Pros Sound, nice features
Cons Dead H10 now, long delays between tracks, random freezes
Summary The Napster-To-Go program was exactly what I wanted -- $15/month for an endless variety of music is a good deal. So I bought an H10.
*** The Nightmare Begins ***
The sound quality is good and I liked the other features. But I had problems synchronizing tracks to the device (I chose the automatic-sync-Napster-to-H10 option). I'm not really sure whether this was a Napster, a Windows Media Player 10, or an H10 problem. I'd more often than not experience track "Transfer Error" problems, and this would sometimes freeze Napster, the underlying WMP10, and the H10. I discovered after some time also that songs I thought were downloaded to the H10, and appeared in the Napster/WMP10 list of songs on the H10 player, didn't match the list of songs as they appear in the full track list in the H10 player itself. Attempts to force these songs onto the H10 were fruitless.
I'd also sometimes experience LONG delays between tracks (30 seconds or more), and sometimes the player would completely freeze. I can only speculate, but perhaps those songs Napster/WMP10 thought were on the H10 device were in the player's "directory" of music, but hadn't been fully downloaded. These long 30-second delays may have been the player trying to open a long series of songs that weren't fully downloaded, and it took 30 seconds to get to the next valid song.
In any case, it would be VERY nice if device manufacturers would provide users a read-only view into low-level data on the device, with information such as:
* track name
* space the track supposedly takes on the device
* total sum of all space actually traversed
on the device that's dedicated to the track
* a confirmation that all such space would be read
and decoded according to the MP3 or WMA or
whatever audio standard
Such a listing would make it easy to complain to Napster or I-River and pinpoint the source of the problem.
I had to use the H10 "System Restore" utility at http://iriveramerica.com/h10fix/ once to fix some H10 system files.
*** A False Hope and a Dead H10 ***
Yeah! I saw a firmware upgrade at http://iriveramerica.com/support/hd/H10_upgrade.aspx. The solution to my problems!
I downloaded the firmware upgrade, applied it according to instructions, plugged my device in, tried to synchronize with Napster. After three minutes (the first minute filled with H10 disk drive activity (whirring) and then silence), Napster complained "device stopped responding". Multiple attempts to synchronize all failed, with the exact same problem.
After talking to Napster and asking them to update my tracks' licensing (to ensure another synchronization of files was possible, I'd reached the 3-synch limit on some of the tracks), I decided to COMPLETELY REFORMAT THE H10, and ENSURE FIRMWARE WAS UPGRADED. The results were not good.
The REFORMAT (via the "System Restore" utility above) went well. After turning on the H10 I saw that all tracks were gone. I then ran the firmware-upgrade program (just in case), and the upgrade stated my device was already up-to-date with the latest firmware. All good, I thought! So I powered off the H10.
I powered back on and tried to synchronize with Napster, and here's what happened:
* Napster again complain "device not responding" after 2 or 3 minutes
* Napster suggested I disconnect the device (which had the
"USB Connected" message on its screen)
* Upon disconnecting the H10, its screen read "Device Busy,
* After 20 seconds or so, the device said "Upgrading Firmware,
do not operate device until done"
* After another 20 seconds or so, the device turned off
* All further attempts to turn on the device, with or without
the AC adapter, with or without USB plugged in, MAKING DOUBLE
SURE THE DEVICE "LOCK" IS OFF, etc. failed. The device is dead.
If you happen to get an H10 with the serial number 181402050107165 then know that it was mine at one time. I'm returning it to Best Buy under the extended warranty, hopefully for a different device. If I can't exchange, then I'll need to try again, hopefully with better results.
"Why get an Ipod"on by mrjpbent
Pros Tee thing is sexy as hell, sounds amazing, 30 preset, loud, i don't know what the cnet editor was talking about when it sate that h10 doesn't get very loud.
Cons you not having one!!!
Summary get it..love it..use it..did i mention love it
Pros good battery life, sturdy construction, good FM radio, nice display
Cons plays songs in alphabetical order, weird USB cable/AC adapter setup
Summary I purchased this after returning 2 Zen Micros (see my review there). Wanted an FM radio, which is why I did not select the iPod. Has better battery life than Zen even with the color display. Interface could be more user friendly, but is workable. The button/touchpad setup is much easier to use than the Zen and more intuitive. The touchpad is not nearly as sensitive as the Zen. I don't really use the photo option and was more interested in the color display as it easier to read. The earbuds are not as good sound quality wise as the Zen, but are more comfortable to wear. I have not encountered the freeze-ups thus far that I experienced with the Zen. You will love or hate the case, but it does protect the unit and is an improvement over the bag that comes with the Zen. H10 did not come with an extra battery like the Zen. Preset equalizers not as good as the Zen. Has 30 presets, of which I could only tell a difference in about 6 of them.
