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Video’s on the other hand are copied over using Windows Explorer. For some inexplicable reason the video folder is not a sub-folder of the Media folder, but is in the Data folder. Surely, video is media? The iRiver can only play back video in a very specific avi format and rather short-sightedly, no utility is supplied to convert video. There is however, a third party app called iriverter, available here, that will do the job. It doesn’t yet have any profiles for the U10 but if does work. Choose a profile for one of the other devices and set the resolution to 320 x 240, the fps to 15, the video bit-rate to 384Kbps or less and the audio to 128Kbps or less. Having done this, a 693MB movies was converted to 320MB, so you can fit a couple of movies on the 1GB player and have room for music and pictures. However the screen is so small, so watching shorter things like the Simpsons might be more suitable.
FM radio quality was as good as can be expected and navigating stations was easy. Press up and down to scroll through the frequencies manually or hold down to switch between presets. Recording was easy but there was no way of playing back the recording on the device itself – it could only be accessed once connected to a PC.
There are six flash games on the device and while there not exactly PSP quality games, they are mildly diverting fodder, such as a Space Invaders clone, Sodoku, and one where you have to keep a fat man from falling off a log. (That’s not a metaphor, that’s literal). They are though, better than the ones on the iPod.
Sound quality wise I was as impressed as ever by iRiver and the U10 sounded loud, clear and accurate. The screen was also good, with bright, vibrant colours for photos and text is clear. However, this is only if you look straight on. Angle it either up or down or to the side and the colours immediately become washed out. It could also do with a touch more contrast and dark scenes in videos are hard to make out.
In addition to the player itself, iRiver has an optional cradle that costs £40. With the U10 housed inside it looks very much like a miniature television from the 50s. The cradle has a remote control and if you plug some speakers into the line out, you can listen and control your music from a distance. There’s even a line-in on the cradle and the U10 will then encode direct to MP3. a cool feature is snooze button on top of the cradle so you can use it as alarm clock and wake up to a track or the radio.
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