After 21 years in production, Apple has announced the iPod will be no more. Pour one out for the iPod! If you’re the kind of person who wants to actually have their digital music separate from your phone, you’ll be rushing for iPod alternatives. Also of note, Apple is discontinuing the iPod Touch which revolutionized how we listened to our music while on the go, and it will only be available to buy “while stocks last.”
The news is not completely out of nowhere. Many of the features in the iPod Touch are currently available on our iPhones – including music – so most of our music listening can seamlessly transition there. But there was something handy, and elegant about having an iPod when we just needed our music. The iPod is smaller and lighter, plus a whole lot cheaper than our iPhone. It will be hard to say “goodbye” to the perfect workout tool.
Thankfully though there are still several MP3 players available on the market – perfect iPod alternatives for those of us who care about music, the “old” way.
Here are a few standouts:
1. Sony NW-A105 Walkman A Series
This is not your old-school Walkman – it’s been revamped and is really similar to an iPod Touch. It has a large storage capacity so we can store all our music, plus allows for a microSD card to expand as our library grows.
R3 Pro Saber MP3 Player
This MP3 player is super compact and lightweight so it’s great for going on a run or doing higher-impact workouts. It also has a long battery life, and while it does not have an internal storage capacity, it holds up to 2TB in microSD cards.
This MP3 player has everything that makes them useful: it’s lightweight and portable, it does not have internal storage but lots of external drive space. It also got a good battery life and has Bluetooth for fast music transfer. Some say it’s not as user-friendly and intuitive as something like the iPod, but it does not take long to learn the button functions.
- [Desktop-league DAC ES9038PRO]: The left and right audio channels each contain a desktop-class, 8-channel ES9038PRO flagship DAC. This means that each audio channel has 8 parallel outputs summed together for superior resolution and minimal distortion for extremely pure audio reproduction.
- [Desktop-class THX 788+ headphone amp]: Desktop-class amplification also plays an important role in the M17. FiiO and THX jointly developed the exclusive THX AAA-788 +, an upgraded version of the original op-amp. Compared to the original, output power is increased by 225% up to 3000mW per channel with a lower output impedance – allowing it to more effortlessly power all kinds of headphones.
- [Desktop-level connectivity]: The M17 DAPs features: 3.5mm output: headphone out / line out; 6.3mm output: headphone out; 2.5mm output: balanced headphone out; 4.4mm output: balanced headphone out / balanced line out; RCA coaxial port: coaxial input and output; USB 3.0 port: supports USB Host and Device modes, can be used for high-speed data transfers and fast charging; USB 2.0 port: supports USB Host mode, allowing external DACs or hard drive storage to be connected.
- [Desktop-tier heat dissipation]: With exceptional audio quality comes with large power consumption, so effective heat dissipation was a large focus when designing the M17 DAPs. Not only are “H” type heat dissipation and VC liquid cooling technologies adopted, the M17’s 151g unibody aluminum alloy frame also effectively transfers heat out of the device. Finally, the cooling fan stand also further makes sure heat is rapidly transported away.
- [Desktop-quality power supply]: The M17 portable player contains two power supplies – a battery power supply and a power supply powered by external DC power. The battery power supply allows you to use the M17 in situations where there is no access to a power outlet. Under DC power supply, voltage in the analog circuit is increased by 35% up to 11.5V compared to under battery power supply; and the battery is kept healthy since it is not used in this mode.
- [Desktop-grade gain]: Under battery power, there are 4 gain levels: low, medium, high, and headphone mode. When under DC mode, the enhanced over-ear headphone mode gain is unlocked, with a truly desktop level of amplification gain. In balanced output, gain can get as high as 16dB – allowing the M17 to easily drive most headphones.
- [A true smartphone-like experience]: Android 10 OS open to install 3rd party apps; Bluetooth 5.0 with support for aptX Adaptive, supports up to DSD512 and 32bit / 768kHz, supports MQA 8x unfolding for master-level sound.
- [Immense 9200mAh battery]: The massive 9200mAh battery allows for a battery life of up to 10 hours on the M17 music player. It can be charged either through USB or through DC in from an external DC adapter. Battery capacity: 9200mAh; Charging time: 4.5 hours; Charging protocols: QC4.0 + PD; Battery life: 10.6 hours (single-ended), 8.6 hours (balanced).
- [Radiant RGB ambient light]: The M17 features a seven-color RGB ambient light system with extensive customization options. Colors can be set to be either fixed, to follow the audio, or to follow a cycle. The brightness of the ambient light can be set to change depending on the current power, volume, or temperature. And finally, the top and side ambient lights can even be controlled separately, allowing you to dial in exactly how you want your dazzling lights to be.
- [Connection methods]: With speakers: DC + LO + speakers; With computer: USB DAC + headphones; With desktop DAC: USB / coaxial output + DAC; With hard drive storage: DC + USB2.0 + hard drive + headphones; With Bluetooth headphones: Bluetooth transmitter + Bluetooth headphones; Coaxial decoding.
4. M17 Media Player
On the higher end of the price scale, the M17 Media Player is an MP3 player that offers great sound and durability. It comes with an internal storage of 64GB but offers additional storage through the microSD card slot. For the price tag, the battery life of 10 hours is not the greatest.
5. A19X Portable Music Player
Another affordable MP3 player, the AGPTEK offers several perks including large storage capacity, long battery life, and great durability. With it being on the lower price point, there are not any capabilities to use any music streaming services with this one.
Happy listening! And for one out for the iPod!