The introduction of the MP3 player to the mainstream market brought with it an influx of new names to the electronics game altogether. One of the first on the scene, actually claiming to have created the world’s first portable MP3 player in 1998, was Rio. Without the resources to compete with the big boys; Apple, Philips, and Creative, Rio went the route of competing to be the leader in the compact, durable player.
Rio’s line of Forge Sport Players sets the tone for the athletic at heart by offering three different sizes, 128MB, 256MB, and 512MB players. The Forge Sport Players are built with shock absorbing technology, FM tuner, up to 20 hours of battery life, sport clip earphones, and a stopwatch. If you spend a decent amount of time at the gym you’ve no doubt seen these small players attached to someone’s upper arm in a dead sprint.
The Rio Carbon 5GB and 6GB players are as big as Rio goes in reference to disk space, though the size of the player itself can rival the iPod Mini. With a built-in microphone for voice recordings you can record important messages to yourself in the 20 hours of battery life you have to use on a single charge. If you don’t have a massive music collection to store or just want to have enough space to hold a particular genre, this player has more than enough space to accomplish the task.
While Rio definitely makes a product worthy of reviewing in your quest to join the digital music race, there are some concerns to give time of thought to. The “jog wheel” and center pad seem to cause a good amount of grief as they are not built for maximum durability and become fractured or just plain break in a relatively short amount of time.
Another problem for the Rio product that seems to be a problem with several different brands of MP3 player is difficulty with the battery. It does have strong life when charged and ready to use, but when it goes out it is not replaceable, meaning you must purchase a new player. The battery is supposed to last two to three years, but in many cases it faults in a matter of months leaving the user out in the cold.