Smartphones may have taken over, but there's still a time and place for a dedicated portable music player...

Despite mobile phones becoming the popular choice for playing music on-the-move, a standalone music player delivers a few differences that might make it more useful. 

First things first, there's a fair chance they will deliver better sound quality. Then there's the fact that you don't have to use your phone, saving your smartphone's precious battery.

Many players now play hi-res audio, which is far from a given in the mobile market, and are likely to have more storage than your smartphone. Again, there's a knock-on effect for your phone in terms of freeing up storage space.

And if you want to get serious, the higher-end portable players can deliver good enough audio quality to double-up as the main music source in your home. So without further ado...

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Best portable music player under £200
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Tested at £170

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Hi-res music players don't all cost a fortune. If you want to try hi-res and aren't after flashy features, this is a fine place to start.

MORE: Sony NWZ-A15 review

Best portable music player under £500
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Tested at £400

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Our Product of the Year, Awards 2015, this hi-res player isn't cheap, but its build quality and performance make it a formidable, portable pleasure.

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Best portable music player under £1000
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Tested at £950

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This second-gen hi-res walkman is impressive. If you're an audio enthusiast who takes music seriously, you should take a closer look.

MORE: Sony NW-ZX2 review

 

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