Attila the Pun
Monday, July 19, 2004
Cry me an iriver
Actually, if you buy an iriver H320 mp3 player, it is highly unlikely that you will be crying a river. You will be more likely to be grinning and/or saying 'wow', 'cool' etc, as well as showing it off to anybody that wanders by.
There was a distinct lack of reviews available on it, and it appears that it may have become available here in Oz (and the rest of Asia) before it was available in the States an Europe.
Its pricing here was identical to its equivalent (i.e. 20 gig) iPod.
Summary - it rocks.
- 20 gig HDD. You can make up your own mind whether that is enough or not for you . For me, that is plenty. I assume there will soon be a 40 gig version (called an H340 I bet), but its current size appears adequate.
- Gorgeous TFT screen. Great viewing angles and brightness. Which is great for taking advantage of its next trick -
- USB host capabilities. Thats right, you can now plug a USB device (e.g. digital camera, portable HDD) into the iriver, and download info to it. No more need to worry about your camera's memory card fillinh up on you.
- Radio - much better reception than my previous mp3 player, but I didn't really buy it for its radio capablities anyway
- Recording - from either its internal mic, an external mike (supplied) or from the radio. The quality of the recording, and the pick up by the internal mic is incredible. I left the iriver on a table in the middle of a decent sized room, and it picked up clearly a conversation being held by five people seated on chairs around the room (albeit facing inwards) Not a hugely useful function for me, but has already paid for itself in amusement value.
- Finish - comes ina fake carbon fibre finish. This is probably the aspect i like the least about it. I would have personally matt black, which seems to be the general consensus from others. That said, it is a pretty subtle finish, and doesnt scream 'cheap!' like a badly done silver finish would.
- Carry case - very sturdy, and has a nice black finish. Doesnt add too much bulk, and has a belt clip (if thats your thing)
- In-line remote. This appeared to be a backwards step by iriver. The model it replaces had an in-line remote with LCD screen. This was very useful, especially if you have the main player in a bag or similar. The buttons on the H320 remote are rather close together, and it is sometime hard to tell immediately if you have hit the play/pause button instead of the skip track. That said, the remote from the older model is compatible with the H320, so I am going to telephone the distributor to see how much they are going to sting me for an LCD remote.
- Menus - the previous model was criticised for not being completely user friendly. The iPod is the king of nice interfaces, but I found the learning curve on the H320 to be very shallow. The buttons are context specific, but always in a logical fashion.
- USB charging - a useful function, which means you dont have to carry a power lead and a USB cable.
- Portable HDD - unlike some other mp3 players (I am talking to you Apple, and creative) you do not need proprietary software installed on a computer for it to recognise the H320. Plug it in and it immediately appears as an extra drive.
Conclusion - I love it. If you are in the market for this kind of mp3 player, I would have no hesitation in recommending it.
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