By Harry McCracken
Digital Innovations' Neuros is an MP3 player with a built-in FM radio. No big whoop there. But this device also packs an FM transmitter that lets you broadcast digital audio through any nearby radio, no wires needed.
Though getting my preproduction Neuros to play clearly over my car stereo took a little fiddling, the music ultimately sounded fine (not CD quality, but comparable to FM).
An unexpected capability: When you hear a catchy song on its built-in radio and can't identify it, Neuros probably can. Press a button to record a snippet of the song, and sync with your PC--the software attempts to identify the song title and artist (the company claims 95 percent accuracy).
Neuros is available in two flavors: a $249 version with 128MB of flash memory (good for about 2 hours of music) and a $399 one with a 20GB hard drive (5000 songs). Both can record audio and sport versatile, IPod-like controls. However, they connect to PCs via USB 1.1, not the zippier USB 2.0. And both are bulkier, pricier, and a bit uglier than some rivals.
BOTTOM LINE: Neither version of the Neuros is the best general-purpose MP3 player on the market (see some of our picks). But if any of the special features suit you, one of them might be worth a listen.
From the April 2003 issue of PC World magazine