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Jens MP500: ghetto blasters go tiny!

Listening to music on the move without headphones used to mean lugging around an anvil's worth of electronica on your shoulder, but not any more. Speaker systems are going all Lilliput...

Available strictly by mail order from Sweden, the Jens of Sweden MP500 is the smallest speaker-equipped MP3 player we've ever seen. Though it wears the iPod's livery like Hannibal Lecter wore the skinned visage of his jailer, there is definite appeal to the concept.

The congnescenti furiously ridiculed the MP500's godfather, the Yamada Beatbox, yet it looks like built-in speaker systems are set to become the next big thing in MP3 player novelty features. The Beatbox married built-in speakers to a tricked-out chassis reminiscent of a Lego Technics vehicle. But Jens takes a different approach and welds built-in speakers to what appears to be the body-snatched corpse of an iPod nano.

If you've ever sat on a bus or train while children swaddled in grim-reaper costumes blared Eminem tracks out of their tinny mobile phones, lightly fingering blades in their pockets and daring you to object, you'll understand the market for these players. The nation's youth enjoys public exhibitions of its musical passions -- what price high fidelity, so long as Snoop can be heard cussing the filth two carriages down?

There's a 2GB 24-carat gold version available (pictured) for around £170. Look down at your feet: if they're clad in Adidas, you need this player. -CS

Update: a full review of the Jens of Sweden MP500 (1GB) is now live.