Hmm, seems iRiver H320 isn’t going to replace the iPod Photo anytime soon…

Interesting review here of a new iRiver MP3 player which also shows photos.

I’ll tell you what’s interesting about the reviewer in a moment. First, some of the things he noticed:

  • you can only browse files on the device via a “file explorer” – no Artists, Genres, Albums, Photos etc menu.
  • if you sort the files into artist, genre etc (using a Windows open-source tool.. how weird is that phrase?) so that it does do such a menu, the boot time increases to over 60 seconds. One minute. Of your life. Waiting. For. Your MP3 player. To. Boot.
  • can’t make it sync with your PC (it’s PC-only, not Mac-compatible) because it’s set up to appear on the computer as a fixed hard drive, so you’ll have to drag-and-drop files into it from whatever sad music program you’re using (iRiver’s response to his query about this was We have tens of thousands of users who are very happy to manage their music collections independently of an application and prefer to drag and drop files to their player. Uh huh. And zillions more unhappy ones, eh?
  • can’t charge via USB
  • only syncs via USB 1.1 ports – which run at a couple of MB per second, compared to USB 2.0’s 400-odd MB/s (with a following wind) or Firewire’s 480MB/s. Filling up the 20GB device over USB 1.1 was “one of the most pitiful experiences I’ve had on my PC. I started on Saturday morning and the device finished on Monday evening.”

We don’t need more, truly, do we? But it is a good read. And this is one of the players that does work with Napster’s subscription service, by the way.

Oh, you wondered what’s special about the reviewer?

He works for Microsoft.

(Sidenote: I’m trying out an iPod Photo at the moment. Any things you’d like me to attempt to make it do? I mean, that you would expect from it?)


  1. Can you partition your iPod photo so that your computer thinks it’s 2 iPods?

  2. I may be a bit dim, but why would you want to have to use an application to put files on your music player? The iRiver 799T flash player, which I have one of right here, required it when launched, and that almost put me off buying the thing — until I found out the latest firmware revision, downloadable from iRiver’s site, lets Windows recognize it as an ordinary drive and drag and drop files.

    I have to say I also think worries about the speed of transfer overblown. After the first time you load it, how often do you transfer huge amounts of data to it? Aren’t you mostly adding an album or two at a time?

    But then, *I* don’t like the iPod…


  3. That’s insane, surely? I’ve heard about the certification program from Microsoft, but I’ve not seen a specification list that a player has to have to get it; how could they not mandate USB2 for transfers? OK, tiny flash players can get away with USB1.1, but they should mandate USB2 for anything bigger than, say, 256MB. This is _exactly_ the sort of thing that this is supposed to fix… unbelievable!

    As far as the Sync thing goes; the MTP (Media Transport Protocol) that is part of the Plays For Sure campaign means that the device can sync with Media Player 10 automatically, but they’re market gouging, and only fitted it with the USB1.1 ports; so syncing is available, but is rubbish.

    I’ve had enough problems with these players in the past; had a Creative Zen, and the firmware was rubbish, hung every few hours, and the creative software was awful. Have a 1G mini now, and I can’t say I really like iTunes on Windows. I’m experimenting with Winamp Plugins and am going to get Anapod Explorer to try (, too, I think. The Notmad Explorer software of theirs was excellent for the Zen, and actually provides the kind of interface I want for an MP3player. It’s a hybrid between a Media Player and Windows Explorer, if I was to sum it up.

    As for the iPod Photo; I’m just interested to see the social uses; is it actually handy to have photots on? Nice screen for detailed shots? Mobiles already provide a little screen for keeping pictures of loved ones or whatever on; why is the iPod photo better? Not that it really matters anyway, since the functionality will be standard with the next revision I’m sure.

  4. Hmm, I also see that the review is from October last year… I agree with Omar in his post last week that the new H10 ahould be better competition; but the iRiveer types are very techy and somewhat biased too. Fanboys on both sides of the MP3 fence, I spose.

  5. Hmm, yes, have to admit I missed the October thing. I took the pointer from a Michael Gartenberg posting (here) from Feb 25 – so thought it might be current.

    True, he seems most recently to have found something “better than iPod” (see

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