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Photos: RCA Opal MP3 Player

RCA delivers a budget-priced MP3 player capable of playing videos and DRM-protected audio content. Menu navigation could use some work, but all-in-all, the Opal packs in a lot of features for a great price.

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CNET Reviews staff
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1 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
The Opal is very light, but it's not the most compact player we've seen. This may work to your advantage, however, if you're looking for a device you can easily dig out of a backpack or handbag.
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2 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
They don't come much skinnier than the Opal. In this view you can see the small hold switch on the side and the reinforced bulge behind the headphone jack at the top of the player.
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3 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
Taking a cue from the swooping spots of color found on the front panel, RCA set the navigation controls tilted slightly to the left. It's a neat visual trick, but from a practical perspective, it makes navigation a bit trickier.
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4 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
By accident, the Opal we received was set to a foreign language. With a little luck, we were able to guess our way into the language settings and set it to English.
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5 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
One of the Opal's navigation quirks we aren't thrilled about is the Menu button (the button marked "M," found above the direction control). In most cases, pressing it twice would take you back to the Opal's main menu. Under some circumstances, however, pressing the Menu button twice would only take you back to a submenu, requiring you to use the arrow buttons to back out to the main menu. We would have liked a press-and-hold method for ensuring the main menu can always be accessed in a pinch.
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6 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
The headphone jack at the top of the Opal also acts as a line-input connection and USB port (using a special cable).
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7 of 7 Corinne Schulze / CNET Networks
At under $80, the Opal makes for an adequate iPod Nano stunt double for those times when you just don't want to risk putting a pricey gadget in harm's way. Support for Audible audio books and subscription music content make the Opal a suitable player to take to the gym. We still wish it had a radio, however.

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