The terms ‘MP3 player’ and ‘iPod’ are used almost interchangeably anymore, and nearly everyone knows what an iPod
is. There are virtually no mp3 players on the market today that can compete with Apple’s iPod, which is thin, sleek, and lightweight. Many players have tried to compete with the iPod, and each has died its own unique death. It seems that the iPod is a force that can’t be stopped.
So what would happen if a new mp3 was introduced to the market that could actually hold a light to Apples iPod? An uproar, no doubt. Korean company iRiver is trying earnestly to take the iPod down a couple of notches in the world of electronic music players. With the release of the iRiver H10 5 gig, you may want to rethink purchasing that iPod Nano (which comes with a max of 4 gigs.)
It’s the smallest things that make the most difference when it comes to objects like mp3 players. Convenience can be a major deciding factor, coming second only to price. What are some of the conveniences of the H10 that the Nano doesn’t afford? The first is battery convenience. The Nano comes equipped with an internal battery, and after it wears out, you must send the entire unit to Apple to have a new one installed. With the H10, you can take the battery out manually and install a new one. Battery life is still in favor the Nano, however, with 14 hours of straight play in comparison to the H10’s 12 hours of battery life.
Already sounding good? It gets better. The H10 comes with an FM tuner and FM/voice recorder, something I absolutely desire in an mp3 player. I get tired of my songs after so long, and occasionally desire the randomness of the radio. With the H10, I can satisfy that desire; with the Nano, I cannot.
Apple iPod’s also take great pride in their click-wheel navigation system and its ease of use. H10 knows this, and developed their own simple navigation system. A strip that extends from top to bottom, you simply run your finger up to move up and down to move down. Press when you are ready to select.
Another feature H10 possess is the ability to upload docs and read them onscreen while listening to music. I enjoyed this feature greatly.
Now for the con’s that will doom the iRiver to take a back seat to the iPod. Size: everyone wants a light, slim mp3 player and the iPod Nano offers just that. Using a flash drive instead of a hard drive, the Nano is as slim as a pencil and small enough to eat.
The screens are very similar, both being bright and crisp. The problem with the H10 is usability and integration. The Nano has indeed been designed with simplicity in mind, because there is, in my opinion, nothing simpler than browsing files on an iPod. When retrieving photos from your computer to place on your Nano, you can not only select individual files or folders, but also place them on the iPod in a specific order. With the H10, you must access the root menu for nearly everything, the thumbnails are too small to view, and the photos are rearranged once on the H10. The H10 also limits photos to JPEGS, so any other file types will have to be converted.
Another problem with the H10 is comaptibilty. The H10 is a Windows only player; Musicmatch is the primary store. The H10 utilizes MTP protocol transfer, however, which means that it can be used with subscription services like Napster To Go. So if Windows is your operating system and you are planning on using Napster To Go, the H10 will make a very nice player for you.
The Nano has the ability to hook up to a TV for picture viewing; the H10 cannot. Also, the H10 doesn’t come with a hard drive partition, so it cannot be used as a Mass storage device.
Sorry if I got your hopes up; it appears that the iPod wins again in the area of portable music players. While the H10 has some nice features, including the ability to view docs and manually remove the battery, it still lacks many features the Nano more than makes up for. For now, the iPod remains the king of mp3’s on my list. I shall eagerly await the day an mp3 player is created that incorporates all the features of these players, but until then, I’ll rock to my Nano.