At a Glance
This attractive player has a high-resolution 2.2-inch screen and easy-to-use controls, but it's pricey.
Unlike most of its rivals, the iRiver Clix doesn't try to mimic the iPod's controls. The entire face of the player rocks in four directions to act as buttons when you press it. The clear face, with a narrow black border, overlays the large, 2.2-inch LCD screen. Videos are actually quite pleasant to watch thanks to the screen's 320-by-240-pixel resolution, but the display is best for music videos and other short content. Priced at $200 (as of 1/9/07), the model we tested isn't cheap, but for that price you get a big screen and 4GB of flash memory. (A 2GB version costs $170.)
The Clix is easy to hold in the palm of your hand, or between two hands like a game controller. Either way, the shiny surface is prone to fingerprints and smudges. Additional buttons, including power, volume, and lock controls, are located on three sides of the player. Mastering the controls is easy.
A built-in FM tuner lets you listen to the radio, which uses the headphone cord as an antenna. You can record from the radio, or from the integrated microphone. An optional cradle, costing $70, makes the Clix look like a miniature TV. It has built-in speakers and includes a remote control. It comes with a USB cable for syncing and recharging the battery, a line-in cable for recording from external sources, and a line-out cable for hooking up to a stereo system. The cradle also has a snooze button, which integrates with the player's built-in alarm clock.
The Clix plays MP3, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis music files, as well as audio books in the Audible format. It works with online music stores that support Microsoft's PlaysForSure digital rights management system, including Napster, Rhapsody, Urge, and Yahoo. You can view JPEG images and MPEG-4 video on the player, but you'll need third-party software, such as iriviter, to convert from other formats. Windows Media Player is included on the accompanying CD, which provides good tools for managing your media library and syncing the player.
In our audio-quality tests, the Clix earned mostly high marks. It did especially well at reproducing a wide range of frequencies. It only performed below average in our crosstalk test, which measures how much signals bleed between the channels and narrow the stereo field. The Clix includes a customizable equalizer, but provides no presets (for example, to suit rock or classical music).
For a flash-based audio player, the Clix is a little pricey, but in return it offers a big screen and a generous amount of storage.