Audiobooks have become a bit of a trend these days, which is awesome. People are yearning for knowledge and any way that gets the proper stuff running towards your noggin is absolutely fine by us.
To enjoy an audiobook, you don’t really need that much. They don’t occupy a whole lot of virtual space and don’t require the latest audio breakthroughs, but knowing a few tricks and shortcuts can definitely be helpful.
So, we went through the vast array of available players on today’s market to bring you the best device for audio books. When all the factors, such as sound quality, value for money and size are taken into consideration, these are our 5 top picks. (Yes, there are all Apple products, but there’s a very good reason why; we explain in our conclusion.)
Apple iPod Classic
If you’re looking for a device that will make your audio books come alive, you might want to consider getting an iPod. Essentially, if you’re an avid fan of audiobooks or if you are looking for a new device to use both for sonic books and music, you can’t go wrong with this classic Apple device.
Note that the device comes with a brand new set of genuine Apple Earpods (likely the best headphones for audio books), a sync cable and a charger cube. The sound quality of iPods is very well known, but in terms of audiobooks things are once again taken to a new level. You will get to really get into the given matter and you are far less likely to be distracted by any bystanders.
Additionally, if you’re a music fan as well, this baby has your back covered for just about any style from EDM to metal and from jazz to pop. Needless to say, the massive 160 GB storage is more than enough for many, many tomes. This should be on any list of the best devices for audio books.
Apple iPod Touch
If an iPod Classic is a tad too much for you, but you’d still like to stay in the high-end region, we highly recommend checking out the iPod Touch. With 32 GB of space, it still brings many top-quality features of the classic model, only tucked up in a bit more of a budget friendly package.
We’re talking about enough storage for 8,000 songs, 40,000 photos, or 40 hours of video here, which is quite a lot of space. The device works on a single lithium ion battery that can deliver 40 hours of audio playback, or seven hours of video playback in a single charge. Once the battery is out, the full recharging process takes only about four hours.
The device supports all the file types you might need, including AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV. The sound is loud and crystal clear, more that enough for a top-notch listening experience.
This product is available in sleek black or white color, and has a small weight of 3.5 ounces. This is easily one of the best audio book readers.
Apple iPod Nano
The 7th Generation iPod Nano was the thinnest iPod to date when it was released, with a depth of only 5.4 millimeters—a compact and convenient size for listening on the go. It has a smaller storage capacity than the two models above, but its capacity of 16GB is still plenty to hold your favorite audiobooks. The battery capacity is also slightly diminished, typically giving you around 30 hours of play time per charge. Again, though, the majority of users will find this to be plenty to suit their needs.
If you’re looking for a mix of convenience and value from your audiobook device, the Nano just might be the way to go. It costs just over $150, less than either of the models above, and its convenient size has already been mentioned. It still offers you a 2.5-inch touchscreen interface, however, making it easy to interact with for those accustomed to using smart phones. While the screen’s resolution might not satisfy the demands of HD video, it’s perfectly fine for navigating through the menus of your audiobooks. The controls for playing, pausing, and adjusting the volume are intuitive, too, letting you quickly and easily navigate your tracks.
Apple iPod Shuffle
You might think something called a “shuffle” wouldn’t work for audiobooks, but the name of this device is somewhat misleading. It can indeed play tracks in order, and if you’re just looking for a basic player to take a few books with you on the go, an iPod shuffle is the perfect option. It’s also the only player on this list that you can get for under $100, making it an affordable option as a designated audiobook player, or for anyone who’s on a budget.
Because there’s no included display, learning to navigate the controls on the Shuffle isn’t quite as easy as with the touchscreen options above, especially if you haven’t used many Apple products in the past. You will have to do more curation in the iTunes library on your computer, but once you get used to the process you’ll find it’s easy enough to set up and synch playlists for the individual books you want to take with you. It gives you 2GB of storage space and 15 hours of playback per charge, plenty for your workout or trip to and from work. If you want maximum convenience with a small size and a built-in clip, the Shuffle might be the best device for audiobooks period.
Apple iPad Mini 4
People enjoy listening to audio books for a lot of different reasons, but one of their main advantages is to let those with impaired vision continue to enjoy their favorite books. If this is one of your main motivations for seeking out an audio book player, using a tablet instead of an MP3 player can often be your best choice.
The 7.9” display on this iPad Mini is much easier to see and navigate than the cramped buttons and small screen on MP3 players (and if you still want a bigger size, there’s always the full-sized iPad [see it here] with its 9.7″ screen). Tablets like the iPad also come with more accessibility features, letting you customize the display to suit your needs. You can use a higher-contrast color setting for better visibility, or increase the size of objects on the screen using the zoom function.
The main trade-off you have to make for this bigger screen size is the portability. The iPad Mini is the smallest of the tablet options, with a slim profile that will still let it fit easily in a purse or backpack, though you aren’t likely to be strapping it to your arm when you go running, the way you can with an iPad.
The audio book controls are also generally better on an iPad than an MP3 player. You can skip around easily within the book or jump to a specific chapter, so long as the book has defined chapter markers. These more intuitive controls make it a great choice for any audio book enthusiast, but it’s an especially good option for anyone who needs expanded visibility options.
“What should I look for in a listening device for audio books?”
You may have noticed a trend with the products listed above: all of them are Apple products. The reason for this is primarily based around the bookmark function. You’re rarely going to be able to listen to an entire audiobook in one sitting. If you want to use your player for anything else in between chapters of the book, you’re going to want to be able to add a bookmark within a track, so that you can pick up where you left off. This is a surprisingly rare feature on portable music players, and one that Apple seems to have a monopoly over, at least at the moment. Thankfully, Apple offers products in a wide enough range of styles, sizes, and price points that you shouldn’t find this brand restriction too limiting.
If we are talking strictly about audio books, you will first and foremost need to make sure that you don’t buy more than you need. A basic player is more than enough, and if you’re looking to save a few bucks, always keep that in mind.
In the sonic department, you will want to look for devices that are not bass-driven. So if a seller tells you he has the perfect thing for fans of EDM or any other bass fueled music genre, you might want to skip that.
What you’re looking for are a clean treble section and a decent mid-range punch to make the voice stand out. Some basses are OK, but you definitely don’t want too much of them to make the sound muddy.
And that about wraps it up. Treat yourself with one of these best devices for audio books and enjoy your favorite audio fiction and nonfiction today!