Rio's Nitrus MP3 player looks and sounds great. The rubber edging makes it feel durable, while the shiny face gives it that sleek, techie feel. The supplied ear buds pump excellent sounds, and getting tunes onto the player through the included software program is simple.The Nitrus' small and stylish features put it in a class of MP3 players that unfortunately, inevitably get compared to the recently unveiled iPod mini. While Apple has been criticized for the price, $249, the mini is still superior to any other manufacturer's MP3 player, including Rio. The Nitrus is slightly wider (2.4" compared to 2" for the iPod) and fatter (.6" versus .5"), yet shorter (3" versus 3.6" for the mini), more closely resembling a square than a rectangle. Which shape is preferable is a matter of opinion, but the fact that Apple's version holds more than twice as many songs as Rio's is not. The verdict: Get coffee from the deli instead of Starbucks for a month, and you'll have the extra $50 to buy an MP3 player that is spectacular, not just good. Any questions? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org Sara Calabro writes Toy Box. She is a New York-based staff reporter for PRWeek ----- Price $199 Available at Best Buy, Circuit City, amazon.com, and rioaudio.com Specs The Nitrus has a 1.5 GB hard disk, and a 16-hour rechargeable battery. The dimensions are 3" x 2.4" x 0.6", and it weighs 2.75 ounces. Works with Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, and XP.