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Portable MP3 Player Hits the Asphalt

After seeing the raft of new portable MP3 players at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, there were some truly awesome derivations displayed that suit our mobile lifestyles. One of them we describe below. Others, such as players worn on your wrist and a module that fits in the slot in Nintendo GameBoy™, we will feature in the 2nd half of February.

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Rome is presently configured with 32MB of internal flash memory, and uses an 18-pin parallel port connection to the PC to allow for data transfer at 246Kbps.

Other features include EQ settings for normal, classic, jazz, and pop/rock. All standard functions that you would expect, including repeat one, repeat all, repeat A-B, random, intro, hold and menu are available.

At present, rome is configured to work with PC's running Windows 95/98 (Pentium 90 or higher). Playing time is up to 6 hours, with the lowest encoded bit-rate. With the standard bit-rate (of 128 Kbps), music play time is about 30 minutes.

As with all MP3 players, the unit is fully skip resistant (no moving parts, dah), so you can shake, rattle and roll with no impact on the tunes. Perfect for the car.

When not popped into a cassette deck or Walkman, it fits great in a top shirt pocket. Versatility unmatched!

Check also The-Gadgeteer's review of the rome. More pictures and details.

And oh, by the way, rome's (remember "Row-me") partner, Juli, will be coming out sometime in the spring from Unitech. More about that later.

So where can you buy one?
Send us e-mail about what you think about this review, whether we answered all of your questions, and/or where to get one of these "cassette" MP3 players.


  ROME - Cassette MP3

  Cassette Unit:
  - 32 Mb memory (built-in),
  - expandable to 64 Mb later,
  - Playing time upto 6 hours
     voice quality, 30 min. music,
  - Battery: 1.2 V Ni-MH,
  - Interface Port: parallel
  - Transfer Rate: (246 Kbps)

  - Battery Charger (120VAC)
  - Headset (ear buds)
  - Cable for connecting to PC
  - Install CD with Jukebox S/W
  - includes 10 MP3 music files

  Availability:  Now

  Price: about $200 to $220

Last updated: March 30, 2000

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