Back to School: MP3 players

Students! You’re going to be spending a lot of time, on and off the quad, listening to music. I made it through college with an MP3-CD player, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Click through for our list of best MP3 players for a college student.

Device iPod Classic Zune 16 Cowon D2 Zen Stone Plus iPod Touch
Capacity 160GB 16GB SD Card 4GB 16GB
Price $350 ~$200 $180 $70 $400
Pros -Huge
-lots of accessories
-Conversation starter
-Slick interface
-Accepts many formats
-Voice recorder
-App Store
Cons -Boring
-Just for music
-Still expensive
-Weak software
-Still a rumor
-Foreign and weird
-No local memory
-Limited capacity
-Screen is tiny
-Super expensive
-"An iPhone! No? Oh..."

iPod Classic
Yeah, I know, you could have gotten this recommendation from your dog. But with high capacity and a proven interface that everybody you meet will understand, this is a great choice if you like to share your music with others.

Zune 16GB (upcoming)
This is your conversation-starter. People will laugh and say "A Zune? Come on." And then you'll show them the fun interface, great build quality, and great sound, and also that it's got 16GB in a package the size of a Nano. They'll shut up.

Cowon D2
If you're nerdy like me, you need support for lots of different formats. Cowons are famous for supporting every format you could possibly find on the dorm LAN. It looks anonymous but it's got a great little touchscreen and Cowons are high quality.

Creative Zen Stone Plus
It's a fun-looking little doodad, comes in lots of colors, and is your perfect companion at the gym. It'll only set you back $60 or $70 so you might just want to get one just in case. It has voice recording, an FM tuner, and a really small screen.

iPod Touch
If you have the cash for one of these things, it will be your best friend. Forget the iPhone — it's overpriced and buggy right now. The iPod Touch gives you 95% of the functionality and since you're on a college campus, you'll be saturated with wi-fi everywhere you go so you can pull up Wikipedia in class to fact-check your professors or chat with your other bored friends.