The Buyer's Guide

Find it, buy it and tell us how you really feel.

product image
83 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
83

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

News

"The Carbon largely lives up to the hype. This mini hard drive player has a great design, an excellent interface, and Energizer-like battery life."
Read more
83 Global Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
83

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

Not yet scored
 

User Reviews

80
M3GRSO
I remember receiving this for my birthday at a failing mall in Maryland that...read more
70
SBM
A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition. - Engadget
80
infinityPlusOne
Back in the day, I used to follow www.dapreview.net and as a result had greatly...read more
Write a Review

Score Breakdown

 
77
Average user Score
 
80
M3GRSO
04.12.14
I remember receiving this for my birthday at a failing mall in Maryland that I eventually ended up working at because of sheer convenience; I even remember my older sister buying it for me. I really wanted this beauty in Black, but the FYE only had the teal color. It only took me me minutes to Drag-and drop my music, compared to the hours it took me to first organize my music into iTunes when I got my first iPod Video (5th Gen.) It was the look as well as well as the price that attracted me, It only set my sister back $50-$60, how much iPod Mini at that time? $150/$200 I can't remember. I loved this thing like a small child. It was small, convenient, and being that my favorite color is red, imagine my surprise when the LED backlit controls on Play/Pause/Skip lit up in red. Only grip I had was it just didn't get loud enough for my taste, which brings me back to how I ultimately broke it by dropping it perfectly on the corner where the volume wheel resided.
 
70
SBM
05.07.13
A dependable product that doesn't really stand out from the competition. - Engadget
 
80
infinityPlusOne
01.14.10
Back in the day, I used to follow www.dapreview.net and as a result had greatly anticipated the release of this little guy. At the time, the Rio Carbon was everything I wanted in an MP3 player. A small, high capacity (6GB was big at the time) MP3 player with great battery life that most importantly was mass storage compliant. This meant that I could simply hook it up to my PC via USB and it would attach like a regular flash drive. I could then drag and drop my music onto it and that would be that. No iTunes or Windows Media Player to deal with. I ordered this in August 2004 and was thrilled when the UPS parcel was delivered on my doorstep later that week. In this day and age where iPods reign supreme, I remain a happy Carbon owner. I do get gadget envy when I see friends of mine with iPod Touches or iPhones playing with all their nifty apps and *occasionally* even using these magical devices to listen to music, but for what I want out of a player the Carbon comes close enough to meeting all of my music needs. The company, Rio, has long been out of business and even after they closed shop, some of their developers released a new firmware. Titled "The Developer's Cut" this firmware got it all right. While using the click wheel found on the top right corner of the device along with the front facing buttons takes some getting used to, navigating my music collection is second nature to me now. I'll admit it - The UI is a little clunky and does takes some getting used to. Sound quality of the Carbon is fine. It never seems weak... in fact it gets a little too loud for my tastes. I usually have the volume at around 20 out of 25. The sound did get a little quieter when using my A900 headphones compared to some sony ex-70 earbuds I normally use with the player but that is to be expected with the less efficient full sized headphones. A few niggles for me that still linger are that there is no gapless playback and also I have definitely outgrown the device storage capacity. I long for one day having all of my 250GBs of music at my fingertips and being able to listen to Dark Side of the Moon without interruption. Other than that these past 6 years have been great.