Posted by Julio
Franco on November 27, 2000
Blue/Diamond Product: Rio
500 MP3 player
With all the popularity behind the MP3 format it wasn’t a
big surprise to see all big peripheral manufacturers release
portable players based on SmartMedia or CompactFlash memory.
The initiative behind them, and in fact the first MP3
portable player to appear in the market was made by Diamond
Multimedia with its Rio PMP300. As we have seen before with
other MP3 related products and stuff, there were some legal
actions taken against Diamond when this first player was
released, but at the end it was Diamond who won in court. The
result that we can see nowadays is that just about every big
and mid-sized peripheral manufacturer (even non PC related)
offers MP3 players in their portable music products line-up.
The player we got for testing was the Rio 500, a
second-generation MP3 player. Even though the Rio 600 is
already available it has been clear to see among enthusiasts
that the Rio 500 remains as the favourite player because of
the 64mb memory integrated to the player.
The Rio 500 has been designed to be as user friendly as
possible, when I first looked at it, I loved its size, being
just slightly bigger than a credit card.
Since we are talking of a second-generation product, it has
got more than the basic playback functions, a bookmarking
options is available, as well as browsing through files so you
can toggle between folders (you can create various folders for
better organization) tracks or the bookmarks you have created.
Browsing couldn’t get any easier than the multi
wheel/button that you have on the right side of the player so
that access to the various menu options scrolling, pretty much
like with a mouse wheel.
The LCD screen, although a bit small does an
excellent job displaying all kind of information: song, title,
artist, playtime as well as a battery indicator. We’ve seen
other MP3 players that only display track numbers making it a
very uncomfortable experience. Even better the screen features
a soft blue backlight that make the screen very readable even
if you run out of daylight.
MB built-in flash memory, expandable with SmartMedia cards
12 hours of continuous playback on 1 AA alkaline battery
port connector for high-speed downloads (5 times faster
than a parallel port connection)
one track, all tracks, or random
custom on-board playlists
earphones, USB cable, battery and software