Best Overall
Apple iPod Touch 7th Gen 32GB - Space Gray (Renewed)
Best Battery Life
Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 Hi-Res 16GB MP3 Player, Moonlight Blue, Moonlit Blue
Best Storage
Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
Apple iPod Touch 32GB - Silver 7th Generation
Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 hi-res 16GB MP3 Player
Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25
Best Overall
Apple iPod Touch 7th Gen 32GB - Space Gray (Renewed)
Apple iPod Touch 32GB - Silver 7th Generation
Best Battery Life
Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 Hi-Res 16GB MP3 Player, Moonlight Blue, Moonlit Blue
Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 hi-res 16GB MP3 Player
Best Storage
Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25

Every music lover can easily stream music using their phone, tablet or computer. 

But if you want an immersive sound experience that makes you feel like you are right in a room with the artist, high-resolution audio is necessary. 

To access this level of sound quality, you’ll need a portable music player capable of playing hi-res. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy the listening experience as you rock out to your favorite songs.

Here are our top ten picks for portable music players that will transport you to another time and place.

Top Portable Music Players

While your phone can get the job done, you deserve a better music experience. Let go of your mobile device and use these portable music players to get exceptional music quality.

1. Sony NW-A55L

Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 hi-res 16GB MP3 Player, Moonlight Blue, Moonlit Blue
740 Reviews
Sony NW-A55/L Walkman NW-A55 hi-res 16GB MP3 Player, Moonlight Blue, Moonlit Blue
  • Precision engineered for improved sound quality
  • Truly authentic sound with Hi-Res Audio

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 45 hours
  • Storage: 16GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 3.1 inch
  • Weight: 99 grams

Sony is known for its prowess in bringing music to life, and its hi-res player is no exception. 

It is capable of playing just about any music file you can throw at it. No note is undiscovered thanks to its crisp and clean sound.

The NW holds around 400 mp3 files or 25 hi-res albums on the 16GB drive, but the microSD can take you all the way up to 2TB.

This device is also budget-friendly, balancing incredible sound, storage and functionality at a good price.

The interface is built for speed and not comfort, with a functional design that isn’t quite as fancy as other devices on this list.

It’s important to note that the NW has no Wi-Fi access, so streaming services on the go are out. However, it does have Bluetooth, which lets you stream through a laptop.

2. Astell & Kern A&norma SR25

Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
46 Reviews
Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
  • A true high-resolution music player, bit-perfect playback up to 32bit/384kHz and Native DSD (DSD256)
  • Dual DAC of CS43198, MasterHIFI tier chipset from Cirrus Logic and new quad-core CPU with Performance...

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 21 hours
  • Storage: 64GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 178 grams

Astell & Kern are leaders in the high-res portable music player space, as evidenced by multiple entries on this list, and for a good reason. 

The SR25 iteration automatically sorts the memory allocation depending on the size of the song being played while in performance mode to prevent sonic losses.

Its expanded Bluetooth capability allows for high-quality listening through wireless headphones, and music streaming apps are available through the Open APP platform.

Up to eight artists or album covers can fit onto the screen while scrolling through the library, making it a pleasure to look at and use. 

The battery lasts twice as long as the previous generation and longer than any other A&K player. Better yet, the sound is smooth and rich.

Keep in mind that this player is an entry-level product at a mid-level price. While it’s certainly worth it in terms of sound quality and functionality, the cost may give you a reason to compare it to other devices.

3. Cowon Plenue D3

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 45 hours
  • Storage: 64GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 2.8 inches
  • Weight: 103 grams

The D3 boasts Bluetooth support as well as a new volume wheel, which gives it an upscale feel without the price increase. Choose between three skins and either a silver or gold bar above a black matte finish. 

As a tiny player that is the size of a matchbox, it packs robust sound quality and premium features.

Album artwork is displayed with easy grouping for your music lists. 

JetEffects lets you change the reverb and sound according to the room or environment you’re in, with 44 preloaded and four user choices. 

There is DSD file compatibility, though they’re not supported with JetEffects.

No third-party apps are required. Simply hook it up to your computer and drag and drop your music files.

The D3 does not have built-in Wi-Fi, so there’s no streaming available. Additionally, if you’re looking for something with a cutting-edge interface, you might want to consider other options.

