Despite the trials and tribulations of file sharing service Napster, and the complaints of the major record companies (who are as annoyed for apparently losing royalties to Napster as they are for not thinking of setting up something similar themselves in the first place) downloading digital music from the Internet, mainly in the form of MP3 files, is becoming increasingly common.
However, the inability to listen to the tunes on anything aside from an MP3 player, CD-R compatible machine or computer is both annoying and restrictive.
Enter the magnificent Rome II. It's shaped like a cassette tape for a reason. You can listen to the MP3s it has stored on it by sticking it in any music machine with a tape player built into it. The scabby portable in the kitchen; virtually every hi-fi, be it in bedroom, lounge or shed; even in a common-or-garden car stereo, when used with the provided charger. Now, when you want to play that Manics/Eminem/Hear'Say rarity to your mates, you can do so without getting close enough to kiss and lending them a single, tiny headphone. Eeuch, shared earwax...
But should you want to use the Rome II wherever and whenever there isn't a tape-playing device nearby, then you can, since it's a fully working - and easily the most unusual-looking - portable MP3 player. Up to two hours of CD-quality music can be stored on the 64MB model (with the addition of a multi-media card; widely available) and that's enough for most occasions requiring a personal music player. Having seven hours of rechargeable battery life is also a Very Good Thing.
Basically, this opens the door for MP3 music to become more like the rest of your music collection - readily accessible and able to be turned right up when the mood suits. It's a tremendously inventive meeting of old and new technologies that benefits both. And that works a treat.
FREE leather carry-case worth Â£9.99 with every order.