The iPod may be the standard of excellence when it comes to portable MP3 players, but let's face it - some of us need 10,000 songs worth of storage space like we need Fort Knox to hold our pocket change. The Auvi SA100 MP3/WMA digital audio player presents itself as an alternative for the rest of us.
These players are roughly the size of a lighter, and the 64MB version goes for just $49.99, making it smaller and cheaper than other market entries. Perfect for non-techies, they plug right into your computer's USB port, do not require you to download any software, and are compatible with Windows 98.
On the downside, the 64MB version is barely big enough to fit, say, an album's worth of Nirvana songs (or three Miles Davis tunes), which defeats the original purpose of using an MP3 player (no versions allow for upgrades). Plus there's no display and few playback options, so its performance often compares more to a cassette player than a digital one.
In the end, the SA100 is like most starter items - it will likely only speed your purchase of the real thing.
Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org