP3 player. So, let’s take a closer look at the factors we included in our wish list. 

Performance 
Here, we hunted for the MP3 player that was easy on memory and CPU usage. If it hogs these resources, you won’t be able to use it simultaneously with other applications, and still maintain speed. 

Features 
Who wouldn’t want an MP3 player clad with all sorts of fancy features to show off? That’s why we gave maximum importance to the features of each MP3 player. Here, we considered five factors.

Basic features 
A basic set of features for any MP3 player include volume control, a seek bar to rewind and forward a song, navigation controls for moving to the next or previous track, a playlist editor for creating a group of songs to play, an option to repeat and shuffle tracks, graphics equalizer, spectrum analyzer, and song time and length display. 

Intuitiveness 
What good is an MP3 player if you can’t find half the controls? To rate intuitiveness, we hunted down three users who’d never used an MP3 player before (yes, such souls do exist!), and had them use the software and hunt for various features. 

Formats supported 
An MP3 player should be a one-stop shop for playing all popular audio formats. Some of them even support video formats, and received the deserved weightage. 

Special features
Some of the MP3 players we tested could do more than what our wish list had. DJ mixing, special sound effects, and Juke box were just some of these features. And they got extra points 

Skins and plug-ins 
These add a lot of pizzazz to the way you see your MP3! That’s why they’ve been treated separately.

Pricing
Unfortunately, not all MP3 players come free. Some are either shareware, while others are restricted. In both cases, you’ve to pay to get the full versions. But if you can get everything on your wish list for free, why pay? So, the free MP3 players got the highest points here.

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