S3 Rio 500 Portable MP3
Anything related to controversy and
audio piracy has been thrown in with the word MP3 ever since
Diamond Multimedia, whose Rio Division has recently been purchased by S3, launched
their Rio PMP300 Portable MP3 Player. Such a device meant a boon for consumers.
For the first time in history, a product was devised with no moving parts
and aside from memory expansion cards, did not rely on
a cost-incurring medium for audio playback. No longer did one have to strictly rely on
their computer to make use of ones favorite tunes in MP3 format and songs
could be easily added to or removed from an MP3 player as the user so
Diamond Multimedia was
subsequently sued by RIAA and was
under threat of seeing their brainchild living a rather non-existent life.
Fortunately for the pro-MP3 generation, they were allowed to continue the
manufacturing of such hardware.
In this review, we will be taking a look
at the S3 Rio 500. The Rio 500 has come a long way over its predecessor in terms
of features, performance and style. With double the memory of the earlier Rio
300, the Rio 500 appeared to have been a reflection upon public demand of the
features that users really wanted in the Rio 300, but never got. We will look at
these advancements in detail as well as give you an overall idea if the Rio 500
delivers what it promises.
The Rio 500
Unlike the Rio 300, the Rio 500 comes in a variety of 3 different
units. No to fret however as each unit differs from the other only in
terms of its outer shell. Deciding between them is only as "difficult" as
choosing your colour preference. These units are as shown
As you can see, two of the models follow the iMac-esque design
through their transparent shells. All three models are equipped with identical
innards and all adhere to the following specifications...
- 64MB of
internal storage capacity.
- Expandable to a total of 128MB through
SmartMedia card upgrades.
- USB port for computer-to-unit transfer rates of
up to 500Kb per second.
- Distortion Rate: 0.01-0.1%
Ratio (S/N ratio) of 95dB.
- One flash memory slot.
- One 1.5V AA battery
- One pair of Koss earbuds.
- Manufacturer's rated battery life
of 13 hours.
- RioPort software included.
certainly welcome change, the Rio 500 uses your USB port instead of the printer
port that many MP3 players used to use. Although the Rio 300 came with a
pass-through interface for the printer port, USB does have its clear advantages
with speed being the major focus.
Physical installation is as easy as it can get. Simply,
connect the unit to the computer through the included cable, boot up the PC,
install the software and drivers and you are ready to go! Sounds simple,