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Best MP3 Players (2022): Which DAP Should You Buy?

Owning an MP3 player or DAP (digital audio player) today still has its appeals. They allow you to listen to music without distractions such as notifications and alerts. MP3 players also help conserve your phone’s battery. Moreover, there are MP3 players that come with DACs and amps that can drive headphones that require a bit more power than your standard 3.5mm output or USB dongle. If you are looking to get a DAP or MP3 player, which one should you go for? Below is our list of the best ones that you should consider.

Best MP3 Players Comparison Chart

ModelPriceCategory
Astell & Kern SR25Check Price Best overall MP3 player
HiBy R3 Pro SaberCheck Price Best compact MP3 player
Sony Walkman NW-A105Check Price Best value MP3 player
SanDisk Clip Sport PlusCheck Price Best budget MP3 player

Astell & Kern SR25

Best overall MP3 player

best mp3 players astell & kern sr25
It’s off-center design and aluminum build sets the Astell & Kern SR25 apart from the other MP3 players in this list.

The internal components of the Astell & Kern SR25 are impressive, featuring Dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC and a quad core CPU with performance mode. The exterior is just as impressive with its aluminum build and 3.6-inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen display. Its angled display is definitely a unique feature that sets it apart from other DAPs or MP3 players.

The Astell & Kern SR25 supports the following formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF and MQA, so it can play pretty much any audio format that you throw at it. There’s also native support for 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256 audio. In addition to those, this MP3 player has an output level of 2Vrms unbalanced or 4Vrms balanced, so it can drive most headphones, apart from the more power hungry ones.

Other features of the Astell & Kern SR25 include WiFi, LDAC and AptX Bluetooth support, up to 21 hours of battery life, 64GB internal storage with an SD card slot, and USB-C connectivity. If you are looking to get the best MP3 player without breaking the bank, the Astell & Kern SR25 is definitely one of the best options in the market.

HiBy R3 Pro Saber

Best compact MP3 player

best mp3 players hiby r3 pro saber
At 3.2 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches, the HiBy R3 Pro Saber is a compact MP3 player that does not skimp on features and functions.

For those that prefer a compact MP3 player that’s easily pocketable for portable music enjoyment, the HiBy R3 Pro Saber is our recommendation. It measures 3.2 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches, so it’s quite compact with a sleek design. The touchscreen is responsive and just big enough to display pertinent information about your audio files.

Internally, the HiBy R3 Pro Saber features Dual ES9218P DACs that support up to DSD256 and 32bit/384KHz audio. It has a 1600mmAh battery with a playtime of up to 19 hours using its single-ended output and up to 14 hours using the balanced output. Speaking of output, it has a 3.5mm unbalanced jack, and a 2.5mm balanced jack.

In addition to wired connectivity, the HiBy R3 Pro Saber also supports WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. It supports LDAC and AptX, along with SBC and AAC, so you can use it with your favorite TWS earbuds. One downside with this MP3 player is its lack of onboard storage, so you’ll need to buy a separate micro SD card in order to use it.

Sony Walkman NW-A105

Best value MP3 player

best mp3 players sony walkman nw-a105
The Sony Walkman NW-A105 has physical control buttons with a “hold” function that prevents accidental presses.

If you are looking to get the best MP3 player without having to spend a small fortune, the Sony Walkman NW-A105 is certainly one of the best options out there. It has all the basic features that you’ll want in an MP3 player such as access to streaming services, expandable storage, support for the most common audio formats and a good battery life.

It runs on stock Android so if you are familiar with the OS, using it is a breeze. The Sony Walkman NW-A105 is well-built with physical buttons for various playback functions. It also has a “hold” button, which may seem like an insignificant feature but it helps prevent accidental presses when pocketed.

The battery life was a concern when it was released, but with various firmware updates, the battery performance is now good. It can last up to 26 hours, but do take note that if you use Android apps, the battery life may not last as long.

SanDisk Clip Sport Plus

Best budget MP3 player

best mp3 players sandisk clip sport plus
With its built-in clip, IPX5 rating and Bluetooth connectivity, the SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is also our pick for the best MP3 player for running and working out on a budget.

For those on a strict budget, the SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is the best option. It’s not as feature-packed as some of the MP3 players above, but it has all the necessary features that you’ll need, including Bluetooth connectivity, support for a wide range of audio formats, and a long battery life.

Other features of the SanDisk Clip Sport Plus that are worth mentioning are its built-in clip, FM radio and IPX5 rating for water resistance. With these features, it’s also our pick for the best MP3 player for running, working out, hiking and other outdoor activities.

There are two variants of the SanDisk Clip Sport Plus—16GB and 32GB. It’s important that you choose the right amount of storage that you’ll need since these MP3 players do not have expandable storage.

Verdict

MP3 players are still worth buying, and there are plenty of excellent options out there, including the Astell & Kern SR25 and HiBy R3 Pro Saber.

Astell & Kern SR25

Best overall MP3 player

HiBy R3 Pro Saber

Best compact MP3 player

The Astell & Kern SR25 is our pick for the best overall MP3 player. While there are better MP3 players with more features, we just can’t justify their incredibly high prices. The Astell & Kern SR25 is the most reasonably priced MP3 player that comes with all the bells and whistles that you’ll want. For those that want a compact solution, you should definitely look at the HiBy R3 Pro Saber. It has a compact and sleek design, and it competes with other higher-priced MP3 players when it comes to features.

Rounding out our list of the best MP3 players are the Sony Walkman NW-A105 and SanDisk Slip Sport Plus. The former is a great all-rounder while the latter is best for those looking to get a budget digital audio player.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the best MP3 player with Bluetooth connectivity?

The Astell & Kern SR25 is the best MP3 player with Bluetooth connectivity that we can recommend.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the best MP3 audiobook player?

Most MP3 players worth their salt will be able to play audio books, so you can just choose any of the MP3 players above.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the best MP3 player for kids?

The SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is great for kids since it’s cheap and durable.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the best MP3 player for Android?

If you prefer using your phone to listen to music, there are plenty of good MP3 player apps that you can choose from. Some of the best are Musicolet, UAPP and BlackPlayer EX, just to name a few.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.