Average User RatingAverage User RatingAverage User Rating: Number of User Reviews: 4
Reviewed by: dcedillo from OH on May 12, 2004
Experience: 10 Days
Strengths: Solid Belt Clip, super easy menu system, Excellent, BIG LCD display, handy shape, standard mini-usb connection (i.e. no proprietary cord to buy if lost, and may be compatible with other USB devices.
Weaknesses: All minor: No "scan" for Fast foward mode. Belt clip not permanent, blocks USB port. No protection for USB port without belt clip on. No "delete" directly from MP3 Player. Not much else!
Summary: I'm very particular for my MP3 player, and this one fits the bill. I have multiple needs for my MP3 Player. I use it for workouts, so it needs a belt clip (I think armbands are a real pain, they are uncomfortable, itchy, and just soak up the sweat, stinking in no time flat). I also like to use it on travel, so it needs to be able to give me ID3 tag support for when I'm not working out, but still be small and compact enough to not be a hinderance for travel. Belt clip works great on the road too! Small enough to fit in shirt pocket as well.
Couple of other quirks that make it useful to me.
The display is awesome. I tried the MPIO FL100 MP3 Player, but was annoyed by the tiny display which left me scrolling and scrolling through menus, and losing track of where I was. This one shows 6 LINES! That means perusing the menu system is a piece of cake, and the menu system actually uses WORDS instead of archaic symbology. Very easy to switch display options showing track time; time elapsed; equaliser setting; file type, encoding rate and size data; and the date and time.
Volume. A little weak with the included headphones, but a new set of headphones works great. I used the MPIO headphones in this machine, and it made a difference of about 5 "volume points" on the Max 30 scale of the Chiba. (i.e. 25 with the MPIO headphones sounded as loud as 30 with the original headphones)
A nice thing about the volume is it auto resets to 20 when you turn the player off. Great feature for when you are using it while on a plane, and then the next place you turn it on is a quiet room somewhere. Saves those ears from the shock!
MENU. I already mentioned the menu system, but I have to say it again, completely AWESOME. It's very intuitive. I spent about an hour or two getting comfy with the menu system on the MPIO and didn't like it at all. I need to use the manual, which I almost never need. With the Chiba, I still haven't even unpacked the manual. It is completely obvious how to use it and access the features. Awesome, awesome user interface. (By the way, TDK and MPIO use the same firmware it appears in my testings). Really easy to select playlists and stuff, which I love to do...a fast paced playlist for running or working out, and a simple "shuffle" of all tracks when I'm traveling.
It has a "bookmark" mode, that allows you to keep basically multiple settings (i.e. repeat mode, playlist, current track, equalizer, etc etc) Perfect for a guy like me who uses it in two main modes: "Workout" and "Travel" Rather than go in and deselect a playlist, change the play mode to shuffle, and whatever other changes I look, one menu item sets all those things for me. Very handy feature if you either share your MP3 Player, or use it like I use mine.
USB Cable. Mini-usb type is great. I can use the same cable for my MP3 Player and Digital camera. I'd prefer no cable, with a direct connection, but oh well. I understand the complexity, size and weight that adds. But it's great to at least cut down on cord clutter by only using one for two devices. This was a HUGE plus for me. It also means if you lose the cable, you don't have to go to Rio and pay $20 for one, but can pick up one at almost any retail computer parts store.
Now some downsides, and I assure you they are small!
The belt clip is a "wrap around" clip on, that covers the whole backside of the player, and the 4 "edges". It leaves all buttons available, but requires you to take the headphones unplug in order to remove it as it has a "whole" instead of a cutout for the headphone jack. My Xacto knife may have to remedy that one ;) The other downside is that with the clip on, you cannot access the battery compartment (and thus the SD/MMC slot either) or the USB port. Not terrible things, but when you have a friction mount clip, you want to take it on and off as infrequently as possible so as to not wear down the friction stops.
