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S3 Rio 500 Portable MP3 Player

S3 Rio 500 Portable MP3 Player - PCSTATS
Abstract: 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.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: MP3 Players Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: S3 Sep 14 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > S3 Rio 500

S3 Rio 500 Portable MP3 Player


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 desired.

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 Line

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 here...

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%
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N ratio) of 95dB.
- One flash memory slot.
- One 1.5V AA battery required.
- One pair of Koss earbuds.
- Manufacturer's rated battery life of 13 hours.
- RioPort software included.

A 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, right?

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Contents of Article: S3 Rio 500
 Pg 1.  — S3 Rio 500 Portable MP3 Player
 Pg 2.  First Impressions
 Pg 3.  Audio Quality

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