Gigabeat is Silver Bullet from Toshiba

The Silver Bullet of multimedia players is the new Toshiba Gigabeat – one look and a silver bullet will go right through your heart and you’ll be in love forever – oh, wait that’s cupid. Anyway, Toshiba’s snazzy, silver Gigabeat MEG-F40S packs a 1.8-inch Toshiba hard drive capable of holding an incredible 40 GB of digital media: MP3 and WMA compressed audio and even uncompressed, full-resolution WAV files. That’s about 10,000 songs (more than 600 complete albums) at 128 kbps MP3, a crazy 20,000 songs at 64 kbps WMA, and a still-impressive 1,100 songs or 75 hours of CD-resolution WAV files. A major feature of the player is its bright, crystal-clear, 2.2-inch LCD with 240 x 320 resolution and the ability to render over 65,000 colors. It’s there so you can experience the visual as well as the aural component of your entertainment. The Gigabeat lets you download and view album covers, search for your favorite tracks by scrolling through those album covers, or even set a favorite album cover as your background image. You can download any digital still picture from your PC and create custom slideshows, too–and set them to music. Gigabeat may be versatile, but it’s also easy to operate. Its PlusTouch sensor control lets you scroll through its intuitive menus using only a soft touch or pass of your fingertip. The PC-only Gigabeat is “Plays for Sure”-certified by Microsoft, which means that it will operate with any “Plays for Sure” download site or management software when connected to your PC. Gigabeat is automatically recognized by Windows Media Player 10, so there’s no need to install new drivers of any kind. Toshiba has also partnered with Napster to provide Napster’s “Napster To Go” software, giving you the option of using Napster To Go, Windows Media Player, and/or the supplied Gigabeat Room management software (Gigabeat Room is required for transfer of photo images). So what about your CD collection? After all, you’ll likely be able to stash the entire thing in here, one way or another. Thanks to a unique feature called CD RipRec, all you have to do is place a CD in your PC and press the CD RipRec button while the Gigabeat is docked in its cradle. CD RipRec will launch the software and transfer compressed audio to your Gigabeat quickly and with no further effort on your part. Using a USB 2.0 connection (cable supplied), CD RipRec can transfer the contents of an entire CD to the Gigabeat in as little as 5 minutes. If Gigabeat’s battery life (up to 16 hours) isn’t enough to satisfy your entertainment needs, fret not. Rather than carrying your AC adapter everywhere, simply connect the Gigabeat to any PC with a USB cable and the battery will charge itself again.

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Other features include headphones with an integrated wired remote control, a choice of 10- or 60-second intro scan to help you find a desired song, multilingual support (Japanese, English, French, Chinese, Spanish, and German), and 28 user selectable equalizer settings, and SRS WOW, which simulates surround sound from any two speakers (including headphones). The Toshiba Gigabeat is available at Amazon for under $200.

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Rich Gates

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