There’s no doubt that the U10 is a player brimming with features. I can’t think of anything this size that can do so much. However, you have to pay for the privilege. The 1GB player is £140, the same as a 2GB iPod nano and £20 more will buy you an 8GB Creative Zen MicroPhoto, though that has a small screen and can’t play video. Feature wise, the iRiver wins with FM radio and video playback, but with the latter, the 2GB version would be more useful and that will set you back £190 when it’s released. While the U10 itself scores highly for usability, as ever, the non-Apple product loses out as a complete user experience. iRiver needs to sit down and create an iTunes rival to consolidate the three different applications and Windows Explorer that are currently required to get content onto the player.
This issue means that while the U10 might be eye catching, you’ll need to be on the techie side to actually make the most of this player. Buy this for your non-techie Dad for his birthday and you’d do well to include the receipt. For the more technically confident and patient though, this is a great alternative to the nano. It looks good, it sounds great and is the more capable device. And ever since, ‘Thinking Different’ meant thinking the same as everyone else, it even has greater gadget appeal.
The U10 has an innovative interface that works well and is feature laden, with music, pictures, video, text, radio and games in one tiny package. The downsides are the relatively high price for the capacity and the clumsy method of getting content onto the device. Get past those, and the U10 is a winner that just might take a few sales from the iPod nano.