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Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players

This year's best media players to give as presents

Apple continues to dominate the portable media player market, but there are some interesting alternatives. We've found five tasty music and video players to choose from.

Apple iPod touch

Apple's iPod touch line goes from strength to strength, becoming even slimmer in this latest version. It's now just 111x60x7mm.

It continues to owe much of its design to that of the iPhone: Apple has now given the iPod touch a 24bit colour LED HD Retina display with a 960x640 resolution – the same as on the iPhone 4. The iPod touch also adopts the iPhone 4's front-facing camera, so the media player can be used with Apple's FaceTime video camera (in a Wi-Fi area). It has a three-axis gyroscope and a GameCenter.

• £189/£249/£329 inc VAT (8GB/16GB/32GB)
apple.com/uk
Apple iPod touch review

Samsung Wave II

It's not just multimedia players that make perfect gifts. A mobile phone that doubles as a media player is sure to go down well on Christmas morning. The Samsung Wave II is a perfect example.

This candybar-style phone measures 124x60x12mm, runs Samsung's Bada platform and features a music player, FM radio and the ability to play HD video.

It has a 3.7in AmoLED touchscreen display and also features a Social Hub that lets you view your phone book, social networks, instant messaging and email together in an integrated one-page layout. You also get a 5Mp camera with an LED flash, along with 2GB of memory that can be expanded with a microSD card up to 32GB.

• Price TBC
samsung.com

Philips GoGear Muse

The GoGear Muse is the latest digital audio and video player from Philips.

Measuring 113x10x58mm, the sleek metal media player is a departure from previous offerings from the company. It features a 3.2in (480x320) LCD touchscreen, letting you browse and select media content, as well as skipping backwards or forwards.

It also has an FM radio with 20 presets. Philips' FullSound technology enhances the quality of compressed MP3 files to make them sound more like the original recording. Bundled with a set of noise-isolating earphones, the Muse comes with an HDMI port that ensures content stored on the device can be played back on a HD display, while a microSD card can be used to expand its memory. The Muse is available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities.

• £99/£129/£179 inc VAT (8GB/16GB/32GB)
philips.co.uk
• Philips GoGear Muse review

SanDisk Sansa Fuze+

If you're seeking something a little less expensive, look no further than the SanDisk Sansa Fuze+. Available in 4GB, 8GB or 16GB capacities, with prices starting from £69, the Sansa Fuze+ has a 2.3in LCD screen and is able to play video as well as music. At 79x48x8mm, it's small enough to fit easily into a pocket. And the Sandisk Fuze+ has a built-in FM radio and voice recorder. We particularly like the fact its internal memory can be expanded with microSD cards up to 32GB in capacity.

The Sandisk Fuze+ is available in red, white, black, blue and purple.

• £69/£79/£89 inc VAT (4GB/8GB/16GB)
sandisk.com

Sony Walkman E450

Karaoke kings and queens are likely to find Sony's latest, final ever Walkman MP3 player right up their street. The personal music player can display song lyrics on its 2.8in screen – the perfect prompt for you to sing along to your heart's content. Better yet, a dedicated Karaoke Mode reduces the original performer's vocal level, so your own voice is heard clearly. You can even record your warbling for posterity.

For less interactive listening, a SensMe feature automatically analyses and categorises your music library, creating a series of themed channels. Just pick your channel to suit the moment, from mellow to upbeat.

• £69/£89/£109 inc VAT (4GB/8GB/16GB)
sony.co.uk

Group test: what's the best MP3 player?

Christmas gift guide index:

sponsored by Misco

PC Advisor's Christmas 2010 gift guide:

  1. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: all-in-one PCs    
  2. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops
  3. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras    
  4. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS    
  5. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: photo printers    
  6. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players    
  7. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories
  8. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: keyboards & mice
  9. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: gaming kit

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