RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [06.11.02]
Manufacturer: Imation
MSRP: $250



Between the Rio, the RoqIt, and several other offerings, MP3 players have really taken the industry by storm. There are even CD-based ones, ranging from primitive models all the way to devices manufactured by Pioneer and Sony. But Imation may have one-upped everyone today.

First, they have adopted a relatively new size standard for CDs, namely the 80 MM CD, which holds 185 MB of data. They took this and wrapped it around a CD-based audio player that was smaller than the competition, because of the disc size. Then they added WMA support in addition to MP3.

Now this starts to sound like an infomercial, because if you act now, you get a free USB-based CD-R drive absolutely free! Well, not quite, since the price point will most likely restrict this to hardcore audiophiles and gadget-collectors at first. But since we are Hardcore, and I love gadgets, we're going to have a look at the Imation RipGO! and see what it's got.

First Impressions

At first, I was surprised at the relatively tiny box when FedEx dropped it off, because I'm used to a LOT of excess packaging with computer products, mostly for shock-protection if anything. But the box is as small as it can possibly get, and packed REALLY tight. Inside you'll find a set of headphones, an AC adapter, a special USB cable (the RipGO! doesn't use the standard USB "B" connector), the battery pack, 2 blank mini-CDs ad a mini-CD containing the software. Oh, and the RipGo itself.

At first I was annoyed at the tiny installer CD, but then I thought about it. Because it fits the RipGO, you could install this software and device on any laptop or system with a USB connector. The RipGO will also function as an ordinary CD reader, so long as the CD is one of the 8 cm mini-CDs.

Included on the CD is Nero Burning Rom, for normal CD-Burning, as well as MediaJukebox, and Windows Media Player 7.1 (which is extraneous for anyone running Windows XP, which comes with v8).

I was disappointed to not see MusicMatch Jukebox on here, since it's a wonderful all-in-one solution for burning and encoding audio using MP3, WMA, or any other format available. But we'll still see what these have to offer.

Once I saw this device, several things went through my head as far as uses. Obviously, it's going to be an audio player. Of course it will burn CDs for you, though for people who already have a CD burner, it's somewhat redundant (Those who DON'T have a burner, however, might appreciate not having to have one installed just to use a music player). But I also figure this device would make a fantastic addition to a field computer technician's laptop bag, if his laptop doesn't already have a CDRW in it. After all, it's light, it's small, and it doesn't need to be plugged in, since it can burn on battery power. True, the CDs are smaller, but it might be just the thing for downloading drivers to save a dead system. Or backing up data on a system with only a floppy drive (or not even that) for removable storage. So we're going to test this like an ordinary CD-R as well.

Next Page: (2)