Nuggets: Is it a bird? Is it an MP3 player?

The MP3 player from Korea that thinks it's a tape deck
Written by Richard Barry, Contributor

OK, so there's a million MP3 players out there... but chances are you'll never see one quite like this ickle beauty!

So here's the coup: a man (or indeed a woman) has digital music collection and no tape deck. Can't afford a swanky CD player for the motor and consequently never gets to hear all those marvellous tunes.

That was until a company based in Seoul came up with the really rather nifty idea of creating an MP3 player that thinks it's a tape!

If you don't believe me, check out the Unitech Web site. Basically, the Rome MP3 player is compatible with most types of tape deck, including those in cars and walkmans. It looks like a cassette tape, in fact I think it probably used to be a tape... the entire unit is made of plastic (which looks like brushed metal on all the art work, so don't be fooled).

So what's good about it? Well for a start, you can play MP3 in your car without having to sacrifice your old tape deck. Then there's the incredibly easy software which literally took five minutes to setup (although we did have to fiddle with the settings of the parallel port...). As a bonus, it didn't even crash Windows.

OK, so on the downside... Well, for a start, it won't last very long if you don't treat it like a lady. Plastic joints, battery covers and so on will all wear down after a while... And then there's the memory. 32Mb on board is not that bad if you compare it with some of the players on the market, but there is no room for separate memory cards. If you're listening to 128kbps MP3s, you're stuck with about five or six tunes at a time.

Other than that, the Rome player is a very cunning little machine which should do well. Hopefully, by the second model, these teething problems will be resolved and we may get a nice fancy brushed metal case after all!

Price: Ooooh it's a bit pricey! $199 Plus $35 post and packing

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