Playing the songs in alphabetical order is just a major design snafu that someone was probably fired over. However I like the unit enough that it was not a deal breaker. I just go in WMP and add alpha or numbers in front of the live albums that I have so it plays them in order. Although it shouldn't be necessary, only takes a few minutes per album. Likewise, the USB cable/AC adapter setup defies all logic, but again was not a deal breaker.
The FM radio is far superior to the Zen, which was practically unusable. Is thinner than the Zen, making it fit nicely in your briefcase or pocket. The H10 syncs faster than the Zen.
Overall, not the perfect unit, but came much closer to meeting my needs than the Zen. Also note that the H10 only works with WinXp service pack 1 or higher, and WMP10.
"Best (and only I think) microharddrive Mp3 player w/color screen! But for how long...?"on by plecky
Pros Color Screen, Good Looking, Good Brand, Removable Battery, FM-Tuner, Voice-Recorder, WMP10 support, in general - features.
Cons 5 GB and 1.5" screen for photos and music? Little bigger than ipod mini or zen micro, Different colors but dark colors mostly (excluding the silver and 'maybe' red), very few accessories, and U.I.
Summary I give iRiver major credit for releasing the first good microharddrive color-screened mp3 player. Although the screen is smaller then that of the zen micro's or apple ipod's, and personally I wasn't impressed with viewing photos on it compared to the 2" screen found on the ipod photo (which the 30 gig is only about 50-100 bucks more and has 6-times the storage. Personally I think anybody who wants something almost as small as a ipod mini except with a color screen and photo viewing option will go with this. Although someone more patient will wait until June for the expected release of a 6-gig Zen Micro photo. Or someone even more patient might wait until next mac-world or whenever for a ipod-mini photo. Although regardless, if you want a mp3 player get a zen micro or 2nd-gen mini. If you want something to view photos on I'd get a larger iRiver like the 320 (i believe it is) or a ipod photo (especially the lowered price older ones that come with the TV cable so you can watch your slideshows on a larger screen). I guess if you need the built-in FM-tuner or Voice-recorder in addition you'd stay clear of the ipod photo though. Heck I'd even go as far to say unless size really matters THAT much to go with a archos gmini 400 or a personal media player. Regardless, this does seem like a great idea although I'm still uncertain if micro-photo players is such a great idea unless they find a way to increase screen size or HD (because 1.5" smaller then the screen on most digital cameras anyways! and 5 GB isn't much adding in music, possible voice memo's, possible FM-recordings, and on top of that digital photography. Especially if the pictures are in good quality from a high MP camera (with pictures ranging from .5-2 MB a shot. Seems small enough compared to a mp3-file, although they do add up and I know personally it's easier to expand a digital-photo collection then it is to expand my mp3 collection (especially if you're paying for your mp3's from napster or itunes or microsofts new online music store etc.) The accessories for this player due to it being new and not having a huge crowd of people who purchased it, but it's 1st and 3rd party accessories are few and far between and most can be used with any mp3 player you get. My opinion (which you can take or not, this is still a good player regardless and I'm sure you won't be too dissapointed in buying it to have one of the first and best color-screen micro-mp3 players out right now). But you may regret it when more (and what I think may be better) micro-color-mp3 players hit shelves including the zen micro photo (which i referred to above, suppose to be coming out in June). If you care what I personally I think, my opinion is if you can be patient - wait until June and snag a new zen micro photo 6-gig (or whatever their largest HD is) and enjoy the color-version of what many have considored to be the "ipod mini's biggest challenge" and even some have crowned it "the ipod mini killer." I won't say either not to stir up emotions on either ends of the debate, but I say it is a solid and very nice player and I'd prefer waiting and getting that when it comes out. Since no one really knows when apple will make their mini photo player, i can't say anything in regards to that. Since this is a review for microharddrive players, I don't want to bring in larger hard drive players for my concluding statement. So I say if you are impatient, a huge fan of iRiver, or just needing a color-screened micro player - this is pretty much your best and one of your only choices. Although if you can be patient, wait until june - see what else has been stirred up, brought out and reviewed, and I'm sure there'll be something nicer waiting around the bend. Either way, good luck with whatever purchase you make, but my sound and very unorigional advice for the moment on color-microHD-players is "good things come to those who wait." I'd wait, but that's just me. As for you, I hope this review helped somewhat and that your shopping experience now or in the future proves to be fruitful in the end!
Pros very nice design, good color screen, somewhat easy controls, nice EQ and sound
Cons screen is a little small, syncs a little slower than the average mp3 player, a little hard 2 navigate through
Summary Everyone is comparing every single mp3 player with the i pod. Well who gives a **** about the i pod!!! Sure the i pod has the cool scroll wheel big whoop. This mp3 player is solid and it works good. Thats all.