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In other territories - though there's nothing on the UK product or packaging - they're calling this one the Volcano. Nope, I don't have a clue why, either.
Is it because iRiver's latest MP3 player is a spectacular explosion of red-hot style? No. It's actually a most discrete and understated device. Is it because the T7 is erupting with red hot features? Well, it's an MP3 player with FM radio, voice recorder and USB memory stick capabilities, not to mention a screen, but let's not get too carried away; none of these features are particularly unusual. Maybe iRiver felt that simply being another rival to the Sansa Clip, iPod Shuffle and Creative Zen Stone Plus wasn't exciting enough given the competitive state of the market. If so, the manufacturer might have a point. The T7 is a perfectly solid product, but not actually that exceptional in any way.
Physically, it's a handsome and well designed little unit, roughly the size of an older USB pen drive or a 3G USB dongle. Everything is sleek and all the controls have been hidden away as far as possible. The main playback buttons sit to the right of the tiny 1in OLED screen. They're not touch-sensitive as such, merely squirrelled away behind a flexible casing. The only things that protrude are the volume/select buttons at the top and bottom of the unit and a hold catch on the bottom. The T7 feels lightweight without being quite as cheap or plasticky as the bargain basement Sansa Clip, and if you wanted a unit you could take jogging, travelling or to the gym, then you wouldn't need to waste much time worrying about the health of this one.
Of course, the T7 has another physical asset: it features a built-in USB connection, meaning there's no need to find a cable when you want to recharge or refill. Unlike most devices of this type, however, the USB connector isn't hidden behind a pull-off cover but held inside the unit on a spring-loaded catch; hold in the button on the rear of the T7 and it rapidly flicks out. Note that the connector isn't the usual USB male type but a sort of stripped back version with the outer metal plate removed. It fitted into every USB slot I tried it with, but the connection felt less secure in some than others. In the unlikely event that you have a slot that this slimline unit can't fit into, an adaptor cable is provided.
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