New MP3 Players Expand Music Memories

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - If the memory limitations of today's MP3 players frustrate you, you're not alone. I looked at shipping units of two players from Sensory Science Corp.: The RaveMP 2300 and its tiny sibling, the RaveMP 2200.

The RaveMP 2300, which costs US$299, is the first unit to include a built-in Iomega Clik drive. That means you can create albums of up to 40MB and store each of them on inexpensive Clik disks ($10 to $15 apiece; two disks are included with the drive).

On the other hand, the 2300 is heavier than the $279 RaveMP 2200 and twice as big. The 2200 features an FM radio, 64MB of memory, and a Smart Media card slot. Smart Media cards remain pricey--32MB of storage space will cost you about $75. The 2200 is powered by a single, easily replaceable AA battery.

Both players connect to your PC via USB cable, and they include their own software for uploading files. However, the Clik drive transfers music nearly four times faster. Though both support voice recordings, the larger MP3 player also lets you import your Microsoft Outlook phone-book directory and store other data files on a disk--handy for backing up important files. I also was impressed that the 2300's antiskip buffer permitted music to play smoothly and without interruption, despite its Clik disk, no matter how hard I jostled it around.

The 2300 incorporates some dubious design choices: The door of its drive should be sturdier, and the lithium ion battery may be recharged, but it cannot be removed. Another glitch: The 2300 can recognize only Windows Media files that have been encoded with Microsoft's digital rights management disabled.

I give points to the 2300, which looks like a slim, high-end Walkman from Sony, for its versatility. But if you don't mind continually uploading your music to the player, the edge then goes to the sleek, pocket-size 2200 for slightly fuller sound quality. Earbud headphones are also included with the 2200.

--Melissa J. Perenson

RaveMP 2200

PRO: Small enough to fit in a jeans pocket; excellent sound; powered by a single AA battery.

CON: Smart Media cards are pricey.

VALUE: Goes anywhere, stylishly.

List price: $279

RaveMP 2300

PRO: Creates inexpensive albums using Iomega Clik disks; doubles as a data backup device.

CON: Battery isn't removable.

VALUE: Like swapping around your own mixes? This is the one to get.

List price: $299

Sensory Science


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