How Long Will Your MP3 Player Last?

By Barb Freda

Looked at an MP3 player ad lately? One of the biggest selling points is the play-time the device can offer. ("Listen to music for 10 hours with every charge!") But what counts more is the actual life of the battery itself, because a player is only good as long as its battery can be recharged—hope for two to three years life for the battery (typically a lithium ion rechargeable).

Perfect setup for getting you to buy a new device, don’t you think?

Not so fast. You don't have to live with the idea of a new MP3 player every few years. Here are a few ways to extend the life of your player:

  • Buy a player with a replaceable battery…and buy a new battery at the same time. With the way technology moves, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to buy the battery you need when it actually does go.

  • Don’t overcharge the battery. Letting it run down completely as well as letting it get to the top of its charge (and leaving it on the charger) shorten battery life.

  • Watch the temperature. Leaving the device in a hot—or cold—car, for example (or baking it on a sunny windowsill), saps life.

  • Some makers offer to replace a built-in battery, but at the price (Apple, for example, charges $49 to $79 depending on the device), wouldn’t you likely buy a new player?

  • Finally, these players are getting smaller and smaller. Want more life from yours? Don’t lose it. And if any of you have seen a small, silver iPod shuffle, it’s mine.

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