iRiver announces two new digital music portables

By Richard Menta 8/23/02

Yes, I know today is officially the last day of summer, but in the minds of retailers that also means the holiday season is approaching fast. It has been a busy seven days for manufacturers unveiling their latest MP3 players and two more have joined the fray from iRiver.

iRiver iFP-180T

iRiver iFP-180T

The iRiver iRiver iFP-180T is a fixed flash 128MB MP3 player akin to the recently announced Creative Nomad Muvo. Both player are designed to keep the body of the unit as small as possible, eschewing the ability to upgrade the memory with flash memory cards, but supplying them with ample memory in the first place.

The prism shaped iFP-180T sells for about $140 and carries dimensions of 31 x 28.5 x 82 mm (1.22" x 1.12" x 3.2") making it slightly larger than the Nomad Muvo (2.87" x 1.38" x 0.63") and the Panasonic SV-SD80 (1.69" x 1.75" x .69"). It might be added that the Panasonic - the smallest of the three - can also upgrade the memory via flash card, though right now it too tops out at 128MB.

Capable of playing MP3, WMA and ASF files (no Ogg Vorbis yet, but Xiph CEO, Emmett Plant has already posted on the iRiver boards his offer to help integrate Ogg into future firmware upgrades for iRiver players) the iRiver iFP-180T has a couple of features missing from the Muvo. The first is a display, absent from the Nomad unit to save space. The iRiver iFP-180T also has an FM tuner and is capable of voice recording.

Weighing in at 32g, the iRiver iFP-180T can store all types of files and thus can be handy for anyone who needs to transfer large file around without the benefit of a network connection.

Finally, iRiver has listened to its consumers by supplying a decent set of Sennheiser headphones with the player. When users ask us which MP3 player has the best sound we tell them whichever ones don't supply cheap eargear with their units. Using the same phones on various portables we only occasionally detect a significant difference. Switch from the cheap phones that come with most units to a good pair and the improvement becomes dramatic. Kudos to iRiver.

iRiver iMP-400

iRiver iMP-400

The iRiver iMP-400 continues the company's line of slim-line MP3/CD portables. For the fashionarati, the iMP-400 is the most stylish unit we have come across. Offered in both chrome and wine, this MP3 player is for that discerning gal on the go who wants to play with the boys, but without the loss of her femininity (God, stop me I'm writing these articles too late at night).

Like the iRiver iFP-180T it supports the MP3, WMA, and ASF formats. The player reads CDR/RW discs as well as standard CDs.

Among the features on this unit is an FM tuner, rechargeable batteries, and the same Sennheiser headphones found on the iFP-180T. The unit comes with a 4-line display and a bios that can be upgraded via firmware. iRiver has not released a price on the unit, figure somewhere in the $120-$140 range.


The Apple iPod for Windows is available on Amazon in 10GB and 20GB versions.


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