iRiver E100 review
When the first MP3 players emerged iRiver was the most popular brand of music players. I still know a couple of people who own their first (or second) CD players that could read MP3-format files. Unfortunately for them, Apple’s dominance, and the lack of innovation in their products, brought them down to the level of the other less-known DAP manufacturers.
The iRiver E100 is the latest offer from them, but, despite their efforts, it lands closer to Microsoft’s new flash-based Zune players than Apple’s dominant iPod Nanos.
The design of the player is very slick, despite seeming a bit thick compared to it’s rivals. The only things I did not like, in terms of aspect, were the two dotted speaker spots. in the player. There are many more elegant ways to place speaker holes on a DAP, but iRiver simply didn’t try.
With that pushed aside, the iRiver has a 2.4″ screen which is slightly larger than the current iPod Nanos and has a vertical orientation like most cellphones. The interface is reminiscent to the one seen in the Zune, although the main menu is slightly less functional as you can see on the following picture.
As for the player’s controls, they are possibly it’s biggest problem. The player uses a traditional D-Pad spread across a large rectangular area. On a positive note, the large area makes the player easier to operate if you have it in your pocket, but on a negative one, it also makes it easier for you to accidentally press some random button and makes scrolling harder (and the short interface lag the reviewer speaks of doesn’t help).
Thankfully the “bad news” end with that last paragraph, and everything from hereon everything is positive.
The audio quality is very good thanks to the SRS WOW HD technology the player uses, and Linux aficionados will be glad to hear that the player supports the OGG audio format as well as most of the other popular formats like: MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF and FLAC (no AAC compatibility I’m afraid).
Those of you who like to get your video fix on-the-go will also be glad to hear that the player supports the Xvid codec, and that alone makes this player worthwhile. It can also play the “traditional” MPEG4 and WMV9 video files.
The battery life rivals the iPod Nano’s as it can play music for 25 hours and video for 5 (the Nano can play media for 25 and 5 hours respectively). Though unlike the iPod Nano, this player can also receive and record FM radio and can be expanded thanks to a Micro SD slot, which makes it ideal to show your cellphone’s photos on a bigger screen.
Bottomline: This player brings very little in terms of innovation but it’s format compatibility makes it a very interesting choice for Windows and Linux users. If it’s controls were just a bit better, rather than a bit different, I would give this player a better rating, but, as it is, I give it a 3.5 out of 5.