What to Look for When Buying an MP5

MP3 players, once expensive and uncommon, are now used by people of all ages to store and grow their music collection. Far less common in the United States is the MP5 player. Often seen in Malaysian electronics and gadget stores, the MP5 player goes beyond playing music and video, and also records video, takes pictures and allows you to read e-books.

  1. Supports Multiple Formats

    • Most MP3 and MP4 players support just one or two file formats, which means you have to convert incompatible file formats in order for those files to work on those players. MP5 players typically support numerous formats, including AVI, Real, MP3 and WMA, so you do not usually have to convert files to a different format for them to work on an MP5 player. When shopping for an MP5 player, look for documentation of the file types supported by the device.

    Screen and Camera

    • Because MP5 players can play movies and TV shows, the size and resolution of a device's screen is very important, as it affects the quality of video and pictures. MP5 players usually offer screens measuring two or three inches in diameter. If possible, remove the MP5 player from the box and measure the screen before buying it. Some MP5 players advertise a three-inch screen, but the actual screen may be a bit smaller. Also look for an MP5 player with a photo and video camera. MP5 camera quality typically does not compare to the quality of standalone cameras, but it is a handy feature for those who prefer an all-in-one device.

    High-Capacity Storage

    • To build a library of digital content on your MP5 player, you need plenty of space. The storage capacity of MP5 players varies. Most players offer at least 8GB of storage, and some offer up to 20GB. Look for an MP5 player with the highest storage capacity if you plan to build a collection of music and videos, and opt for a player that features a microSD slot, as this will allow you to add more storage space if you fill the onboard storage to capacity.

    Other Features

    • Many MP5 players feature e-book readers, although they may support only text and no pictures. Some MP5 players also offer an audio recorder, allowing you to use the device to record notes at school or work. Other features, such as an FM radio and stopwatch, are also available. MP5 players may also come with a few simple games. Read the MP5 player's description carefully, or spend some hands-on time with the device, to find out if it has the features you want.

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