Haier ibiza Rhapsody review: Haier ibiza Rhapsody

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The Good The Ibiza Rhapsody offers about every feature in the book, including Wi-Fi and stereo Bluetooth capabilities; podcast support with wireless updating; photo, video, and subscription music support; on-the-go access to Rhapsody; updatable themes and wallpaper; even a basic Web browser. It also comes in a variety of colors and is one of the few high-capacity, hard-drive players available. It's easy to use, the interface is well-implemented, and the processor is powerful.

The Bad The Ibiza Rhapsody is expensive compared with competitors, and it has copycat looks. It also lacks EQ enhancement options and has a poor battery life. Works with XP and Vista only.

The Bottom Line The Haier America Ibiza Rhapsody is a cutting-edge media player that puts its wireless capabilities to good use while still retaining an easy-to-use design and interface. If you're willing to shell out the dough for a massive feature list, give it consideration.

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6.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 6

Editors' note: This review has been updated to reflect battery life test results, and the rating of the product has been lowered to reflect the subpar performance.

Home appliance and electronics manufacturer Haier America is certainly not the first company to come to mind when thinking about MP3 players and portable media, but there's nothing wrong with a little fresh blood in the market. In fact, a newcomer can bring a certain freshness for consumers--Haier does so with the 30GB Ibiza Rhapsody. It's a jack-of-all-trades media player that encompasses emerging wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi music downloading and stereo audio streaming via A2DP Bluetooth. The device, which sells for a slightly pricey $299.99 and is available in a variety of colors (black, blue, pink, silver, or white), handles its multitude of features surprisingly well, but not everyone will be happy with its standard looks, lack of audio-enhancement options, and subpar rated battery life.

Considering the lack of choice in this category at the moment, we're stoked that Haier is offering the Ibiza Rhapsody in a hard-drive model (flash versions with either 4GB or 8GB are also available). At 4.1 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.5 inch, the device isn't overly bulky--an especially impressive trait given the built-in wireless antennae (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). Plus, it has a nice, substantial feel to it, with plenty of tactile controls to complement the square touchpad on the front. The touchpad--which is surrounded by Play/Pause, Track Shuttle, and Back buttons--is responsive and can be clicked in the center to make selections. A dedicated Volume toggle and a Power key are embedded into the right spine; the latter can be a bit difficult to press as it rests flush with the edge. The top side of the player contains the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a Hold switch, and the Connect button, which allows you to activate the Wi-Fi with one press. Oddly, the bottom edge of the Ibiza houses both a standard mini USB port and a proprietary dock connector. The former handles syncing and charging, so we assume the latter is meant to accommodate future docking accessories.

The Wi-Fi antenna juts about 1/16 of an inch out of the back of the player, so it's pretty low profile.

The Ibiza's QVGA screen isn't the largest we've seen, but at 2.5 inches, it competes squarely with the iPod Classic. The interface in general is reminiscent of the iPod's, because of its blue-white tinge and simple, hierarchical organization. The main menu includes direct connections to Rhapsody Channels and the Rhapsody catalog, which is handy for subscribers. Also handy is the search field that shows up along the top of the screen once you delve down into artist, albums, and songs. And we're keen on the way the Ibiza handles album art: there's a full-screen, faded-out image behind the thumbnail on the main playback screen. It's a cool effect.

If you're listening to Rhapsody Channels, you can click the center of the control pad to save the currently playing track to the player.

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