MP3 players look set to take the place of CD Walkmans as our portable music device of choice. One of the key reasons for this is the ability to store literally hundreds of tracks on a single unit. However, in order to house your CD collection on a portable MP3 player, you'll need plenty of storage.
That's where devices like the Archos Jukebox 6000, which combines an MP3 player with a 6GB hard drive, come in. The hard drive means that a player not much bigger than a pack of cards can hold 100 hours of music - roughly the equivalent of 81 audio CDs. The Jukebox can only play MP3s, not WMAs, but you can save files in any format. Setup and operation is easy - once you've installed the software and connected the player to your PC via the USB port, the Jukebox will appear as a new drive on your desktop. To copy MP3 files to the Jukebox, simply drag your files from Windows Explorer and drop them into the Archos's drive.
The controls allow you to switch between bass, treble and flat settings, and you can quick-scan through tracks, but the player can't fast forward or rewind. Sound quality is good and the Jukebox 6000 stores a "phenomenal amount of music. When you consider what it can do, the over-$900 price tag no longer seems so costly.
One major quibble is the design: the chunky, box-shaped unit looks dated compared to the sleek, stylish Rio players. On a more practical front, you also need to unscrew the casing to replace the four NiMH batteries.
The Jukebox offers good sound quality and is simple to use, but it was the storage capacity that blew us away. With a built-in 6GB hard drive, the Archos Jukebox 6000 is the model to buy if you want to keep all your favourite music tracks in the same place.
Archos Jukebox 6000
3 stars; Price: $924; Distributor: Advanced Portable Technologies; Phone: 1300 300 213; URL: www.archos.com