Five gigabytes never sounded so bad
The ARC5.0 is not an MP3 player you’d wear with pride. The silver plastic looks tacky. It’s molded in a shape that recalls Kenny from South Park. The rubber USB port cover won’t stay put and flaps around as if it were desperate for attention. Despite all this, it was still incumbent on us to test how it sounds. The news is not so good. It doesn’t get very loud, which might be a safety feature, but more likely is just a way of disguising the terrible bass response that distorts even mild thumps ‘n bumps.
There’s a smattering of attractive features, including an FM tuner and FM recording, and the battery lasted more than 11 hours, which isn’t disgraceful. But we can only endorse the ARC5.0 insofar that it’s better than not having any MP3 player at all. Especially considering that for the same price you can buy the Rio Carbon—the player that kicked the iPod Mini’s shiny butt. --Logan Decker
+ Whole grain: It does, in fact, play MP3s.
- Migraine: Generally unpleasant and inferior.