Haier America's flash-based Ibiza Rhapsody is pricier and larger than the competition, but its straightforward interface, excellent wireless integration, speedy processor, and plethora of features should appeal to those looking for a player that does it all.
Oddly, the bottom edge of the Ibiza houses both a standard mini USB port and a proprietary dock connector. The former handles syncing and charging, so we assume the latter is meant to accommodate future docking accessories.
The top side of the player contains the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a Hold switch, and the Connect button, which allows you to activate the Wi-Fi with one press. The player can stream and download content over Wi-Fi as well as output audio via stereo Bluetooth.
A large, square touch pad on the front of the device is complemented by a good array of tactile controls. The touch pad--which is surrounded by Play/Pause, Track Shuttle, and Back buttons--is responsive and can be clicked in the center to make selections.
The flash Ibiza is not the most compact MP3 player you can find--not even close, in fact. It's only a bit thinner (0.4 inch) than its hard-drive-based counterpart, while its height (4.1 inches) and width (2.4 inches) are the same. However, the unit has a nice, substantial feel to it. It's housed in a smooth and shiny seamless metal casing, which is available in a variety of colors: aqua, black, blue, pink, and purple.
The Ibiza Rhapsody is an impressive performer in some respects, but not in others. The processor is definitely up to the task; music sounds pretty good though not stellar; and video transferring is a nightmare.
The flash Ibiza's QVGA screen is on the large side for a flash player--good thing, given the size of the device itself. At 2.5 inches, the display is on par with that of the Creative Zen. We're keen on the way the Ibiza handles album art: there's a full-screen, faded-out image behind the thumbnail on the main playback screen. It's a cool effect.
Home appliance and electronics manufacturer Haier America leapt into the portable media player market last year with the 30GB Ibiza Rhapsody, a jack-of-all-trades device that came loaded with features, including Wi-Fi music downloading. Now, the company is following up with a flash-based version, which offers the same impressive array of extras as its slightly larger family member, but comes in a different array of colors and with either 4GB ($199) or 8GB ($229) of memory.