Portable media player with an unusual ‘magazine’ interface
There are obvious comparisons between Iriver’s P7 and Apple’s iPod Touch: both are portable media players with large touch-sensitive screens.
However, there are a number of interesting differences that give the P7 a character of its own.
The most obvious is that the P7 is larger than the Touch, with a 4.3in screen (the iPod Touch’s screen is 3.5in) that worked very well when watching video. The square-cornered metallic casing doesn’t look particularly elegant, but is certainly more rugged than most portable media players.
Our review unit had an 8GB internal hard disk, and is priced at £100. There is also a 16GB model that costs £130. Battery life is about 35 hours if you are listening to music or seven hours if watching video.
Like the iPod Touch, the P7’s touch-sensitive screen is used to control playback and navigate menu options. One interesting aspect of the P7 is its so-called ‘magazine’ interface.
The main menu screen is designed to look like a magazine layout, with separate areas of pictures and text indicating the different controls for music, video and other types of files.
In reality, though, this is a superficial cosmetic detail, because once you have tapped on the magazine screen to make a selection the P7 just displays a conventional list of music, photos or video files, as would any other portable player.
There is nothing that matches the flair of the iPod’s interface, such as the ability to flick through album covers with a finger. To compensate for this, the P7 does include a number of features that other players lack, such as a built-in FM radio receiver and a microphone for voice-recordings.
Users can also expand the player’s storage capacity by inserting a Micro SD memory card into a small slot on the right-hand side.
Files can be transferred onto the P7 from a PC using either the P7’s own software or the standard Windows Media Player, and we were pleased to see that it plays all of the most common music and video file formats, including MP3 and WMA for music and WMV, AVI and MP4 for video.
Iriver’s player may lack the style of the iPod Touch, but its sturdy design and attractive screen make the P7 a good option for travellers who want a portable music and video player that can survive a few knocks when they’re on the road.
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Rugged portable media player with a large screen and wide range of additional features Good points Good screen; built-in radio; microphone and memory card slot Bad points 'Magazine’ layout is little more than a gimmick
£100 (8GB); £130 (16GB)
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