"Amazingly Versatile"on by Anulith
Pros Rockbox software makes this everything it should have been to begin with (www.rockbox.org)
Fiber optic out and in.
Being able to control structure of files myself and not having to use something like iTunes.
Cons Navigation is awkward at best (nearly unusable with provided protective case).
Headphone jack is going out but that's the only problem I've had in 4 1/2 years.
Pros Great battery life, versitile. 2 headphone outputs!
Cons too big. joystick-style control is clumsy.
Summary Just thought I'd mention that I bought this thing in May 2003, and I still use it nearly every day. The battery still performs very well. I love that it's a "removable drive", so I don't have to let some software (like itunes) meddle around with my music.
Pros Sounds quality is supurb! Radio reception is excellent
Cons Navigation can be a little tricky at first
Summary This machine has been my constant companion for a while and wouldn't trade it for all the ipods in the world. The sound quality is beyond compare and the SRS and EQ features can make even the worst speakers or headphones sound grade-O. If you are lookin to buy one used or whatever get it. It is one of the best designed and performing pieces of equipment I've foud in a long time. iRiver products are so good I don't know why they don't receive more press. My only thought would be price but they are worth every penny.
Pros Hardware design is excellent
Cons Software, including use of WinAmp playists, makes this an unusable appliance
Summary I don't know how this works for pop music, but for adult fare like classical music, audio books, lectures, etc., it stinks.
Even with the 1.60 firmware update, it can't remember what you were last listening to -- it constantly reverts to the first set of German language lectures I stored on it.
It doesn't seem to understand the WinAmp playlists -- it won't advance from one lecture to the next automatically but instead plays the current one in an endless loop until you manually move it. Then when you shut it down, it forgets where it was. I got so sick of the German language lessons that I erased them -- then it reverted to the next set of lectures I recorded as its "default" material
If you eliminate breaks in material to avoid the playlist problem, you get a large chunk of material with V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W hardware fastforwarding and reversing. It takes forever to fastforward to the point in a section of lecture or music you last listened too -- my old CD player moves about 4-5 times as fast. It also remembered what I was last listening to so that I didn't often have to use the fast forward.
The FM radio is pretty good, and the storage capacity is nice -- but its a lot of money to spend for a 20GB supplementary drive with FM radio! Unfortunately, it was such a poorly selling item compared to the iPod that there aren't any useful add-ons, like a way to directly transfer your digital photos to it.
All-in-all, I think the software makes this appliance unusable. I mean a hard drive player that's slower and stupider than a CD player! No wonder they discontinued it.
The included earbuds aren't much. I use a Shure E3c set which has a nice, neutral sound for audio -- no bass bias, thank you.
Pros Rockbox compatatibility, hardware, battery, sound, durability, recording features
Cons only joystick but is nothing compared to its pros
Summary Having rockbox, this player has all:
-tons of features as player (equalisers, fast rw-fw, playlists, bookmarks, fonts, fm radio and more - more)
-the big value of this device is as a recorder.
With rockbox firmware it can record .wav 16 bit 41kHz for more than 8 hours continuesly. There is an easy modification with a 2300mAh and a 32GB CF card. Then it can record for more than 22 hours continuesly.
It can records with its good internal mic or with external mics due to its good preamps.
There are tons of recording features in Rockbox that no other recorder with double or triple price has.
Overal an excellent device.