Bottomline: A clever idea marred by poor ease of use
In some ways, the Intempo Rebel resembles a conventional FM radio.
In addition, though, it has some built-in memory that allows it to record around 40 songs and convert them into MP3 files that you can then transfer onto a portable music player such as an iPod.
The Popcatcher software built into the Rebel can even filter out DJ chat, adverts and jingles so that you just end up with a batch of neatly recorded MP3 files. There’s a USB port on the top of the unit, along with a set of memory card slots so that can be used to transfer recorded songs to a PC, iPod or other player.
The basic idea is pretty clever, then. However, the Rebel isn’t as easy to use as it could have been. For starters, it takes 12 hours or more for it to learn how to record each individual radio station, so if you like to hop from station to station you could end up waiting days for the Rebel to set itself up properly. The user doesn’t have much control over the Popcatcher software either, as it records songs automatically, rather than allowing you to record specific songs or shows at a specific time.
We also found the process of transferring songs onto our iPod to be rather confusing. There’s a CD supplied with the Rebel that contains a series of empty tracks. You have to import these empty tracks into iTunes and download them onto the iPod. Then it's a case of connecting the iPod to the Rebel and the songs recorded on the Rebel are transferred onto the iPod, replacing the empty tracks that you earlier put onto the iPod.
The idea behind Intempo’s Rebel is quite interesting, then, but its designers need to do a bit more work on the device’s ease of use. We like the idea of being able to record music off the radio and transfer it straight to an iPod, but Intempo needs to make the whole process simpler and more straightforward if it wants to attract the average iPod owner.
Vista compatible: Yes