You see the iRiverPlus 3 software that ships with the clix is far from intuitive, even for someone who knows their way around software and hardware. Upon loading the software there is absolutely no mention of video, and no obvious way of transcoding your movies into a format that the clix will recognise. I had already tried dragging and dropping video in multiple formats onto the clix, but it refused to play any of them. In a fit of desperation I fired up the software once more and then plugged the clix into a USB port. Low and behold a message popped up informing me that my player supported video, so I should restart the software upon which point there would be a video option included!
Once I had been given the option to transcode my video and port it to the clix I proceeded to convert a 45 minute TV show, and was once again surprised because it took over 45 minutes to convert the file. Considering that other software, like ATI’s Avivo utility can do a similar job in around five minutes, iRiver really needs to come up with a better solution than iRiverPlus 3.
This 4GB iRiver clix will set you back £139, which means it costs exactly £10 more than a 4GB iPod nano. Of course the latter doesn’t playback video, doesn’t have a screen anywhere near as good, doesn’t sound as good, doesn’t allow you to drag and drop, doesn’t use a standard mini-USB connection and most surprising of all, doesn’t look as good! The 4GB version of Sony’s latest Network Walkman costs almost the same as the clix, but having compared the two devices, even Sony’s player is slightly overshadowed by this iRiver – although the sound quality is on a par. Of course like the iPod, the Sony won’t let you drag and drop music.
That leaves the SanDisk Sansa e260 and here there really is a significant price difference. The 4GB Sansa costs as little as £79.99 these days, which really does represent amazing value for money. But it has to be said that the Sansa is considerably larger and heavier than the clix, while it also can’t match this iRiver in the sound quality stakes. Ultimately if I could choose between all the current slim and light players available right now, I think that the iRiver clix would be at the top of my list.
iRiver has produced a superb portable music/media player in the shape of the clix 2. It’s beautifully styled, easy to use, has a truly stunning screen and incredible sound quality. The clix is very well featured, while the ability to drag and drop music and the use of a standard mini-USB connection will please a great many consumers.
If there’s one thing that lets the clix down it’s the bundled software. While the hardware is intuitive and easy to get to grips with, the iRiverPlus 3 software is obtuse and near impossible to fathom – at least initially. But the substandard software can’t diminish the fact that the clix is now my favourite MP3 player, and I will be very, very sad when I have to return it.