By Robert Menta- 10/18/01
As the months go by, we are starting to see more and more MP3 products from the big electronic giants. It took them a little time, but that was mostly a conservative strategy on their part to see how well digital music was going to fly before they decided how much effort to invest. With the effect Napster had on CD burner sales alone, and the overwhelming adoption of the Napster clones during that company's dormancy, the major brand manufacturers are jumping onboard and in full force.
Digital music is here to stay and there is a large and profitable new market segment to serve. Zenith recently threw their hat in the ring with the shipment of their MP3 player, the Zenith MP360.
The MP360 is a 64MB player, which can upgrade to 128MB via MultiMedia (MMC) flash cards. Aiming for the higher end of the market, the Zenith player runs on rechargeable batteries and comes with a remote control. Like the Nike MP3 players, there is a full LCD display on the remote, a nice feature.
With a 3.1" x 3.1" x 0.7" footprint, the player is slightly larger than the Rio 500 or the Intel Pocket Concert. Files are transferred via the USB port using the SonicBlue's Rioport Audio Manager Software. This is not one of our favorite transfer programs, but it works and is finding its way to quite a few of the big electronic company offerings. The MP360 plays only MP3 files, eschewing Microsoft's WMA format, which is showing up on more and more units these days.
Zenith is promoting sound enhancing features for the MP360, marketing its Surround + High Tone + Ultra Bass Booster system. Any features that improve the listening experience is always welcome, though we find on almost all units the most dramatic way to improve audio quality is to upgrade the accompanying earbuds.
The MP360 lists for $329.00 and is available now.
The new Rio Volt SP90 MP3/CD player is available on Amazon for $99.00
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