Friday, 24 October 2008

              iRiver S10

(Review) - iRiver is back with us again with another music player that’s bound to impress you. The S10 is a remarkably tiny device, and is in close competition with MobiBLU and its small media player series for the ultimate wow factor. It may be minute, but iRiver has packed a plethora of features to satisfy your digital media needs.

The iRiver S10 has a D-Click navigation system, which is interesting, to say the least. Since the device is so small, it would’ve been cumbersome to jam all controls on S10’s outer edges; therefore, iRiver has finalized a new way to work through the various menus. Now, when you tap on the corners of the S10’s display, you will be presented with numerous icons that guide you through the process. This intuitive navigation system worked flawlessly, thanks in part to the bright OLED display. The vibrant OLED display measures 1.15-inches and has 96x128 resolution. That’s quite good for a device this size.

In addition to the UI-based controls, the power and volume buttons are still tangible and available on the left and right spines. The microphone for voice recording is at the bottom with the lanyard loop and the headphones jack at the top. It’s obvious that iRiver has paid close attention to the design, making it presentable and enjoyable to work with.

iRiver Clix: A Marvelous Portable Media Player

As much as we appreciate S10’s amazingly small design, there are some minor drawbacks that we noticed. For example, the lack of Hold button is an obvious mistake, but you see, it exists. You will just have to press the volume buttons simultaneously to activate that feature. Unless you are compulsive and prefer to work with the Hold button every few minutes, this should be alright. Otherwise, it’s going to be a little annoying to work with such a combination.

Moving on to the onboard features… The iRiver S10 supports a decent collection of audio formats including MP3, WMA and OGG. Even though it doesn’t support the millions of other audio formats that exist, these options should cover what a majority of people use. Then there’s the photo viewer as well, albeit it’s limited to .BMP format. It’s odd that iRiver would limit photo viewing to such a heavy format, but then again, it may be necessary to have a high resolution image to compress it to fit on such a small display. Finally, you can’t miss voice recording, FM tuner and an onboard alarm clock options as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t support DRM-protected formats. As much as we appreciate iRiver’s efforts for supporting the non-DRM movement, a lot of DRM-based playlists are going to be useless on the S10.

The iRiver S10 is USB 2.0 compliant, and comes in 1GB and 2GB versions in either black or white color schemes. According to iRiver, the Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery should last 8 hours. We clocked the total time at 8:15 hours with strictly audio. Of course, if you are going to play around with photo viewing and audio recording, don’t expect the battery to last this long. Despite meeting its specified time, we are unimpressed with 8 hours. We expected better from iRiver in terms of battery life.

In terms of audio quality, however, the iRiver S10 is impressive, which is a given coming from iRiver. With that said, we weren’t too impressed with the packaged earphones. You may want to take care of those.

In essence, the iRiver S10 is a great, tiny media player that’s going to wow you, especially if you are into tiny tech. For the price of $170 for the 2GB version, it’s a little tough to swallow, but you will be hard pressed to find such an all rounder player in its class from someone other than iRiver.

Click here to get the latest prices on iRiver products!

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