iRiver iHP-120 Plays Ogg Vorbis

By Richard Menta 9/30/03

The fact that the new iRiver iHP-120 weighs only 5.6 oz makes it eligible as an iPod competitor, because few players match that portable's size-to-capacity ratio. The fact that it will also play Ogg Vorbis formatted music files puts it in the company of the recently announced Rio Karma, another jukebox portable using Ogg Vorbis as a strategic tool to steal market share from Apple iPod.

Ogg Vorbis shows such promise that iRiver also announced several older portables will soon have firmware upgrades to the digital codec. From the iRiver site:

The iRiver iHP-120 weighs 5.6 oz

Applying the customers' feedbacks and suggestions, iRiver released iHP-120 that supports OGG audio format. This firmware improvement will not be implemented only on the iHP-120, but also other products that are capable of supporting it through firmware upgrade. Please refer to the chart below to determine capabilities of each individual products that iRiver has manufactured.

The player itself is a fairly straightforward unit without any of the fancy options appearing in "iPod Killers" like the Neuros and the more recent Archos units. The difference with those players is that despite their added options, they are considerably bigger and heavier than the iPod. The introductions of the Karma and the iRiver will probably achieve more with less, less being in the form of weight and dimension reductions. Less also means going with an open source format as the second codec. A codec compelling to a presently small, but loyal and growing niche of users.

The iRiver comes with 20GB of storage using the same Toshiba drive as the iPod. The iRiver iHP-120 utilizes a lithium rechargeable battery and does both voice recordings through a built-in microphone and on-the-fly MP3 recordings through a line-in jack. It is unclear if the unit will also record on-the-fly in the Ogg Vorbis format. There is no price yet on the player, figure around the $400 pricetag the 20GB Karma will debut at. Below are the specifications of the iRiver iHP-120.

Features & Specifications

No. of Channels: STEREO (L+R)
Frequency Range: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
Headphone output: 20mW(L) + 20mW(R) : 16 at Max. Volume
Frequency Characteristics: 2dB (Lineout)
S/N Ratio: 90dB(L), 90dB(R) - MP3

FM Tuner
Frequency Range: 87.5MHz ~ 108MHz
S/N Ratio: 50dB
Receiver Type: Headphone/Earphone Cord Antenna

File Support
File type: MPEG 1/2/2.5 Layer 3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, ASF, WAV
Bit Rate: Support 32Kbps ~ 320Kbps (Ogg:32Kbps ~ 500Kbps, 44.1KHz)
Tag: ID3 V1 Tag, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0

Power Supply
AC Adaptor: DC 5.0V, 2A
Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium polymer(1300mAh)

Dimensions: Approx. 60(W) X 19(D) X 105(H)mm
Weight: Approx. 160g
Operational Temperature: 0 Celcius ~ 40 Celcius
Playback hours: Approx. 16 hours


The Rio Karma is listed on Amazon.


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