TOY BOX: CD fans will like the sound of RioVolt

The RioVolt SP350 is found in the "portable MP3 players" section of most stores and websites. Even the product's packaging has a prominent label that boasts Rio as the "#1 best selling MP3 brand." While this is somewhat true, it is a bit misleading.

The RioVolt SP350 is found in the "portable MP3 players" section of most stores and websites. Even the product's packaging has a prominent label that boasts Rio as the "#1 best selling MP3 brand." While this is somewhat true, it is a bit misleading.

On its own, the SP350 doesn't play MP3s. Rather, it plays CDs onto which MP3 files have been transferred, which makes it just another CD player. Unlike true MP3 players, which connect to computers through a USB or FireWire port, the RioVolt does not directly attach to the PC. It comes with PC and Mac software through which users can manage audio files, but those items must be burned onto a CD before the SP350 can play them. As a standard portable CD player, the SP350 is a winner. Less than one inch thick, it has a sleek metallic look with a three-line backlit text display. It comes with adjustable equalizers, repeat and shuffle modes, a programmable play-list function, and an integrated FM tuner. The verdict: A nice upgrade if you're averse to parting with your CD collection, but those ready to go completely digital should look elsewhere. Any questions? Write us at toybox@prweek.com ----- Price $179.99 Available at Circuit City, Best Buy, and sonicblue.com Specs Plays MP3 and WMA CDs, CD-R, CD-RW, and standard music CDs. It also comes with rechargeable batteries, 32-minute skip protection, and a car kit (car cassette adapter and cigarette lighter power adapter)

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