Get a grip on digital music

Want to put your entire digital music collection on a huge-capacity device smaller than a paperback novel? Look into Creative Labs's Nomad Jukebox 3 and Sonicblue Inc.1's Rio Riot. Each packs a 20GB, notebook-style hard drive; delivers rich, powerful sound; is mobile; and sells for $999.

Despite being a little bulky for most pockets, the Rio Riot emphasizes portability: Its hourglass figure is easy to grip. The larger Nomad is shaped like a traditional CD player and is difficult to grab without accidentally pressing one of its dozen buttons.

You hook either player to a PC via a USB 1.1 port; the Nomad also includes a much faster IEEE 1394 interface. Both players let you navigate through menu options and copious music lists via handy scroll wheels. And both play MP3 and Windows Media Audio files. The Nomad also plays WAV files and has a combination line-in/optical-in port that allows you to encode all three formats without a PC connection. Only the Rio Riot, however, allows you to manually adjust equalizer levels. Accompanying both shipping units are rechargeable lithium ion batteries and an adequate set of headphones.

Although the players were handy, both had glitches. I was able to fix the Nomad's repeated crashes by resetting it or by removing and reinstalling its battery. The Rio Riot suffered from similar -- though less frequent -- lockups, which resetting solved.

Choose the Rio Riot to have lots of music on the go. But if you want a stereo component that's truly mobile, I'd recommend the Nomad Jukebox 3 for its additional features.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sean Captain

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?