"A Great Mp3 Player.... with a few SERIOUS Flaws"3.5 starson by DanTunes
Pros: large storage space, color screen/jpeg viewing, recording feature (fm or microphone)
Cons: scroll pad makes it nearly impossible to scroll through all your songs
Summary: I bought my iRiver open boxed at Best Buy, everything worked fine out of the box, and the construction of the player is solid. I really just wanted a player i could keep in the car and drive around with.
Here's the bottom line on this product...
Its basicaly the same size as the thicker iPods, except it has a few more features, and the better features are offset by a few fatal flaws that makes it basically on-par with the ipod in terms of general quality.
If you have 20gb of storage space, you're going to have a LOT of songs on your machine... if not, you probably would have bought the 5gb or 6gb version, right?
Well, the problem with this iRiver is that it has one vertical scolling pad to page through your music. If you really wanted to scroll through a list of 3,000 songs like most people who have 10-15gb of music, you would quickly have a calous on your thumb the size of texas! It takes about 65 seconds to scroll through the list when you're holding down the down arrow on the pad. This is an ETERNITY in terms of mp3 players.
On my girlfriend's iPod, you can scroll through a list of 3,000 songs in an instant, find any song you want, by scrolling faster it accellerates with the speed of your finger... Not with the H10 iRiver. It takes forever to find a song.
It's not terrible if you make some playlists, or organize your music and use the file-browser feature on the iriver, but I was very dissapointed by this feature once i loaded all my songs on. I am waiting for the next firmware release to hope that this improves the performance of the scroll pad. That's one reason i haven't returned this product. So if you can bear with that, then the rest of the product is fantastic.
The only remedy to this right now, until iRiver updates the firmware is to store your songs in folders that make sense. This also means not using Windows Media Player for transferring songs. I personally found this to be horrible on the iRiver because it organized all the songs on the iRiver by artist name. The good side of this is that I was able to manually transfer all my songs onto the iriver just like looking at it as another drive on my computer. The iRiver has to update its database whenever you do this, but it doesn't take too long if you're only adding a few albums. Others have complained about this not working, however I've had no problem with this.
The internal microphone on the iRiver is the main reason why I keep this thing. Yes, it is a fun mp3 player, but the microphone is fantastic for bootlegging concerts and recording, literally, anything. It records at 128k mp3, which leaves something to be desired, but still does the job of a high quality recroder. One suggestion i would make to iRiver is that the microphone doesn't have an input level adjustment, which would be nice for recording loud or soft volume stuff. I am a sound mixer and recordist in the film and video industry and I know what a good microphone sounds like. This thing is great. I usually run all the mp3's i record through a notch filter that removes an annoying soft-ring at about 8,000hz from all the recordings, but its still well worth the money.
Another point that sucks is that iRiver america has touted this thing as having Line-in Recording, but they haven't yet released the required dock to stores yet. The dock for the 5gb/6gb player is out but it doesnt fit the 20gb, so technically this is deceptive advertising. Supposedly it should be out by august 2005.
If you really want to listen to songs and thats it, I would get a 20gb ipod. if you need color, get the color ipod. but if you really like to bootleg concerts, look at pics, and have an mp3 player with some slightly annoying features, the iRiver h10 does the trick.