Hi Lifehacker, I'm looking to improve my work-life balance and exercise more, so I want the right device to acquire, store and play music on. With Walkmans long gone and the iPod apparently being phased out, what's the best choice? I'm particularly keen to be able to download playlists and new music that I haven't encountered. Thanks, Mr Unsound
Exercise picture from Shutterstock
Dear Mr Unsound,
For the record, the iPod itself isn't disappearing completely — the high-capacity drive-based iPod classic has been discontinued, but the other models are continuing. There are also lots of other MP3 players around, some of which are very cheap indeed.
However, in your situation we suspect that a better solution would be to use a smartphone rather than a dedicated music player. This has several advantages. Because it's a multi-purpose device, you can also use fitness apps to track your progress (and take emergency phone calls if you're out jogging).
Given that you're keen to access new music, we'd recommend using a streaming music service such as Spotify. This gives you a wide range of tracks, and the ability to check out recommendations from others. Listening to streaming music doesn't use an enormous amount of data, but if that's a concern, you can sign up for Spotify Premium, which lets you download tracks as well. You can also easily transfer all your existing music files to the device.
Almost any smartphone will fit the bill for these purposes. We'd lean slightly towards Android, if only because Android devices allow you to add extra capacity via an SD card if you want to store a lot of music. Check out Gizmodo's current recommendations for the best smartphones for some ideas. Enjoy your exercise!
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