When buying a non-Ipod device, there are certain things I look for in a portable music player:
- Syncs with Windows Media Player
- Plays Windows Media DRM encrypted files (yeah, I own a few)
- Has a standard mini USB 2.0 socket for charging and transfer (hell, I’ll settle for 1.1)
- Doesn’t require loads of custom software to work properly
That’s my list. So far, just about every device I’ve tried has been wanting in some key way.
My girlfriend doesn’t have such a list. She bought an E10 on the recommendation of a sales guy that said it was a “Flash player” – it’s not, it’s a microdrive player that has Macromedia Flash installed. Great.
My near-rabid frothing at the mouth convinced her to keep it, to prove that I was wrong and it wasn’t a horrible and random purchasing mistake on her part. Cow. But of course, when it breaks or screws up or is generally crappy and unusable, it’s not her that has to fix it. Ohhhh, no.
On its own, the Iriver E10 is probably a competent mass storage device that happens to be able to play media files, if you don’t mind a file browser interface.
But as a music player, and as part of the overall Iriver experience/package, it’s a piece of the warmest, steamiest, most unadulterated crap you’ll ever find anywhere. You just won’t find out until after you’ve bought it, so don’t.
Why does The Iriver Experience Suck So Much?
Syncs with Windows Media Player: No
First cab off the rank, and it’s already a killer. No Media Player integration. Crappy app required for song, playlist and artist management.
I decided I’d try to rectify this- and I’d try a web search to kick off with. Well, not much around the net on the E10, so let’s go to the manufacturer’s website.
In no small part, the Iriver website is so poor it’s practically unusable. First impressions are positive, with lots of animation and fly-out things, but you quickly realize that these are pretty much the only effort expended on the site, and they’re Flash-based, making tabbed browsing hard-to-impossible. And there seem to be generic tutorials for devices that probably aren’t sold any more linked right off the top page of the site. For God’s sake Iriver, please just implement the site in real HTML, and then try to make the smallest sections possible pretty with Flash.
Once you’ve got a couple of independently-navigated browsers open to the Iriver site, you try to search for something you’re interested in: say, E10 Windows Media Player.
Nothing. Sod all.
If you painstakingly work your way through the cumbersome search interface, you’re eventually left with a list of one thing – “product manual” available. Nothing about how you’re supposed to sync the device with Windows Media Player. No firmware options at all. Reading widely in the torturous forum, you get the impression you’re after something called MTP, for which firmware seems to exist for every other Iriver device but yours.
The forum requires registration, doesn’t offer RSS feeds, looks to have a near-zero useful response rate, and bluntly: fuck that.
So we’re going to have to install the Itunes-y Iriver Plus2, which is pointless because I’ve already got Media Player and Media Center and Itunes installed, and I don’t need another goddamn music management application for a specific device. I will be watching it like a hawk.
Plays Windows Media DRM Files: Who knows?
I would bet vast sums of money on “no”, because WMP doesn’t even consider it a real device.
Has a Standard Mini USB Connector: No
The little bastard has a proprietary flat-and-wide-something-to-USB cable. It comes with one cable. Lose the cable, you’re screwed. Just hanging around at a friend’s house and need a charge? Can’t do it without the cable.
Why anyone would put a non-standard USB socket in a device this size is just beyond me. It boggles the mind. You have a universal standard that can be used with anything, and instead you slap a proprietary interface on it that makes it no good to anyone. Come ON!
Doesn’t Require Loads Of Custom Software To Work Properly: No
Perhaps not quite the vehement “no” of the others, but the fact is that it doesn’t work properly (eg, you can’t sort by artist or album or playlist) unless you install The Crappy Software.
I really hope that it fails within the week and we can take it back. In my humble opinion, it’s a lemon.