Zune's great for podcasts, but you'll have to buy it overseas. (Credit: Microsoft)
Obviously, an MP3 player's foremost purpose is music playback, but these days people are using their devices for much more than just that. You can view photos, watch videos, even play games in some cases. But perhaps one of the most popular side dishes people like to enjoy is podcasts — heck, it's the main dish for some.
Podcasts are great for many reasons, not the least of which is that they're free. Plus, you can count on finding someone talking about just about any topic known to man, so there's something for everyone. CNET Australia's own weekly Digital Life podcast can be found here.
Of course, not every MP3 player handles podcasts equally, which is why we've rounded up some of the best options for you here. The criteria? At the very least have a separate menu sort dedicated to podcasts. Other desirable features include user-friendly podcast-management software, bookmarking capability (whether active or passive), accelerated fast-forwarding, variable playback speeds, and the ability to delete podcasts on the fly once you're done listening.
Microsoft's Zune player is one of the best, but unfortunately it's never been sold in Australia. Its software is excellent for podcasts: you can manage how many episodes you want to sync to your device on a subscription-by-subscription level and you can also unsubscribe from podcasts directly from the player. There's an option to wirelessly sync new podcasts when you charge your player at night and it has accelerated fast forwarding and passive bookmarking to automatically remember your spot in each podcast.
While not quite up to the high bar the Zune sets, all of the players in this round-up offer at least two of the extra features mentioned above.