RCA Pearl review: RCA Pearl

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.0
  • Design: 5.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The RCA Pearl offers surprisingly good sound quality and is very inexpensive. It also includes some useful extras, such as audiobook support and microSD card expansion slot, and there's a built-in USB interface.

The Bad The Pearl is a bit of a bear to use, and the bulbous battery compartment can make it take up more than one USB port. It also takes disposable batteries, which will need constant replacing. The headphone jack is awkwardly placed.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a better-sounding alternative to the Sansa Express, the RCA Pearl does the trick--but be prepared to deal with a funky user interface and disposable batteries.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Plug-in-style MP3 players--that is, those with the USB interface built right in--have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately, as evidenced by the recent release of the SanDisk Sansa Express. RCA has now joined the trend with the Pearl, one of three players in the company's new Gem Line. Like the Express, the Pearl is also aimed squarely at the budget-conscious, with 1GB and 2GB versions retailing for $39 and $48, respectively. The RCA offers decent sound quality, so it could give the SanDisk a run for its money--if not for the bulbous design, funky menu structure, and disposable battery.

The RCA Pearl comes in three shiny color options, depending on capacity: the 1GB player in midnight blue, the 2GB in black, and a 512MB version (apparently not available in the U.S.) in light gray. Embedded into the front of the player is reflective face that's not quite as mirrorlike as that found on the Express. The design isn't ugly, but it won't be winning any fashion awards any time soon. The player measures 3 inches tall by 1 inch wide by 0.8 inch thick, making it reasonably compact but still thick around the middle. A bulbous battery compartment accounts for a quarter-inch of that thickness and takes away from its plug-and-play ease--you may need to free up more than one USB port to accommodate its girth. We'd have preferred a built-in battery. As it stands, the Pearl takes one AAA (included), which is rated for 15 hours.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

RCA Pearl (512MB, gray)

Part Number: TH1100 Released: Jun 1, 2007
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 1, 2007
  • Built-in Display LCD
  • Run Time (Up To) 15 hour(s)
  • Capacity 512 MB
  • Color Gray
  • Weight 1.2 oz
  • Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3
  • Installed Size 512 MB
  • Type 1 year warranty
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type digital player