There’s an interesting story behind the U10. Apparently, the head honcho at iRiver got together the whole design and engineering team back at base in Korea and told them to that they needed to change their thinking. He told them to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new – to make a complete U-turn with their thinking. U-Turn - U10, geddit.
It was a sensible idea. iRiver’s range of largely me-too MP3 players were dull but worthy but there was no chance that these types of products were ever going to make any inroads on Apple’s market share. Having said that, last year’s N10, was one of the most stylish players ever, so there were previous signs that iRiver could come up with special products..
And if there’s one thing the U10 is, it’s certainly different. The player is an oblong shaped device and measures 69 x 47 x 16 mm. It’s thicker than an iPod nano but shorter. Compared to the 42g nano, it is bulky though and at 70g, noticeably heavier.
The first time you plug in the player it will charge, taking one hour to fill up to 50 per cent, and 2.5 hours to charge fully. Playback for audio only is rated at a chunky 20 hours.
The intrigued aspect of it is that the device has a 2.2in, 320 x 240 screen that can display 260,000 colours – and that’s it. Rather than being festooned with myriad small buttons to small to press, all the navigation buttons are part of the screen. You press at the top of the screen for left, at the right to move right and guess where to move up and down. It’s a similar concept to the buttons integrated into the iPod’s click-wheel. One issue though is that the size of the screen is actually deceptive as the edges are devoted to the buttons and frame the 320 x 240 resolution screen. The only thing is that with the constant pressing on the screen, you almost need to carry a cleaning cloth with the player at all times otherwise the screen gets covered in finger prints.