Diamond Rio 500 MP3 player review

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.

Tech Specs

  • 64 MB built-in flash memory, expandable with SmartMedia cards

  • Over 12 hours of continuous playback on 1 AA alkaline battery

  • Weighs 2.7 ounces

  • USB port connector for high-speed downloads (5 times faster than a parallel port connection)

  • Repeats one track, all tracks, or random

  • Customizable EQ

  • Create custom on-board playlists

  • Includes earphones, USB cable, battery and software

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