Of course, if you wanted to do the Xacto trick on the usb port part as well, you could, but then you'd expose the port to dirt and debris, as there is NO rubber grommet to keep dirt out. That is very dissapointing to me. It looks as though chiba really intended you to use the belt clip...but then at the same time, it's not permamant. They seemed very torn on the issue, and IMHO, missed. They should have had a screw on belt clip like the old Intel 3000. (Which this unit is replacing for me)
Okay, other negatives. When you FF or REW a song while it plays, you get silence, not a "scan" of the song. This is a minor annoyance, but sometimes you want to scan to the chorus to hear it again, or something of that nature.
And finally, you can't delete a song directly from the MP3 Player. Not a huge deal, but would be nice to save time when you know you have a song on there you don't ever want to hear again :)
Reviewed by: jkibbe from PA on Jun 4, 2004
Experience: 2 Weeks
Strengths: compact size, sporty look, easy-to-navigate menus, decent screen size
Weaknesses: included earbuds couldn't produce enough volume for me, carrying case with clip is only remotely useful, USB 1 is slower than current USB 2 standard, FM tuner only picks up very strong signal
Summary: (Edited June 04th by jkibbe) I used to own a 64MB Samsung Yepp, but sold it since it didn't get along well with my Mac. Now that I have a Dell, I decided to pick up another mp3 player.
I had 4 finalists: Rio Chiba 256MB, Rio Cali 256MB, Creative Labs Nomad Zen 30GB, and a new Samsung Yepp. Even though the Zen is a great buy with lots of space, I decided I wanted something flash-based so I can be active and not worry about skipping. The new Yepp is about the smallest mp3 player on the market. I tried to grab one unsuccessfully on ebay, but decided it is actually too small and not for me since it only comes with a lanyard.
The Chiba and Cali are very similar, except for a few minor differences: color, shape, texture, headphones, and armband vs. waist clip. None of these differences were major factors for me since I already had some headphones and the apprearance of both was fine for me. I wanted the player to wear while at my summer job, so I decided that the waist clip would be more inconspicuous. Besides, I found the Chiba for $20 less than the Cali ($115 vs. $135).
Overall, I'm happy with my Chiba. The stock earbuds couldn't produce enough volume for me, even cranked to full volume (level 30). The headphones had a loose connection which gave me a little static when the plug shifted. I thought about returning it, but my own $10 Sony over-the-ear earbuds gave me the volume I desire and there was no static, so my problem was solved.
The Rio Music Manager software is easy to install and use. I grabbed a 256MB SD card from buy.com for $30 after rebate and doubled my storage capacity.
The waist clip however is about as good as a jumbo-sized paper clip. It isn't spring loaded in any way, and isn't wide enough to slip over my leather belt. Fortunately, the Chiba is so small it easily fits in my pocket!
Things to consider when buying: flash vs. hard drive based units, physical size, memory size, upgradability, file compatibility (mp3, WMA, ogg, etc.), and the main purpose of purchase. If you are going to sit around and listen to lots of music, go with a Zen or ipod (if you have the cash). The Yepp is very small, but probably not best for sports. The Cali has an armband for running.
The Chiba is small and easy-to-use, so now I don't mind push mowing my lawn!
Reviewed by: wangchung from WA on Jan 31, 2004
Strengths: downloads your songs fast, easy to use, small for easy storage, you can play sports with it, jog, whatever.
Weaknesses: it only uses one triple A battery wich doesnt last as long as most, but is still good.
Summary: i had purchased this mp3 about a month ago, and its great.
i can download songs fast and easy, with no problems. i highly suggest getting this mp3 because its small, easy to use, and affordable.
Reviewed by: veg4life on Mar 5, 2004
Experience: 7 Days
Strengths: small, compact, easy-to-use, expandable
Weaknesses: cheap plastic feel
Summary: First unit I've seen to work with all stores, including iTunes. Contrary to the "specs" for this unit, it works with both Mac and PC. I have PC, so haven't tested it with Mac - but according to site it works. Also, it's cool you can add MMC and SD cards to it - increasing the amount of music you can listen to and having genres of music per card.