Rio Cali review: Rio Cali

The Cali is also compatible with the Macintosh version of Apple iTunes, so even Apple users can consider supplementing their trusty iPods with this jogging-friendly Rio. However, files purchased from the iTunes Music Store will not play on this or any other Rio model.

The Rio Cali performed as well as its competitors. It played loudly enough to largely drown out the noise of the New York City subway (16.9mW per channel at 16 ohms)--an impressive feat. As you'd expect from a flash-based MP3 player, this model didn't skip once during the three times we jogged with it. The sound was surprisingly decent through the included earbuds and even better through our Sennheiser test headphones.

Because of the Cali's ample capacity, we were able to load the player with an hour of songs ripped at high bit rates. The higher the bit rate, the less compressed and larger the file. The result is slightly better sound quality.

Rio preinstalled several sample songs on the Cali, so you can start listening the moment you pop in the battery. After granting the included tunes a quick audition, we reformatted the memory and loaded our own high-octane playlist.

Battery life was quite good. Rio says you can get up to 18 hours. That's a slight exaggeration, but we did come close, draining the cell after 16 hours of continuous play with the backlight off.

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