Now, the overall design of the Ibiza Rhapsody is fine, though nothing shockingly new or stylish. However, the array and implementation of features is truly arresting. There's support for MP3, WMA (DRM 10 included), WAV, AAC audio and MPEG-4, WMV, M4V, AVI, H.264, and MPG video. (PNG and JPEG are the supported photo formats). You get an FM radio with RDS and integrated podcast support--with a separate menu selection and the ability to update podcasts on the go from any Wi-Fi hot spot. Much like the Sansa Connect does with Yahoo, the Ibiza can access the Rhapsody catalog and Channels from anywhere with wireless access (if you have a subscription: a 30-day trial is provided).
As yet another added bonus, the Ibiza lets you access video on the go through AOL Video--for free. (Some videos offer better results than others.) The Ibiza has the useful ability to set and save wireless keys as well as get past terms and conditions pages for public hot spots. You can even pull in content through Wi-Fi while simultaneously streaming it out to a Bluetooth speaker, though I noticed hiccups in the connection during testing--unsurprisingly, the two antennae appear to compete with each other at intervals. Additional features include an airplane mode that shuts off all wireless, and the ability to download new themes (called Airskins) for the player on the fly--and they are sweet (see video). There's even a basic Web browser, though entering in new addresses is time-consuming. In short, there appears to be little this player can't do--except allow you to tweak your music. Unfortunately, the Ibiza doesn't include any EQ settings, which may be a deal breaker for some.
The Ibiza Rhapsody is an impressive performer in some respects, but not in others. The processor is definitely up to the task; we were able to download Airskins while listening to our music uninterrupted. And we got the same result while browsing Web pages and the AOL Video library. At no point did we experience any crashing. However, the player's rated battery life of just 10 hours for audio is pretty appalling. CNET Labs beat that time by about an hour, but that's still dismal. Video was no better at 1.8 hours during testing.
Using a pair of Shure SE310s, we found that audio quality was neither stellar nor subpar. The low-end response is nice and tight in bass-heavy tracks, but is tough to detect where it is more subtle. High-end clarity is definitely acceptable and the mids are well-represented, but music is not as quite as rich or encompassing as we like. We'd give audio quality a solid "good" rating, nothing more or less. Video quality is solid, as well. The screen offers good viewing angles from side to side and nice color saturation.