Imation RipGo review: Imation RipGo

  • 1
MSRP: $299.00
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Burns own mini CD-Rs.

The Bad No carrying case, belt clip, or remote; a bit large; relatively short battery life; expensive.

The Bottom Line This is a great new concept and a solid device; we just wish it were easier to use on the go.

6.0 Overall

Updated 9/20/02

Editors' note:
The rating and/or Editors' Choice designation for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is simply the general improvement of technology over time. In order to keep our ratings fair and accurate, it's sometimes necessary to downgrade the ratings of older products relative to those of newer products.

First, there were . Then came mini MP3 CD players that used 8cm CD-Rs instead of the standard-sized, 12cm CD-Rs. And now, thanks to Imation, we have a mini MP3 CD player that doubles as a burner. The aptly named RipGo allows you to copy dozens of digital music files from your PC or Mac onto a 185MB mini CD-R via USB. Unplug the cord and you're out the door with about three hours of music. It's a nice concept and device, but the RipGo isn't without a few shortcomings. Updated 9/20/02

Editors' note:
The rating and/or Editors' Choice designation for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is simply the general improvement of technology over time. In order to keep our ratings fair and accurate, it's sometimes necessary to downgrade the ratings of older products relative to those of newer products.

First, there were . Then came mini MP3 CD players that used 8cm CD-Rs instead of the standard-sized, 12cm CD-Rs. And now, thanks to Imation, we have a mini MP3 CD player that doubles as a burner. The aptly named RipGo allows you to copy dozens of digital music files from your PC or Mac onto a 185MB mini CD-R via USB. Unplug the cord and you're out the door with about three hours of music. It's a nice concept and device, but the RipGo isn't without a few shortcomings.

Easy setup
Installation was a lark--we just dropped the 8cm installation disc into our CD-ROM drive and plugged in the RipGo's power and USB cables. Our Windows 2000 test machine (733MHz Pentium III) picked up the device, found the drivers, and finished installing in an amazing 15 seconds.

Next, we fired up the bundled full version of Nero Burning ROM and burned a 185MB mini CD-R with three hours of MP3 and WMA files. The RipGo can also burn any other type of file to these mini CD-Rs, which can be read by any CD-ROM drive. Filling one mini CD-R with music or data took seven minutes on our test PC; the main constraints on speed are the USB transfer rate and 4X writing speed.

Cutting the cord
We found it a little strange to burn a CD with the RipGo, unplug the USB cable, and walk away with music playing. Like most people, we're accustomed to using one device to burn CDs and another to play them. But despite its dual identity, the RipGo has all the characteristics of a portable audio device--albeit not the most compact one--once it's disconnected from the computer. It's too big to pass the shirt pocket test, and there's no belt clip or carrying case included, so you'll most likely be carrying the 8-ounce RipGo in your hand or in a tote bag until you get a carrying case. Unfortunately, there's no remote control on the headphone cord, so controlling the RipGo when it's in a bag is a hassle. We hit the Random button, activated the Hold switch to lock the device in Play mode, and just let the thing belt it out.

The RipGo has decent sound quality, and its volume, equalization presets, shuffle, repeat, play, fast forward, and rewind functions are all accessible with unique buttons. It's nice to have one-touch access since half of these functions require menu navigation on other players.

On a critical note, we weren't thrilled with the RipGo's battery performance. Using the included AC adapter, the device's lithium-ion battery took 3 hours to charge, after which the RipGo still delivers only 5 hours of playback time (10 hours is considered decent).

More positively, we had no complaints with the skip protection. Like many other MP3 CD players, the RipGo reads the music data to an 8MB flash memory buffer, giving your music about eight minutes of antiskip protection at normal bit rates. In our tests, we failed to elicit a single skip from the RipGo.

As it stands, RipGo is expensive at its current $399 list price, particularly when you consider its relatively short battery life and the lack of a carrying case or a belt clip. But if you can get a deal on it, the RipGo is certainly worth considering. Even without the CD-burning capability, the RipGo blows away earlier mini MP3 CD players, such as .

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