Slightly smaller and thinner than the original, the new gigabeat X30 gives the overall effect being of a much sleeker unit than its predecessor. The player's screen size is the most apparent improvement, having been increased to 2.4-inches (as opposed to 2.2-inches on the gigabeat F60). The screen, which is slightly raised and features a dark border, remains one of the best things about the gigabeat due to its brightness and impressive resolution.
The 30GB X30 is available in either white or red (the larger capacity 60GB X60 is only available in black). We tested a white X30, and found it comfortable to hold in the hand. The front and top of the unit is decked out in, dare we say it, iPod white, with an attractive metal trim separating the front from the matte silver back panel. The front of the unit is fairly sparse, with only the gigabeat's plus-shaped navigation button and large screen to be found. The top of the unit features a sliding silver hold button, a headphone jack and an AC adapter slot. The gigabeat's other buttons can be found on the right hand side and includes power, menu, volume and a programmable hot-key. At the bottom of the unit is the USB recharge port and a Toshiba proprietary slot for add-ons (such as a separately sold cradle).
With a weight of 134g, we found the gigabeat a solid feeling MP3 player that was easy to carry around. Overall, the gigabeat X30 looks stylish, although it does tend to easily attract fingerprint marks, particularly on the LCD screen. But while the player itself scores impressively on CNET.com.au's style-o-meter, the included earbud earphones don't fare nearly as well. The black pair feels cheap and plasticky, and is certainly not up to the design standard set by the gigabeat itself (at least it's not iPod white). Also included in the box is a USB cable and AC adapter.
When it comes to music, the gigabeat X30 has a pretty stock standard compatibility list, with the player being able to play MP3, WMA and WAV files. It's not an outstanding list, but it'll play the majority of music files you already probably have. The X30 can also display digital photos on its colour screen - and that's really where the features list ends. That's a major black mark against the gigabeat, as similarly priced fifth generation iPods feature full video playback, while other MP3 players offer added features such as built-in radio tuners, voice recorders, line-in capabilities and more. And yes, we know that current video iPods can only play three hours of video on one charge (lessening its attractiveness as a fully-fledged portable video device), but at least it's able to offer that functionality. Still, photo abilities give it a head start over the mono-screened 20GB Sony NW-A3000S Walkman. When it comes to music, the gigabeat X30 is rated at 16 hours worth of battery life.