iRiver H10 review

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With the H10, iRiver is shrugging off its reputation as a manufacturer for the hardcore MP3 fans who shun DRM, and instead launches itself into the mass market. The player itself feels great, like a thin mobile phone. It was designed to go head-to-head with the iPod mini, while at the same time showing Creative how to really do the vertical trackpad. We’re not so convinced this was a good idea: the trackpad works well but isn’t as fast as those on the iPods. We prefer the directional buttons of previous iRivers.

The main menu offers easily identifiable functions, which is unusual for iRiver. In addition to an FM radio and voice recorder, there’s a text viewer and a photo viewer. The latter is particularly noteworthy, as file size isn’t limited to 1MB as with the H300 series, and files can be imported by UMS drag and drop unlike with the iPod photo. You can also view slide shows while music is playing. Also worth noting is the removable battery and that the iRiver Plus application is an improvement on iRiver Manager, though most people will use Windows Media Player for transfers.

However, we weren’t impressed with the proprietary USB connector, made bulkier by the inclusion of a power supply connector. Also, the 12-hour battery life is disappointing for iRiver: the iPod mini lasts 23 hours. While it does much more than the Carbon and iPod mini, it’s more of a jack-of-all-trades than its rivals. Nevertheless, this is a great player if you’ll use all its features.

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