I bought myself yet another gadget in the hopes that shallow commercialism would cheer me up. In the interests of public safety, and reaching out to the other gadget geeks I'm sure are out there, here are my first impressions (after only a couple of days use, I should warn)

What is it?

  • The Rio Karma is a portable, hard-drive containing MP3/WMA/OGG player


  • My one beef -- it was a little disconcerting when I opened the pack. It's bigger than I thought it would be. Shorter than an iPod, and about as wide, but about 3cm (>1“) thick. Sits in the hand OK, but not a back pocket kind of player. No belt attachment.


  • 20GB of capacity (it's currently laughing at the petty 1.5GB (662 songs, including my ripped Age of Mythology CD [I love that music!!]) I've put into it)
  • Screen about 5cm square (yeah, I could send you to the real specs if I cared)
  • volume -- it can actually hurt my ears, and I didn't crank it. For those who know how deaf I am, this should mean something (and now others know why I'm as deaf as I am)
  • rechargable batteries built in (not replaceable)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0 (both on the unit itself and the docking station), ETHERNET (this one blew me away -- the docking station has an Ethernet jack, so you can sync over the network), RCA (for output, I would imagine). Sorry Duncan, no DVI, or other made up connectors. Funny thing, though. It seemed that syncing over USB was faster than Ethernet.
  • Web server - not as cool as it sounds. However, you can hook it up, and download a little Java app that allows you to send over files (including non-music files -- they call it “Rio Taxi“)


  • Audio quality -- seems excellent, but see above.
  • Battery life? haven't needed to recharge it yet, but they say about 15 hours continuous.
  • Controls - one nice 5 way joystick (directional plus push) and a wheel (which I *just* discovered lets you 'scratch' the song -- or to jump back/forward a few seconds). Few other buttons for volume and power.

What would I like to see?

  • WebDAV support -- would be nice to just push stuff across that way
  • More web server support -- Would be neat (especially in conjunction with the above) to use it as a little web server host -- especially if it had ASP.NET support (you *knew* I had to work that in, no?)
  • Bluetooth
  • Smaller

So far, worth the money to get it (wish it were more full, but with my 'music' “tastes”, that's unlikely). Definite 8/10 at least.

TTFN - Kent