- Great sound quality, easy to use, colour screen, removable battery
- Poor battery life
If you're after a small music player, the H10 is hard to beat. A rich list of bundled accessories and great audio quality set a new standard, but the battery life is a bit short.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
iRiver has emerged as a significant brand in portable media players and offers serious competition to the market leaders, Apple and Creative. The 5GB H10 model is designed to compete with the iPod mini and nano, and relies on a 1" hard disk for storage. The iRiver H10 is also available in 6GB and 20GB models (the 20GB model is somewhat larger than the 5GB and 6GB models, however).
The svelte 100g unit is available in a range of colours, and measures a scant 95 x 54 x 15mm. It boasts a small colour screen that is clear and easy to read, and a slider control in the centre of the face drives the menus. Much like Creative's devices, the iRiver model relies on a touch strip for navigation, but it's remarkably tactile and straightforward to use.
Buttons for playing and pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding can be found on the right face, while the top includes a USB connector, lock and headphone socket. The left face simply features the power button and a microphone input for voice recording.
The unit features SRS WOW digital audio, 30 EQ presets, and provides a surprisingly large, punchy sound. While some of the competing players don't feature removable batteries, the H10's cell slides into the rear. In our testing, the battery lasted 10 hours, which is reasonable but not outstanding.
The unit ships with a basic list of accessories, including headphones, a USB charge cable, rubber pouch and mains adapter. The bundled manual and quick start guide in are both comprehensive, and operating the device is extremely easy. Unlike many other Microdrive-based players, the H10 includes a built-in FM tuner and voice recorder, which rounds out an already strong feature set.
Unfortunately, the 1.5" square LCD is extremely small and tricky to see. You don't really want to be watching photo slide shows on it for long, but the colour scheme changes depending on the play mode, which is a clever use of the screen's colour capabilities. MP3, protected WMA, JPEG, and TXT files are supported, and the device works perfectly with Windows Media Player.
This strong device is backed up by a one-year warranty, and it should appeal to those looking for a few more functions than supported by the iPod mini and nano.
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For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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