The choice is immense and the capabilities can be more than a bit baffling, so just where do you begin when shopping for an MP3 player? Alex Kidman investigates.

Portable music used to equate to carrying a handful of tapes (or if you?re of an even more distinct vintage, a bagful of LPs around to a mate?s house), but the birth and explosive growth of portable music players, commonly referred to as MP3 Players, has made true music portability a reality for everyone.

Your choices range from robust portable units with limited memory to larger and more expensive units that can play back more music than many people will ever own, but if you?re in the market to buy, where do you start?