(Pocket-lint) - The Rio Nitrus is a 1.5Gb player that purports to offer something different to the MP3 listener. Rio was one of the first manufacturers to create MP3 players and after a self-imposed sabbatical it’s back with a range of models to suit all occasions. The Nitrus is the sports version and as well as coming with the ability to play MP3s - after all it is an MP3 player - it can also double up as a stopwatch for when you need to do some split second timing.

Cased in black and shaped like a pebble the Nitrus has a very retro feel about it. Dimensions are small and light - 3” x 2.4” x 0.6”, while weight is a light 2.75 ounces. Menu navigation is controlled via a jog wheel or the joystick on the front of the device and this makes for easy selection of your tracks without too much fuss. The joystick does however encompass the same problem as the I-River player in that it sometimes gets stuck on your pocket, however its not half as bad as Rio has had the foresight to inset it slightly rather than protruding outwards, digging into your leg or pointing outwards.

Connection to the PC is performed via a USB2.0 cable for quicker data transferring and this stays in line with players such as the iPod Mini and the Muvo2 from Creative.


Overall the Nitrus is a neat little player and certainly easier to use than most. The styling and slight body makes it easy to slip into your pocket (although not out of it with speed) and this is a bonus over more bulky players. Sound was very good thanks to the inclusion of a pair of Sennheiser MX300 in-ear headphones. The addition of a 5-Band adjustable equalizer also helps. With a 16-hour battery life and the ability to hold roughly 375 MP3 tracks it's enough to hold your attention. However at £168 its only £30 cheaper than the Muvo2 and the iPod Mini, both of which have 4Gb of storage. In spite of the great headphones, rival storage capacities make the Nitrus not the best buy on the block when compared to its competitors.

Writing by Stuart Miles.