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Photos: Toshiba Gigabeat U
The Toshiba Gigabeat U is a tough little 2GB MP3 player that offers great sound quality, an FM tuner, a workout timer, and an advanced line-input recorder, for less than $100.
CNET Reviews staff
Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks
The Gigabeat U's graphical user interface looks out of place compared to its minimal industrial hardware design. The date and time screensaver shown here is a perfect example of the discordant design aesthetic.
On the bottom end of the Gigabeat U, you'll find the mini-USB connection and the headphone jack. This same jack doubles as a line-input connection for recording music from external sources such as microphones or CD players. There's also a metal-reinforced loophole in the center for attaching a lanyard.
The dual-purpose hold switch/power button on the top of the Gigabeat U is straightforward and easy to operate blindly in a pocket or bag. The raised pimples on the plastic button help to distinguish it.
There's just something about metal construction that makes a device feel permanent, classy, and expensive. It's also cool to the touch and more resistant to wear and tear. Unfortunately, from this angle you can see that the plastic screen and decorative back panel stick out a little from the metal body, making them more likely to get scratched.