With the growing popularity of audiobooks and the decreasing prices of both mp3 players and audiobook readers, you may be confused as to which is the best portable device for audiobooks these days. Keep in mind that the option that’s suitable for you, may vary greatly from the choice for another person.
In comparison, a serious book lover will always prioritize storage space and battery life over anything else. More storage space allows you to store and access more books, while a longer battery life helps you cover more chapters of the audiobook before having to pause for a recharge.
You may now take a look at the best portable devices for audiobooks out there.
If you are in a hurry – check out some MP3 & MP4 Players on Amazon.
Table of Contents
Recommended MP3 Players for Audiobooks
Our Pick: Apple iPod Touch
What I like about the Apple iPod touch is that it is a lightweight, can play music or audiobooks, run apps and all the things a smartphone can do except make calls or use GPS, though it can still use maps. I don’t like that the screen is still on the small side at four inches and the 32GB base model is kinda small for most people.
It’s available in 32GB, 128GB, and 256Gb storage sizes. For those who stream most of their video and music and don’t play a lot of games or take a lot of pictures the 32GB is a nice size and you won’t pay extra for storage you don’t use. However, if you do need that storage the 128GB and 256Gb sizes allow a lot of storage capacity for a music collection, photos, and apps.
Apple has updated the A10 processing chip allowing for faster app loading and improved usability overall compared to previous versions which are important as apps get more demanding and require more capable devices. It also allows the iPod to run augmented reality features. AR allows the camera to measure real-world objects, view furniture in a room before purchasing it, play AR-based games and more. I find that useful when I need to ship something and don’t have a ruler but need an estimate of its size.
This iPod is on iOS 13, which is the latest version of the iPhone and iPod operating system. This is important because newer operating systems are more secure and will continue to get security and software updates for a longer period of time. It also means that it has more software features than older models and may also get new ones in a year with the next update.
If you are looking for a dedicated music player, maybe to replace an old iPod or for working out, the iPod Touch is lightweight and portable with a 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth and wifi connectivity. It also works with Apple Music so you can always have new music to listen to. I like the option to connect it to an older car with no wireless options without an adaptor. Bluetooth is important though because a lot of good headsets for working out are wireless and so are the AirPods.
Sony NW-A45/B Walkman
If you’re looking for a nice and affordable way to listen to music or audiobooks than maybe Sony NW-A45/B Walkman is for you. It’s 2020, so you probably have a phone that can do all that, or maybe even one of those nifty iPods.
But sometimes you can’t get away from dedicated devices that do one thing and they do it well. Lately hi-resolution digital audio in uncompressed or lossless format made a comeback, and devices such as Sony NW-A45/B Walkman did as well. Which is a perfect time to inform yourself about the capabilities and functions of such devices?
Tastes vary from person to person, and some of you might disagree, but the design of this gadget is classic. The size of the average credit card, it will fit in most pockets without much fuss. The buttons on the side do not ruin the aesthetic of the device which is a bonus if you like your tech to be stylish as well as functional. All and all, no one can say it’s ugly, and most would say it hits the right spot of function and aesthetics.
It plays music and audiobooks. That’s it. You might think that is a jab but it’s not. That is what you need from a player like this and it does the job very well. No unneeded software to clutter the memory or unnecessary functions tacked on because someone in the development team thought it sounded cool. All the features are designed with that in mind. You need digital noise-canceling and it definitely has that. You are not getting headphones with these but if you have good once laying around and if they support ambient sound modes, you can enjoy that as well.
The built-in memory could be lackluster for some, but with 512GB and considering its size, it’s quite impressive. If you need more Sony promises that it supports SD cards of up to 2TB. That will definitely assure you have enough space for your audio enjoyment.
Battery life is one thing that gives credence to devices such as these in contrast to phones. With a life of 45 hours, it definitely outstrips most phones. So you need no worry that it will die halfway through that audiobook you got from audible.
The interface and menus might be strange if you’re used to more simple apple products. Few more hoops to jump through or more buttons to press. But otherwise very functional interface which provides all the options you need. Metadata such as album covers or book cover art is well presented so you can clearly see it with a glance. Copying the files unto Sony NW-A45/B is fast which is incredible and highly needed. All the popular formats are supported, as you would expect. The verdict is a solid product, which represents the lower end of a high-resolution audio player market. Its affordable price makes it a budget-friendly choice for anyone who enjoys high-quality music.
SanDisk Sansa Clip+
The Sandisk Sansa is especially good for people who want a simple and easy to use interface. There is a large square console pad with a central selector button to select options from the menu, and a separately placed button on the top corner to easily return to the home screen.
There is 8GB of onboard memory, which lets you store quite a few audiobooks, along with some songs. The screen does not include a color display, nor is the device designed to play videos so you should buy it only if you’re into audiobooks and songs.
It links up with your computer through the included USB cable and even has an SD card slot that accepts SD cards as large as 32GB. There is a built-in FM radio as well, with a 40-preset FM tuner. The rechargeable battery lasts 15 hours on a full charge, and there is a clip on the back so you can easily carry it around. Unless you use an SD card, it is not recommended to keep songs and audiobooks together on the built-in flash storage, since space is limited to just 8GB, but you can’t really complain about that since you’re still getting an amazing deal for the price, and it is also built so incredibly well.
What factors to consider when looking for a portable device for audiobooks?
Selecting the right device comes down to these factors, arranged from most important to least important: storage size, battery life, ease of use, the audio quality of included earphones/headphones, connectivity options, and extra features.
Depending on how much of a book lover you are, the storage size probably plays the biggest role in selecting any given mp3 player or audiobook reader device.
You can obviously store more audiobooks and songs, and you will also need a device with longer battery life to take full advantage of that extra storage size. One of the most overlooked things in any reader is the user interface and button layout. You should always choose the device that lets you play, pause, rewind, and jump with ease. A good example is the iPod, with its comfortable to use a circular wheel with which you can switch back and forth between lines and instantly skip sections or pause.
Then, you need to consider whether a good default headphone is something you need. You don’t have to have audiophile-grade headphones, but they should still be good enough for you to hear things clearly and loudly. A lot of older users or people with hearing weaknesses may need to prioritize this aspect of an audiobook reader more than the memory size and battery life. Last but not least, choose something that feels solid and will last for a long time. It should be able to play all major formats of audiobooks and needs to have good connectivity options. The minimum is USB 2.0 compatibility and a 3.5 mm headphone jack for headphone output.