4. Apple iPod Touch

Apple iPod Touch 32GB - Silver 7th Generation
463 Reviews
Apple iPod Touch 32GB - Silver 7th Generation
  • 4-Inch Retina display
  • Your favorite music, gaming, and AR apps in your pocket

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 40 hours
  • Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Screen Size: 4 inches
  • Weight: 88 grams

Apple products rarely disappoint, and the iPod is no different. As it’s evolved over time, it has become more like a smartphone without the phone. 

The iPod plays your music, but you can also watch videos, take pictures, facetime and message other Apple users while on Wi-Fi. 

Basically, the iPod Touch goes beyond what any other portable music player can do.

This device offers easy and intuitive access to all your music files as well as streaming capability on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It meets and exceeds functionality in comparison to all the others on this list.

In addition, its balanced sound makes it a contender with hi-res files. It’s also quite affordable for a portable music player with access to the Apple App Store.

Even though it’s not the most high-quality sound of the top players, it is still a great contender. 

5. Astell & Kern A&futura SE200

Sale
Astell&Kern A&Futura SE200 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
16 Reviews
Astell&Kern A&Futura SE200 Portable High Resolution Audio Player, Moon Silver
  • World's first multi-DAC player; Equipped with the world's first Multi-DAC of 2 x ESS ES9068AS + 1 x AKM...
  • A true high-resolution music player, bit-perfect playback up to 32bit/384kHz and Native DSD (DSD256)

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Storage: 256GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 5 inches
  • Weight: 274 grams

The SE200 is the first portable music player to give users the choice of which chip to use based on which type of output they would prefer. 

It has native DSD and MQA playback in addition to lots of storage, amounting to over 5000 CD-quality WAVs. 

Wi-Fi is included for streaming from your favorite services, and Bluetooth compatibility is offered as well.

The sleek volume wheel now has an LED ring beneath it, with different colors that correspond to the type of file you are playing, including:

  • Red for 16-bit tracks
  • Green for 24-bit tracks
  • Blue for 32-bit tracks
  • Purple for DSD

While the double chip outputs are creative, they aren’t really needed. If you inevitably end up liking one more than the other, it feels like a whole section of the player is being wasted. 

At one of the higher price points on our list, this device likely only appeals to a very distinct subgroup of consumers in this space.

6. FiiO M6

FiiO M6 Hi-Res Lossless MP3 Music Player with HiFi Bluetooth aptX HD/LDAC, USB Audio/DAC,DSD/Tidal/Spotify Support and WiFi/Air Play Full Touch Screen
1,122 Reviews
FiiO M6 Hi-Res Lossless MP3 Music Player with HiFi Bluetooth aptX HD/LDAC, USB Audio/DAC,DSD/Tidal/Spotify Support and WiFi/Air Play Full Touch Screen
  • Exynos 7270 (Dual-core 1GHz 14nm) with DAC ES9018Q2C for superb performance
  • USB Type C symmetrical connector2GB internal storage + micro-SD card support (2TB)

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 13 hours
  • Storage: 2GB + microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Screen Size: 3.64 inches
  • Weight: 83 grams

FiiO’s M6 has built-in Wi-Fi for effortless streaming, as well as Bluetooth for your favorite headphones. It also boasts airplay compatibility. You can listen to the music from your iPhone with crystal clear sound.

This device supports USB DAC and has native DSD support, converting your files on tap and turning your player into a converter itself.

The FiiO Link allows you to control your M6 through your smartphone like a remote once you pair your smartphone and player.

Music lovers who appreciate intuitive user interfaces may be better served by a different device, as this one doesn’t have the most user-friendly interface. 

7. Astell & Kern A&ultima SP1000M

Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP1000M High Resolution Digital Portable Audio Player, Royal Gold
2 Reviews
Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP1000M High Resolution Digital Portable Audio Player, Royal Gold
  • Octa-Core CPU for Next-Level Performance; AK4497EQ Dual DAC for Highest Sound Quality
  • 4.1 Inch HD Display; Brass Body with Gold Plated 99.7%

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 10 hours
  • Storage: 128GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 203 grams

Another Astell & Kern all-star, the SP1000M is smaller and lighter than its previous models. It also has better sound quality. In fact, the clean, clear and utterly beautiful sound quality makes up for its shortcomings.

