The new Toshiba Gigabeat S is one slick-looking MP3 player.
Available in a white 30GB model (S30, $299.99 direct) and a black 60GB model (S60, $399.99), it sports a sharp 2.4-inch LCD, a slim profile, and a nifty cross-shaped button array.
Although it lacks voice/line-in/FM recording, this Windows Mobile-based hard drive player offers very good sound quality and is a solid alternative to an iPod for Microsoft Windows users.
Media Center PC owners, especially, will be intrigued by its familiar Portable Media Center interface.
Audio geeks will dig the players support for the WMA Lossless format, and photographers will like the USB Host feature, which lets you connect the player directly to a camera or other USB device.
I hope that a good accessory market will spring up around it soon.
The Gigabeat measures 2.4 by 3.9 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and weighs a scant 4.3 ounces.
Its an attractive player, with a silver anodized aluminum back, a white (S30) or black (S60) front that appears fairly scratch-resistant, and chrome trim.
Theres a cross-shaped four-way rocker with a center select button on the front (a mechanical control replaces the earlier Gigabeats touch-sensitive strips), and just below the 320 by 240-pixel, 2.4-inch LCD, theres a back button and a start button.
If these were the only controls on the player, Id be satisfied. But for some reason, Toshiba chose to put tiny play/pause and track skip buttons—as well as dedicated volume controls and a power button—on the right side.