The 7 Best Audio Players for Walkers to Buy in 2019
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Is there anybody out there who needs an audio player other than their smartphone? The world has changed since days of yore. But there are times that your phone isn't what you want to take along. Here are the options, some of them being more archaic.
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A smartphone is the only device you need to bring walking. You can listen to music, streaming services, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio. Having access to cellular data is the big difference between the audio entertainment you can access on a smartphone compared to other devices. With most smartphones, you can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones. Beware of the latest iPhone models where that's your only choice without an add-on to connect to your wired headphones or earbuds.
You can send messages and make phone calls. Apps provide maps, track your walking speed and distance, monitor your heart rate, and more. You can take photos along the walk. It effectively eliminates the need for much of the stuff walkers used to carry, such as maps, music player, camera, and phone. The drawback is that a smartphone is fairly sizable. You have to think about how you'll carry it. With most smartphones, you can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones. Beware of the latest iPhone models where that's your only choice without an add-on to connect to your wired headphones or earbuds.
Battery life can be an issue for smartphones. You'll likely need to recharge it at least daily, if not far more often when using some apps and GPS.
An MP3 player allows you to take along your music and audiobooks without being tied to Apple products. Since Apple has discontinued most iPod models, an MP3 player can be a good choice, and it is a much less expensive option than an iPod touch. Check to ensure it has Bluetooth if you want to use it with wireless earbuds. Some models also have FM radio, voice recorder, and a built-in pedometer function. Typically, the battery can last for days before recharging, which can be a big advantage when you are traveling or backpacking.
The iPod touch can do a lot of what the iPhone does, such as taking your iTunes library along with you for music, audiobooks, and podcasts. However, you can only listen to streaming services when connected to WiFi, which is unlikely on outdoor walks. It has Bluetooth for connecting to wireless headphones and earbuds. You'll need to connect to WiFi or your computer at home to update those and to send messages. It has a camera. However, it lacks true GPS so you can't fully track your walking workouts for speed and distance. The motion sensors will tell you your steps and other health for pedometer apps.
The iPod Shuffle has been discontinued by Apple, but you can find it on closeout or used. It served for years as a great solution for walkers and runners, with its tiny size and lightweight making it ultra-portable. It does just one thing—play music, podcasts, and audiobooks. The drawbacks are that you can't go wireless as it doesn't have Bluetooth, and that may have led to its downfall. But with the small size and built-in clip, it's a great choice for half-marathon walks and wired earbuds.
A standard portable CD player lets you use the same CDs in your home, car, and while out walking. The disadvantage is that it is big and you may need to buy a hip pack designed to carry it. CDs are also becoming dinosaur technology. The advantage is the low price and you don't need to go online to download music. You probably have a stack of CDs or you can buy them used cheaply. You can also borrow books on CDs from your local library. But if you want Bluetooth, you'll have to search for a model that supports it.
Audio Cassette Player
The Walkman is still going strong. The disadvantage is that it is old technology. Tapes are getting harder to find or crumbling to dust. For longer walks, both the player and tapes are bulky. You'll have poorer audio quality, especially if you record your own favorites. The advantages are that it is inexpensive and you can record your own tapes from other media with no need for a computer. You may be able to borrow audiobooks on cassettes from your local library. You'll have to search for models that might support Bluetooth earbuds.
FM or the less-common AM/FM radios can be a feature of the other types of audio players, or you can buy a stand-alone radio. The disadvantage is that you may have poor reception or difficulty finding a station you enjoy. The advantage is that you can stay connected in an old-school way.
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