The Forge is easy to use right out of the box, thanks to its straightforward user interface. The Menu button takes you into a list of main options, from which you can easily navigate through the player's many features. Playback options are plentiful; you can play all or sort by one of the nine other fields: Album, Artist, Genre, Track, Year, New Music, Playlist, Spoken Word, and FM Recordings. Unfortunately, you can't create playlists on the fly. The Settings sub-menu isn't lacking much either. Among other things, you can choose how you want the Hold switch applied (to all the controls or to just certain ones) and select from seven different equalizer settings: Custom, EQ Off, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Pop, and Trance. You can also bookmark up to nine tracks.
The Rio Forge Sport served up mixed performance. Digital audio sounded rich and full with no noticeable background hiss, and volume was sufficiently loud. Unfortunately, the FM radio didn't fare so well; in fact, reception bordered on horrible. Static was inevitable when listening indoors, and only one or two San Francisco Bay Area stations came through clearly outside--if you don't move. CNET Labs' tests also yielded mixed results. Battery life, coming in at a whopping 19.7 hours, was excellent for a single AAA battery, but transfer time was unusually slow for a USB 2.0 device. We clocked an average time of just 0.97MB per second.
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