Customer Review

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect with a nice feature set, December 31, 2007
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This review is from: iriver T60 4 GB MP3 Player (Black) (Electronics)
I recently bought a Creative MuVo 100 MP3 player on deep discount due to it being powered by a single AAA battery. I liked a lot of things about it but then I decided to see if I could find a AAA battery powered player that had more disk space and that's when I found the T60. I won't knock the MuVo 100 since it's a great player in it's own way, but I much prefer the T60 after having owned it for a week now.

Pros:

- Very compact size; I am enamored of the triangular shape, very sleek.

- Powered by a single AAA battery, available everywhere.

- Good battery life (I own several iPods and they always seem to need a
charge and that means having the cable handy and an outlet).

- FM receiver/record features; and you can store channels.

- Built in mike (record lectures, take memos, etc.)

- Color screen (the MuVo's is grayscale by comparison)

- Drag and drop file management - no need for Windows Media Player or any other proprietary software; music files can be in folders or not and the player's software will find them; you can also navigate such folders within the player.

- Support a variety of audio formats: MP3, WMA, ASF and OGG Q10.

- Solid state disc, not a microdrive; granted iPod now has an 8Gb flash player and bigger ones are coming but they have built-in batteries and once they no longer charge all you've got is a pretty paperweight.

- Good feature set including: EQ, delete command, alarm, data storage, bmp viewer, various listening modes E.G. A-B, playlists, date & time, etc.

- Great sound, just like all iRiver owners say.

Cons:

- Toggle control is poorly conceived; as others have said, you often do one thing when you mean another; it's this player's biggest problem, not a deal breaker but they really should have spent more time designing this; you do get used to it but that's no excuse for poor design.

- Flimsy battery door; not a huge con but it's an important part of the unit and I could see it getting cracked and not fitting securely and then you either try to get another one from iRiver or use ugly tape to keep the battery in; could have been designed better; however they did do a good job of hiding it in the sense that it sort of blends in with the player's fluted texture which is cool.

- No microSD slot; you could say I'm nitpicking here but I don't think such a thing would have added much to this player's size and, with the right firmware, could have let owners upgrade to a total of 8Gb of space; too bad - would have been a great selling point.

- USB cable door is a bit flimsy; located on the side of the player, this door is similar to the ones on a lot of digital cameras in that is is just a small piece of plastic held on by a thin handle allowing you to sort of swing it out of the way of the USB cable jack that plugs in; I think it would have been much better to have located this plug on the end of the player opposite the one where the headphone jack goes in; you need to be careful with this door and have at least one longer fingernail to open it.

- Not powered by the USB cable; yup, transferring data to the player uses the battery; can't understand why they didn't just power it off the USB cable since you have to have it hooked up to transfer data; not a huge issue but another poor design decision methinks.

Keep in mind, I've owned a number of portable music players before buying this one including several from Creative, one from RCA, and I do still own two 60Gb iPods. I do love my iPods for the huge disc space they provide but I really felt there was room in my "collection" (and in this market) for a good player that uses regular batteries. Certainly the future for electronics that use non-user-replacable lithium-ion batteries is assured but that doesn't mean I have to like that state of affairs. Sandisk got it almost right with their e280 series players and their replacable batteries (though it seems they changed their minds for the new line which don't let you replace them - wtf?) but they're still proprietary with swapping out requiring removing a tiny philips screw etc. From what I've been able to gather, the iRiver T60 is essentially the best for it's capacity and type of battery; Sandisk does still make a 4Gb AAA powered player but it has a grayscale screen and the reviews for it are not so great.

