- Stylish design
- DAB+ support
- Good lossless format support
- Real-world DAB performance is poor
- Patchy interface
- Weak EQ
- Review Price: £129.99
Portable DAB radios have failed to capture the public’s interest in the same way as MP3 players. Maybe radio is just not cool these days. Not swayed by the prospect of jumping into a rather niche puddle, iRiver made the S100 – a media player equipped with a DAB radio, FM radio and of course the ability to play MP3s and other music files. Will it convert the masses, or is this just another hopeless door-to-door Jahovah’s witness?
The iRiver S100’s build, like the idea of a portable DAB radio itself, doesn’t sound cutting-edge. It’s made of plastic and doesn’t have a touchscreen. Don’t turn your nose up just yet, because it’s lovely-looking and very well-made. At 9.8mm thick, the S100 is slender and the single-surface 4-button D-pad affords this media player a minimalist look. Although there are five buttons on its surface, you only really see one of them – the main select button.
The power button sits on the left side of the body, the pinhole mic and volume controls on the left. On the S100’s bottom are the 3.5mm headphone jack and the pull-out plastic panel that hides the microSD slot, miniUSB socket and the system reset button. Unlike most pocket DAB radios, the iRiver S100 includes a decent wedge of on-board memory, either 4GB or 8GB, offering enough room for around 40 or 80 albums.
Its plastic body doesn’t feel quite as luxurious as the metal-backed iPod Touch, but allows for a featherweight 77g girth – significantly lighter than the iPod Touch 4G’s 101g.
The screen’s a 2.8in model, using a 240×320 resolution. The pixel density isn’t high enough to make text look pin-sharp, but in a device that’s so audio-focused this isn’t a big problem. Text is clear, just not as beautiful as you’d see on the super-high-pixel-density iPod Touch 4G screen.
Support for different types of audio files is good, with the lossless FLAC and APE invited to the ball alongside the standards of MP3 and WMA. ASF, WAV and OGG are also supported. Video’s not quite so hot, with codecs limited to AVI, MP4, MPG and FLV. It also seems to be picky about the resolutions it’ll play back too. We can’t imagine many will want to watch a feature-length movie on a 2.8in screen anyway, but we wouldn’t recommend buying the iRiver S100 for watching video.