The newest offering from mp3 player brand Rio, it seems to be the nearest equivalent to Apple's iPod. It's 4 times as roomy - it holds 20 gigabytes of information to the iPod's 5 - but that comes at the expense of some size. While it's nowhere near as large or heavy as, say, the Nomad Jukebox, it's not as teensy as the iPod, coming in at ~10 oz. and ~ 3.5"x5.5", roughly the size of a slightly old walkman.

Another point against the Riot is that it has no firewire connection, only USB - a fact that its detractors say will make transferring music too inconvenient to make use of its size. Of course, the rather obvious reply is that very few people will be trasferring 20 gigs of mp3s on a regular basis.

On the other hand, points in the Riot's favor include a graphic equalizer and what is widely reported to be one of the slickest interfaces around.

Given that the Riot is hard drive based, it contains moving parts, and thus battery life is not exceptional. However, it is very adequate (to me, anyway) at a claimed 10 hour battery life with included rechargable batteries.

Though the Riot doesn't have the instant Mac userbase of the iPod, nor its highly effective advertising muscle, it looks currently to be the best offering of the newest PC-compatible mp3 jukeboxes.

1/13/03 UPDATE Well, in the months since I wrote this, much has changed in the hard drive mp3 player world. The iPod has made serious advances, as littlerubberfeet has pointed out to me, and Apple has released 10 and 20GB versions for both Windows and Macintosh. The Riot has somewhat been eclipsed by the newest Nomad Jukeboxes - the Nomad 3 and the Zen - in addition to the Archos Multimedia Jukebox. Though I had once planned to buy a Riot, I myself recently purchased an Archos. As of right now, in terms of price and features, I would recommend the Archos Multimedia to anyone in the market for a hard drive mp3 player.

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