Boy oh boy, we knew the Toshiba Gigabeat S was good after our initial hands-on at CES, just not this good – according to CNET's review anyway. See, they just snagged a 30GB model which sports Microsoft's "super-intuitive" Portable Media Center (PMC) 2.11 software and is almost identical in size, weight, and battery life to the 5G iPod it's gunning for. The FM tuner and dedicated controls along the side were found to be a bonus and that cross-hair controller was both "tactile and delicate" allowing for "fluid and responsive" navigation even while multitasking. It also comes with a USB-conversion cable for transferring snaps off digital cameras without additional accessories. The only real drawback is due to the Gigabeat S' support of Microsoft's Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) over USB Mass Storage -- a choice that limits its use to XP systems, only. When the swooning was over, CNET bestowed their Editor's Choice and an 8.7/10 rating on the S – easily besting the scores of both Apple's iPod with video and Creative's Zen Vision:M. But the accolades didn't stop there. See, according to this CNET review, the introduction of the Gigabeat S in combination with Windows Media Player 11 (now in beta), MTV's URGE music and the Vongo movie subscription service has "wiped out" any advantage the "iPod/iTunes ecosystem" had over its WMA competition. Maybe, but we've seen so-called iPod killers come and go many times before, so we won't be issuing a deathwatch just yet, dig? Still, if you're running Windows Media Center Edition (or thinking about it)... what's keepin' ya from dropping the $280 or so required to bring this mutha home?
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