The Rebel needs time to sample a source thoroughly -- we found about one song an hour a typical record rate. And there's no guarantee that the Rebel will record your one favourite tune: it chooses the 'most popular' music, so tends to collect the latest songs on heavy rotation. Even so, some recorded tunes fade out rapidly or start with just the hint of a vowel or two from the DJ. Only one had the DJ actually talking over the music.
For ripping from an iPod, you're probably best off setting up a playlist that repeats regularly. And unlike DAB radios, the FM-only Rebel doesn't have scrolling text to work with, so doesn't know what it's listening to. This means you'll have to tag artist, title and genre info to the MP3 file yourself later on -- a boring chore, even if you even know what the songs are.
You'll need at least a 256MB card (not supplied, but widely available from £5) to transfer tunes across. If you wait too long and the Rebel's memory fills up, it starts to write over the oldest recorded tunes. Listening to MP3s on the Rebel itself is pretty basic -- the tuning buttons skip through the whole tune, with no pause, fast-forward or rewind options.
If you've given up live radio for 'listen again' Internet shows, this could be the gadget to bring you back. Leave a card in and you'll have a rolling stock of 40 of the latest songs to listen to whenever you want -- and to copy across to your computer for free. It's far from an audiophile device, but for convenience, value and sheer audio fun, it'll top the charts among kids and students.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide