Tiny iRiver Does Video

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At a Glance
  • iRiver u10 1GB Portable Media Player (1GB Internal Flash)

iRiver's 1GB U10 lets you both listen to audio files and view video files.
iRiver's 1GB U10 lets you both listen to audio files and view video files.
Small and ultralight, iRiver's new flash-based U10 digital media player measures 2.7 by 1.8 by 0.6 inches (which are about the same dimensions as a small stack of business cards) and weighs 2.5 ounces. The 1GB shipping model that I tested sells for $250; a 512MB version is priced at $50 less.

The flash-based device's bright 2.2-inch display boasts the same 320-by-240-pixel resolution as Apple's $299, 30GB video-enabled iPod. Easy to hold in the palm of your hand, the U10 has minimal surface controls (power, volume, screen orientation, and lock, all of which are located around the edge of the player) and a unique navigation system that permits you to press the margins of its smudge-prone screen to move through its menus.

This multimedia player supports up to 320-kbps MP3, WMA, and Ogg Vorbis music files, as well as MPEG-4 video playback; and it can record off its digital FM radio or via its built-in microphone. It can run Macromedia Flash Lite games, too, and can display text files as well as photos.

Although iRiver recommends using Windows Media Player 10 for syncing your music and playlists, you can also drag and drop files, using Windows Explorer.

As much as I liked this media player, I was surprised by its lack of bundled video software. Instead, iRiver suggests that you try free alternatives such as iriverter. With this third-party utility, it took me about 5 minutes to transcode each half-hour Xvid and Divx test video (of recorded television shows) to the U10's specifications: 15-frames-per-second, 384-kbps video and 128-kbps audio (in a given video).

The audio quality was top-notch, and the video itself was quite watchable, with few artifacts and far less jerkiness than I had expected, given the player's rather low frame rates. And a 2.5-hour charge supported either 22 hours of audio listening or 4.5 hours of video watching.

If your main concern in a media player is video, I'd recommend looking elsewhere; but if you want a sleek, all-around performer that will easily fit in your pocket, the U10 is hard to pass up.

Danny Allen

iRiver U10

Compact and well made, the U10 is a versatile but pricey effort.
Price when reviewed: $250 (1GB version), $200 (512MB version)
Current prices (if available)

This story, "Tiny iRiver Does Video" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • iRiver u10 1GB Portable Media Player (1GB Internal Flash)

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