So the control system works, but it’s not as easy as it could be, and this is the story with most things on the iAudio 7. I’ll start with what works, and here there’s no better place to begin than with file support – it’s about as wide as you’re likely to get in a player of this type. Not only does the iAudio 7 play MP3 and WMA, but it also plays OGG, WAV, WMA DRM and even lossless FLAC files, so you can listen to CD quality audio if you really want to.
Another feature worth highlighting is the player’s dynamic playlist function. Hold down play for a few seconds while browsing through your music and you’re given the option to add it to the playlist. This is a brilliant feature that allows you to build up a good mix of music to match your mood without having to constantly fish the player out of your pocket to pick the next track or switch albums.
The iAudio can also play video, although I challenge anyone to watch a full episode of Heroes on its 1.3in screen without going cross-eyed. It has an FM radio, a built-in microphone and line-in socket for recording. You can browse pictures and read text files, use the player as an alarm clock and it has scheduled record if you want to record a radio show during the night. It’ll even display lyrics, if they’re available for a given track.
Access to all these functions is via what is possibly the most comprehensive and detailed menu system you’re ever likely to see on a flash-based MP3 player. This iAudio 7, among other things, allows you customise buttons, switch between MTP and UMS (universal mass storage) modes without have to flash the firmware, and choose between file-and-folder browsing or browse by tag (artist, album, genre and so on). You can customise what appears on the Now Playing screen – ID3 tag or file name – and how fast track names scroll. There’s even the facility to change the frequency level at which the various EQ bands operate. It’s a real power user’s player.
The jetAudio software supplied lives up to the same standards. It’s not particularly easy to use or novice friendly, but packed with features. Converting video, for example, is a snip with options to crop or stretch widescreen format files during conversion and even filter out subtitles, though support for DivX files is missing.