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psa play 120

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Finally, an MP3 player built to accompany the perfect activity--exercise. Nike's psa play 120 has the same guts as the Rio600. S3, Rio's parent company, designed the electronics inside, but the psa play features a more palm- and pocket-friendly oval case. In addition to its belt clip, you also get an elastic arm strap with a light, contoured shell that keeps the player secured on those long runs.

This $299 player features 64MB of built-in memory -- enough for about an hour of MP3 files encoded at 128 Kbps -- and a slot for an extra MMC card. (A 32MB version of the player is also available for $199.) The psa play 120 is a bit expensive, but with its light body; slim, rounded design; and rubberized face with embedded controls, it's truly the first of its kind.

Unlike other MP3 players, the base unit has no display for track names or time; an included remote with controls and round screen can be connected between the unit and the headphones, but it will eat up your AA battery life. In any other player, I might call this a design flaw, but in a sport player, an onboard LCD seems unnecessary. Raised buttons on the psa play's rubber panel make changing tracks and adjusting volume a sight-free task, and it's usually a better idea to keep your eyes on the scenery than on your MP3 player anyway.

The headphones fold up, which is a nice touch, but they're rather flimsy. Also, they're the over-the-head variety, so you won't be able to slip a bike helmet over them.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Innovative design
    • Good controls

    Cons

    • Headphones not as versatile as those that come with the Rio600
    • A bit pricey
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