Memory Stick without the hassle
There's a good reason this approach might sound familiar. Sony, which has had a stake in Aiwa since the '60s, purchased Aiwa outright in 2002, so it's not too surprising that the Pavit bears fleeting similarity to the Memory Stick. However, Aiwa's copyright protection is much
less stringent than that of its parent company, which should lure more customers than Sony's onerous DRM
scheme ever did. Pavit's only restriction: you can't upload MP3s to another computer.
| | This 2GB hard drive-based player is tough enough for activities that could damage other high-capacity MP3 players. | |
There are three styles of flash player in the Pavit series. The AZ-RS128
(with FM and display) and AZ-ES128
(with neither) both look like hockey pucks from the future, with controls lining their outer edges. The AZ-FS128
(with FM and display) and AZ-HS128
(without) are wireless headphone-style MP3 players. Finally, the AZ-BS32
is a water-resistant model with a speaker--suitable for the shower. All five models use Pavit cartridges that can be swapped freely among the players.
Fat capacity; superslim player
| || | This classy player seems way too small to have a 2GB, one-inch hard drive inside.
Last but definitely not least in the Pavit lineup are two ultracompact hard drive-based players. Aiwa wouldn't tell us which company makes the one-inch hard drives that these players use, but that company did a fine job. These models are tiny, considering that they hold 2GB of music (just about 36 hours of tunes). The HZ-WS2000
is unbelievably thin; it resembles something you'd carry your business cards around in. The display is found on the unit's in-line remote. The more rugged HZ-DS2000
has a rubberized edge to protect it against accidental drops, as well as an intriguing button that prevents the hard drive from spinning. The latter feature means that you can work out for a full 20 minutes while listening to music playing back from the device's flash buffer. High capacity and 100 percent shockproof operation offer the best of both worlds--perfect for skiers and snowboarders.
All models will be available by March 2004. Competition in the portable-audio area is getting quite fierce, but from what we've seen, Aiwa's new players should fare well--especially the ultracompact 2GB models.