Toshiba Showcase

Last week Toshiba rounded up a herd of UK journalists and shipped them out to a country hotel. There, they had Toshiba's latest and greatest products paraded before them.

I first saw the Gigabeat back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. This is the first product to arrive with Toshiba’s new “Giga” branding, and it looks like a good one. The Gigabeat is unashamedly gunning for the iPod, and it does look like the best rival I’ve seen so far.

Dominating the front fascia of the Gigabeat is the 2.2in colour screen which can be used to display album art work, or even your own digital photos. Navigation is via the “Plus Touch” control on the front. This touch sensitive controller works very well – it doesn’t appear to be as instantly accessible as the Apple wheel, but once you play with it for a while it becomes pretty intuitive.

”’Nice looking device, shame about Toshiba’s choice of music!”’

The Gigabeat will be available in 10, 20, 40 and 60GB capacities and every model is bundled with a docking cradle. Supported file formats include MP3, WMA and WAV, while the device is also compatible with the Napster to Go service.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for MP3 players tends to be the software that’s used to sync with your computer – Sony’s SonicStage is a case in point. Thankfully the software bundled with the Gigabeat seems to be better than most that I’ve seen – one of the best features I discovered is that you can apply an EQ setting to individual tracks or albums and those settings will be transferred to the player. Considering how convoluted the procedure is to change EQ settings on the iPod, this is a pretty cool feature.

The Gigabeat will be launching soon in the UK, and TrustedReviews will have a full review of the device as soon as we get our paws on one.

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