A more serious issue is that the T60 consumes the battery power when you’re transferring tracks to and from the device – it doesn’t draw power from the USB cable. This means that, as soon as the player begins to get low on juice it simply refuses to let you transfer music to and from it. And it happens pretty early on too – with two bars left out of three on the battery gauge, in my case.
The usability of the device is also on the idiosyncratic side, though it is at least greatly improved over previous iRiver ultra-portable efforts. The CSTN colour screen is very clear and easy to read, and basic navigation works well with the tiny joystick. But you can only browse by folder on this player, not by using artist, genre, or album tags, and the navigation can be inconsistent in places too. Finally, at £99, the T60 is also quite expensive for a 4GB device that only plays music.
So far, so iffy. There’s nothing, on paper at least, that makes the T60 stand out from the crowd. It’s only when you plug a set of halfway decent headphones into it that you start to think it may be worth the money.
As with previous iRiver products I’ve listened to, this is one hell of an accomplished player. It sounds warm and full with plenty of detail and enough bass to keep most bass freaks satisfied. And in back-to-back listening tests against the Samsung YP-T9 and iPod Shuffle reviewed recently, it is quite simply ahead.
Of course one of the benefits of buying iRiver products is that they support Ogg Vorbis, an open source music compression codec that is generally regarded as superior to MP3 and WMA. The T60 is no different here and supports Ogg files right up to Q10 – which is equivalent to 500kbps. And let me tell you, music encoded this way sounds absolutely fabulous on the T60.
Stacey Kent’s silky smooth vocals on her album The Lyric sound every bit as seductive as they do live. There’s no tendency towards over-sibilance at the top end, and while there’s plenty of bass weight there it’s never completely overpowering, leaving Jim Tomlinson’s tenor sax with none of the honking bloom that can afflict it on inferior equipment.