I-Jam's MP3 frenzy

Players for everywhere on the MP3 spectrum

A number of companies, although fewer than the recent MP3 fever may have led you to expect, launched portable MP3 players at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

I-Jam Multimedia was one of the companies determined to cash in on the digital music boom, showing a mixed bag of portable players.

The first of the three personal MP3 players on show was the top of the range IJ-200 for $279 (£170), which features multiple audio format playbacks, voice recording and a built-in FM stereo radio. The automatic file format detection allows the device to play a mixture of audio formats recorded on the same memory card.

It's got a built in loudspeaker if you don't fancy the earphones, a backlit dot matrix LCD screen that displays elapse time, artist's name and song titles. It comes bundled with a 64MB card and you can tweak the sound with bass and treble controls.

For a hundred bucks less there's the IJ-90V. For the saving you'll have to sacrifice the automatic file detection and multiple format playback features. However you still get a voice recorder, radio and loudspeakers. Only a 32MB card though.

At the low-cost end of the pile is the $129 (£78) IJ-50C which gives you the basic stop, play and forward/rewind buttons and that's it. And you don't even get a memory card bundled in.

All the players come bundled with MusicMatch software, are compatible with Macs or PCs and come in a range of colours.

For folks not quite ready to give up on CDs altogether I-Jam presents the IJ-828. This is a 1x5.5x6.5-inch portable CD player. The difference is that, in addition to standard CDs, it also plays MP3 files burned onto CD-R or CD-RW. Which means that you'll be able to keep the tunes coming for over ten hours without switching discs.

The player has a top loading mechanism, comes with two Line-Out and DC input jacks for plugging it into a home hi-fi system, and an LCD screen to display track numbers and elapsed playtime.

To round off its range, the company also launched a USB version of the original I-Jam player for $299 (£180).

For full coverage, see the CES News Special.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.