(Pocket-lint) - For the fitness fan out there, every solid state MP3 player wants to be your friend. But how many players cut it as a sports accessory? Many have tried, few have succeeded. Rio believes that its Cali sport is the player that will become the althlete's choice.

Get past the surface and the player doesn't offer too much, a mere 60 songs for the yellow 128Mb version and 120 for the 256Mb version. This player copes with a long run but nothing more. That said, how many runs do you go on that last more than 60 let alone 120 songs? With that in mind the rubberised casing and funky non-square design will appeal to the fashion / sports styled user.

So this isn't an iPod or Rio Karma 20Gb behemoth and neither should it be as the solid state player doesn't suffer from aural jogging or skipping when you take it out on the track.

Appealing to the runner in us all, the player isn't just a walkman and those looking for an excuse not to train will find an integrated stopwatch with lap timer to add to the Cali's functionality.

Those looking to bypass the player's measly music storage quota can do so by adding their own SD card to the equation and the Cali sport allows you to add a further 1Gb worth of memory card to the mix giving you around 500 more songs. For the run this turns it into an adventure race, however it has to be noted that this will set you back the cost of the card, making larger players more attractive on price.

Gearing the player even further toward the energetic is the arm strap- so you can carry it on your runs of course- and the headphones are covered with earpieces that don't fall off easily.


The expansion pack is a nice addition for increasing the song capacity of the player and making it more than a simple exercise accessory. However if you still manage to run out of recorded songs after spending the additional cash on a SD memory card you can always switch to the in-built FM radio.

Downloading music files to the player from a PC however still seems to be in the dark ages with file transfer via the now rather slow USB 1.1 standard rather than USB2.0 found on newer players for the less patient. This is of course only something that will trouble if you are planning to transfer songs from PC to player either on a regular basis or on to more memory than the standard built in 128Mb or 256Mb. When it comes to sound though, like its elder brother the Rio Karma, this player is top notch.

Writing by Stuart Miles.