To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, there are two kinds of MP3 PLAYERS in this world: Apple’s superb iPod (now available in a Windows version), and everything else. But some of the non-Apple players are well worth a listen.
CENDYNE GRÜVSTICK, $120
ASSETS: Besides toting 128MB of music, the Grüvstick triples as a flash drive and a voice recorder. Plugs right into USB ports, too.
LIABILITIES: Some users report software problems that botch PC connections.
BOTTOM LINE: Convergence freaks, rock on.
SONICBLUE RIOVOLT SP350, $180
ASSETS: Versatile player handles standard CDs along with MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) files.
LIABILITIES: Packing more than 24 hours’ worth of music, how will you get any work done?
BOTTOM LINE: Another winner from one of the industry’s innovators.
ARCHOS ONDIO, $140
ASSETS: Excellent sound quality; fast file transfer; can also record from the built-in FM radio.
LIABILITIES: No rechargeable battery, and the LCD isn’t backlit.
BOTTOM LINE: A sound deal for the price.