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Gateway reveals iPod clone

Plus: BenQ launches 256MB micro MP3 player

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MP3 players

Gateway has announced its first hard disk-based MP3 player, the 20GB Digital Jukebox DMP-X20.

It's not a pretty as the Apple machine, nor as compact. The DMP-X20 weighs 218g (7.7oz) to the 20GB iPod's 159g (5.6oz), and measures 10 x 6.5 x 2cm (4 x 2.6 x 0.8in), compared to 10.3 x 6 x 1.5 (4.1 x 2.4 x 0.6in) - yielding volumes of 130 and 92.7, respectively.

Gateway has Apple licked on price, however. The DMP-X20 costs $300 - $100 less than the 20GB iPod. Its 2.5in 160 x 128 LCD is larger than the Apple's 2in panel. But it only has 16MB of anti-skip buffer memory. Feature-wise it has clear advantages, too. There's a built-in FM tuner with 12 station pre-sets, five EQ pre-sets and an integrated voice recorder.

The DRM-X20 supports MP3, WMA and Audible content, transferred to the player via a USB 2.0 link. The player's battery will go for ten hours before needing a recharge, Gateway said,

The black-coloured, aluminium-clad player will ship with earphones, remote control, carry case and belt clip. It requires a Windows XP, XP Pro or 2000-based PC. It will go on sale on 26 November.



Far Eastern manufacturer

BenQ

yesterday launched its Joybee 150 solid-state MP3 player in the UK.



The 150's mirror-like silver 6 x 6 x 1.3cm (2.4 x 2.4 x 0.5in) shell surrounds either 128MB or 256MB of Flash memory and a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that offers ten hours' of music playback time, the company said.

In addition to MP3, the 150 supports the WMA format, and can handle text files. Why text? To display song lyrics on the large backlit LCD screen. Presumably, BenQ's ripping software allows you to link text files to each song, or to embedded the lyrics in the MP3's ID tags. Users can also download a photo to the device for use as a screen saver, though since the screen doesn't appear to be colour, we're not quite sure how good it will look.

The 40g (1.4oz) player also includes an FM radio with 30 station pre-sets, and offers eight equaliser settings to tweak the sound to your personal taste. The 150 also operates as a voice recorder - indeed, the player will directly encode MP3 files from a variety of sources through its audio-in port.

Files can be easily transferred back to a host computer by drag and drop. The 150 operates as a generic USB storage device, so it can be used as a Flash drive as well as a music player. Alas, the device only connects at USB 1.1 speed.

The 128MB Joybee 150 will retail for around £119, the 256MB version at £159 - both prices include sales tax. BenQ bundles earphones, remote control, leather strap and carrying case with the player.

Digicam

BenQ has also announced its latest digital camera, the five megapixel C50. Like the Joybee 150, the digicam sports a shiny, mirror-like shell. The camera offers a 3x optical zoom, which can be further magnified with a 4x software zoom.

And it can take 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 video with sound. The maximum duration of the clip depends on the resolution and quality setting (Fine, Normal or Economy) you choose, ranging from 30s at 320 x 240/Fine to three minutes at 160 x 120/Ecomony.

Picture and movies are stored on SD cards - the camera ships with a 256MB card. It also comes with a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. Shots can be previewed on the 1.5in TFT LCD.

The C50 retails for £299 including sales tax. ®

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