Onboard Wi-Fi means streaming capability and DSD-supported files. Additionally, USB DAC means this little machine can play just about any ball you throw at it.

While the sound makes everything else worth it, it’s worth noting that the controls can be a little finicky. 

Keep in mind that this device is larger than most of the other models on our list, and it has quite a hefty price tag. 

8. Cowon P2

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 9 hours
  • Storage: 128GB + microSD
  • Screen Size: 3.7 inches
  • Weight: 635 grams

The P2 is a pretty player that favors function over anything fancy. This is strictly for playing your music files. With native DSD, you can convert files onboard without any outside help. 

Its rich and robust sound quality convinces you that you can’t possibly be on a bus or at home. Instead, you are surrounded by sound so clear it takes your breath away.

As this is a function-forward portable music player, there is no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth at all. Be prepared to use wired headphones if you select this device.

9. Astell & Kern KANN

YUNZHI IRIVER Astell Kern KANN 64G Portable HiFi Music Player Lossless mp3 Player Hard Solution DSD Independent LO Port
  • HiFi player function collection: HiFi player players and HiFi lossless music lovers have different...
  • Headphone output: independent line output, KANN is also equipped with independent line output in addition...

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Storage: 64GB + dualSD
  • Screen Size: 3.3 inches
  • Weight: 278 grams

The KANN is another knockout by Astell & Kern. With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, enjoy streaming from quality apps and your favorite wireless headphones. 

An interesting feature is the inclusion of both micro and normal SD slots. This boosts storage capacity and allows for around 1200 full-length CDs when both slots are filled.

With DSD-supported file playback and intuitive design, the KANN is a top choice for playing hi-res music.

While its bulk makes some potential buyers pause, the KANN more than makes up for it in sound quality.

It’s important to note that this device is a bit bulky, making it hard to imagine traipsing around with it in your pocket. Fortunately, its size gives plenty of room for storage and features.

10. HiBy R3 Pro

HiBy R3 Pro Saber Portable Hi-Res Music Player, Hi-Fi Lossless MP3 Player with Bluetooth 5.0/aptX/LDAC/MQA/DSD/FLAC/5G WiFi/Dual ES9218P, High Resolution Audio Player with Full Touch Screen - Black
60 Reviews
HiBy R3 Pro Saber Portable Hi-Res Music Player, Hi-Fi Lossless MP3 Player with Bluetooth 5.0/aptX/LDAC/MQA/DSD/FLAC/5G WiFi/Dual ES9218P, High Resolution Audio Player with Full Touch Screen - Black
  • Built in DUAL DAC chips ES9218P, HiBy R3 Pro Saber supports native hardware DSD256 decoding, PCM playback...
  • For extreme wireless Hi-Fi experience, HiBy R3 Pro Saber supports Bluetooth codecs including...

Specifications:

  • Battery Life: 19 hours
  • Storage: 0GB (no storage on device), microSD up to 2TB
  • Screen Size: 3.2 inches
  • Weight: 318 grams

HiBy includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for efficient streaming and wireless use. It also has DSD support and MQA rendering to 4x, as well as dual DAC chips. This player knows how to play.

HiBy Link allows you to connect with your smartphone and use it to control the player like a remote. This is useful if you want to hook up to a portable speaker, set your playlist and then move away from it. 

If you’re looking for a little splash of creativity on your excellent quality screen, the HiBy has custom themes you can choose from. It also has an edgy quality that favors metal and really makes every sound shine.

However, the HiBy comes with no internal storage. It only has microSD card capability. Additionally, it doesn’t come with a microSD. Make sure you pick one up when you purchase the player.

Summary

When shopping for a portable music player, first consider your needs. 

Are you looking to play hi-res music? Do you have a ton of music and need a lot of storage? 

How about streaming? Is that something you want access to on your portable music player? What kind of sound and output are you looking for?

Do you want to be able to use wireless headphones? Or are you ok with plugging headphones into your device?

Fortunately, you really can’t go wrong with any of the players on this list. They are all standouts in their class. Make sure your portable music player has the requirements you’re looking for before committing to one. 

Whichever player you decide to go with, sit back, relax, unplug from your smartphone and let the music carry you away.