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iRiver N10 512MB Flash MP3 player
Dedicated follower of fashion?
Review With so many MP3 players available on the market, manufacturers now need to come up with ever more ingenious ways to entice you into choosing their players over the competition. For some, the temptation to be too wacky has become irresistible. An example: iRiver with the N10. But wackiness aside, does the player make the grade? asks Stuart Miles.
While we are more concerned with the product than the packaging, in the case of the N10 it has to be taken into account. Styled to look like the latest bottle of perfume from a French fashion house, the N10 tries to set the mood from the beginning.
Take it out of the box and the first thing you'll notice is that you are encouraged to wear this device like a necklace around your neck. Headphones are built into a rubber necklace with the MP3 player the pendant. At 6.2 x 2.7 x 1.3cm and 24g, it's small and light enough. The idea is a novel one, but are we really expected to wear our music players like they were jewellery?
But the euro-pop image doesn't stop there - included in the box is a strange sweatband bracelet we still can't work out how to use. Not that we want to use it - it's at least 20 years out of fashion and hasn't come back in again.
Of course, for the more sensible among us, the player comes with a replacement cap that means the unit can be pocketed. Style-wise, the device manages to carry it off and the display is hidden behind a mirrored screen glowing turquoise. The screen offers all the usual data: song title, time, battery life and so on.
Get past the styling and the unit offers MP3 and WMA support. Transferring songs to and from the player to a PC is done through a USB connection, though annoyingly you have to do this via the iRiver music software. The CD, in keeping with the fashion-setting box and player, is business card-shaped and this incompatible with slot-loading drives. Luckily, the software is downloadable.
The player itself comes in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB versions, and according to iRiver, has a 12-hour battery life. Our tests revealed this to be an accurate claim. IRiver says its secret is because the backlit LCD doesn't require much power, either way it means that it should last you a week of commuting to work five days a week.
At the outset, the N10 is a player for the fashion-conscious and unfortunately the price reflects this. Why you would pay more money than a 5GB MP3 player for a 512MB MP3 player is beyond us. Yes, it's cute, but let's be serious about it, are you really going to waltz down the High Street wearing £200 of player around your neck? We doubt it very much.
|Pros||— Small and discreet.|
|Cons||— Very European in its fashion sense.|
|More info||The iRiver N10 site|
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