NOTE: I only decided to write this positive review after getting around a serious problem I had with this player. Now, I'm not sure where the problem actually lies but I am willing to give iRiver the benefit of a doubt here. What happened was I was having trouble transferring songs to the player. It kept shutting off in the middle of the transfer which would cause Windows to "dismount" the player/drive letter. I checked the battery gauge on the player and it still showed two out of three bars. I tried a different Windows XP computer and, if anything, the problem got worse. I tried a different USB port, copying files a different way, no joy. I did finally notice that the error message was "battery low". I thought about this a bit; the indicator said two bars and the player, once disconnected, worked just fine. So I took the Polaroid brand AAA battery out and put a brand new Sony AAA battery in and voila! That was the whole problem, the player was for some reason getting a low battery reading from a still viable battery when connected to the PC. The Sony brand battery had none of these problems and I tranferred 4Gb of music over the course of half an hour with no hiccups. So, the moral is, don't use Polaroid batteries (or probably any other cheap brand) with this player. Instead stick to good known name brands (oh and yes, I do have the latest firmware installed so it wasn't "an old firmware" type issue). Also, I have not tried this player with rechargeables but I assume there won't be similar problems (just somewhat shorter battery life).

UPDATE ON BATTERY PROBLEM ABOVE:

It's been a few more weeks now and I've done several more updates/loads to my iRiver T60 player and I think I've finally nailed down the problem with updating it. Since it doesn't use USB power during transfers AND since the screen stays on the whole time it is connected (and recognized by Windows) if you start with anything but a full or nearly full battery (it seems to need to show three bars on the T60 screen), then the player will flash the "battery low" error upon connection and shut down. I find this, as well as not using USB power, quite odd as I can modify the settings in the player to turn the screen off during playback etc. after 5 seconds, 10 seconds etc. but NOT apparently during transfers. So here's what I plan to do to solve this. I will keep a dedicated set of rechargable AAA batteries around near the PC that I will use to do transfers. Now, that's not as annoying as it might seem. I was planning to use some rechargables with this player anyway and I typically do transfers in my office where there are extra wall plugs. Still, a rather poor design flaw I must say. Perhaps a firmware update will fix it somehow? iRiver, you listening?

-s1m0n
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2008 11:30:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2008 11:45:37 AM PST
Thanks for your review. I am also heavily biased toward MP3 players that use AA or AAA batteries. I usually use the rechargable type, which seems to be the best of both worlds. I use my players every day, and I don't want to be constantly searching for somewhere to plug in for a charge. I have owned a Creative MuVo (AAA), a Cowon iAudio G3 (AA), and an RCA. They are all good, but the RCA is ancient, and the Cowon is broken. So, I might try the iRiver T60.

I am always surprised that it is so hard to find MP3 players that use AA or AAA batteries. AAA batteries generally provide 750 mAh, and AAA up to 2500 mAh. I thought that the lithium-ion batteries provided a lot longer life, but the Samsung YP-T9JAB lithium-ion polymer battery only has a capacity of 740 mAh, so I am not sure that life is the reason manufacturer's don't use AA or AAA.

Posted on Jan 28, 2008 9:55:38 PM PST
Thank you for a very comprehensive review. I've owned a T60 for several months and still managed to learn something from your review (when hooked up for a USB transfer, the screen stays on and is still battery powered - double WTF!)

Posted on Jun 23, 2008 4:11:15 PM PDT
Metacortex.........

Great review! really appreciated it.
One major problem I see with the T60 is that it lacks a "LINE IN" jack which the older models included. I wrote iRiver about leaving out what I would consider an important feature of its current design.
Why did they leave it out????????????? I don't know. They didn't say in their response to me which I thought was very lame. They just apologized saying: Sorry for "the inconvenience but the T60 does not come with line in."
Ok! Great! But that is entirely the opposite of what I wanted and really needed or at the very least found to be a very convenient option for my particular needs. I offered them my services as a perspective employee of their company including a few of my friends to help them in designing future models of the T60 as well as others. Hmmmmmmmmmm, wonder if they will take me up on the offer? Be a great job Metacortex, don't you think?

Are you listening iRiver

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2008 8:30:13 AM PDT
I have a Iriver FTP 799 MP3 that I've used for about five years now and just love it. I recently acquired a tiny plug in mic for it even though it has a built in mic, this has been convenient for vocal practices, meetings, etc. but the vocal practices are a poor quality sound where the instruments are concerned and I have tweaked it to death and got it as good as it is going to get sound wise. So I'm thinking maybe I just need a new mp3 player. I'm considering the T-60 but if I can't plug in an external mic, it looses a lot for me right there. Can you tell me if it has this option or not? Thanks
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