my iRiver H320 Post

It's funny. It's been a few months since I wrote about the iRiver H320. If you all recall, I've been reviewing devices as I buy them and seeing how they stack up against the iPod. I reviewed the H320, the Rio Carbon, and this week will publish a review of the Creative Zen Micro (sorry it's taking me so long, but it takes me forever to get to these things).

Anyway, I couple of blogs have recently picked up on the review (Michael Gartenberg, Digital Media Thoughts). For the past few months I've been getting a steady stream of traffic from the MysticRiver forums. I had to shut down comments on the post because I was getting some really nasty comments from folks who really hate the iPod and thought that I was just out to slander the H320. Now I developed some tough skin from working Macworld shows over 5 years where you are facing quite a sensitive and critical group of mostly avid Mac users, but some of the feedback I just don't understand. A lot of the folks in that forum are hard core iPod haters. What is there to hate? It's a great device and it works. I had to delete a bunch of rather tasteless ones as well as shut off comments for that post. The only post I have ever done that for. I even got a rather long but pleasant multi page email from an H320 fan that extolled the virtues of the H320.

Michael sums it up nicely in his post:

"It's amazing that vendors STILL don't realize why the iPod is a success and how to compete against it. Even with a compelling feature set like support for the Janus DRM, if you screw up the basics, there's no way that users will ever even see the advanced stuff."

And that is the crux of it. I DON'T CARE if you device has a million buttons, can be hacked with some non supported firmware so I can plug my digital camera into it, or that it supports photos and video. If the thing can't play music better than an iPod, if it cannot build a catalog of music based on artist/genre/album, if the ONLY user interface to browse the collection of music is a freaking File Browser, then NO SOUP FOR YOU! Back to the store you go. Better luck next time.

Now I hear that the iRiver H10 (Walt Mossberg gave it a great review) is a far better product, has a decent user interface etc. However, I'm staying away from the iRiver products for a while. I think their current customer base is way too far on the techy side, and I'm not sure they "get it" when it comes to building the basics. Meanwhile I think Creative Gets it and love my Zen Micro.

Comments (7)

  1. David Betz says:

    I have the H10 and it’s just fantastic. I got mine right away and I’m completely satisfied with it. Let me explain what that means…a few months ago I went on an ACTIVE SEARCH for a respectable MP3 player. My criteria were: small, FM player, allows direct file access, no moving parts, nice screen, and options. Well, I broke a little bit by saying I can get FM anywhere and the screen can look like trash. So I got the iPod mini(blue!). Uh MISTAKE! Wow that was a horrible experience. It would encode the names of the songs using some weird iPod schema and I basically had to use the iTunes alternative app(you aren’t getting me to install an Apple product on my PCs). I’m ULTRA picky. I mean my Nokia cell phones does everything I want plus much more, but when I saw this H10 for the first time I had to buy it right them and there. FM, color screen, direct file access(can’t assign a drive letter but it’s a path nontheless), and AWESOME sound, speed, and interface. I have the original black and I find it amazing.

  2. I have a H320 and have no issues with DRM, or WindowsMediaPlayer. I use Irivium not TDT. The differences between the vesions (Korean, European and US) is frustrating but that is not the fault of the player. Everyone has their tolerances and preferences. I do think your review missed a few key points but this is in no way a hate e-mail.

  3. Andy Jasper says:

    So basically, you like the ipod over the H320 because its user friendly. Its a great toy for the kids, but when it comes to advanced features, I’m going to buy the H320. Sure I want a mp3 player, but I want it to do more. The iPod is so limited that it makes me sick. Maybe I am too ‘tech’ and I def see having a direct line input and built in microphone with auto gain a plus since it can help me with alot of sound design, audio production, and DJ mixes. The only thing else I wish it had was phone and maybe google. Where’s that device?

  4. @ John Kavanagh: I want to buy the iRiver H320. Can you tell me the differences between the Korean, European and US versions please?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. josh says:

    my iriver is faulty i think and whenever i plug it into thre computer it says charging on the screen anyone who can help me or varyfiy that it is faulty thanks

    email me on thaks again

  6. gino says:


    I had the same problem and later on I figured out this: you have to change the setting.

    1) Press and hold the NAVI botton

    2) Move to the right until you see Control

    3) Select USB charging

    4) Turn it off

    Then tun on the iRiver H320, connect it using the Data and it’s ready to go! After the software identifies the decive, you will see some nice changes in the menu.

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