8 Best Portable Music Players

Looking for the best portable music player? You are in the right place.

If you want an immersive sound experience that makes you feel like you are right in a room with the artist, hi-res audio players are worth looking into. 

To access this level of amazing sound quality, you’ll need a portable music player capable of playing high-res audio. 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-A55/L Walkman
  • 45 hour battery life
  • 16GB + microSD storage
  • 3.1 inch screen
  • Weighs 99 grams

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

As one of the best portable music players on the market, 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 that provides exceptional high resolution audio performance.

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. It’s an excellent mp3 player, but its versatility extends beyond that.

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, this portable device does have Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you stream music through a laptop.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Amazing DAC flex
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Indexing can be slow
  • Touchy touchscreen
2. Astell&Kern A&Norma SR25
  • 21 hour battery life
  • 64GB + microSD storage
  • 3.5 inch screen
  • Weighs 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 like Apple Music are available through the Open APP platform.

Up to eight artists or album covers can fit onto the screen while scrolling through the music 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 dynamic sound from this music player is smooth and rich, providing some of the best sound quality on the market.

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, wireless connectivity and functionality, the cost may give you a reason to compare it to other devices.

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Affordable
  • Great design

Cons

  • Processor power
  • Offline support
3. Apple iPod touch
  • 40 hour battery life
  • 32GB, 128GB, 256GB storage
  • 4 inch screen
  • Weighs 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 audio files as well as streaming services on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s not just an mp3 player, it’s much more and supports other lossless audio formats.

It meets and exceeds functionality in comparison to all the others on this list. Plus, it has a headphone jack.

In addition, its balanced output makes the iPod Touch 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 if you want to play music.

Pros

  • Apple quality and security
  • Retina display
  • A10 fusion chip fast

Cons

  • Not many updgrades
4. Astell&Kern A&Futura SE200
  • 14 hour battery life
  • 256GB + microSD storage
  • 5 inch screen
  • Weighs 274 grams

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

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

Wi-Fi is included so you can utilize streaming services, and Bluetooth compatibility is offered as well.

The sleek volume wheel of this digital audio player now has an LED ring beneath it, with different colors that correspond to the type of audio file formats you are playing.

These include:

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

This can function as an mp3 player, but it can do so much more.

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.

Pros

  • Great user interface
  • Choose AKM or ESS DAC
  • Easy to hold

Cons

  • Minimal equalizer
5. FiiO M6
  • 13 hour battery life
  • 2GB + microSD (up to 2TB) storage
  • 3.64 inch screen
  • Weighs 83 grams

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

This music player supports USB DAC and has native DSD support, converting your files on tap and turning your player into a converter itself. It’s not just an mp3 player, it’s much more.

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 different digital audio players, as this one doesn’t have the most user-friendly interface. 

Pros

  • Giant sound
  • USB output
  • HD Bluetooth with ldac

Cons

  • Folders unorganized
6. Astell&Kern A&Ultima SP1000M
  • 10 hour battery life
  • 128GB + microSD storage
  • 4.1 inch screen
  • Weighs 203 grams

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

Onboard Wi-Fi means streaming capability and DSD-supported music files. Additionally, USB DAC means this little machine can play just about any ball you throw at it, making it more than just an mp3 player.

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. 

Pros

  • Quad core CPU
  • AK4497EQ dual-DAC 
  • Fast charging

Cons

  • Higher priced than most
7. Astell&Kern KANN
  • 14 hour battery life
  • 64GB + dualSD storage 
  • 3.3 inch screen
  • Weighs 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. You can use it as an mp3 player and more.

While its bulk makes some potential buyers pause, this digital audio player more than makes up for it in quality and wireless connectivity.

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.

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Output level of 12Vrm
  • Great portability

Cons

  • Customer support limited
8. HiBy R3 Pro Saber

Features:

  • 19 hour battery life
  • MicroSD up to 2TB storage
  • 3.2 inch screen
  • Weighs 318 grams

HiBy includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for efficient streaming and wireless connectivity. 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 while allowing it to play songs.

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.

If you are a fan of AM or FM radio, this is a great option. With the ability to support internet radio, you can listen to your favorite AM or FM radio channels on this device.

However, this music player 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.

Pros

  • Supports internet radio
  • Great battery life
  • Accepts 512 mb Micro SD 

Cons

  • Output defaults to headphones

Summary

Fortunately, you really can’t go wrong with any of the portable music players on this list. Whether you are looking for an mp3 player or something else, 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 your digital music collection carry you away.