Bargain of the day

I have a 2nd mp3 player as of today (been looking for one that has slightly better battery life [i.e. more than 7 hours] than my old Creative Zen does). There are some niggling issues with it however. But given that I paid AU$75 for a Blue 20GB iRiver H10 player (yes, it does actually work) I can’t really complain (was one of the few HDD based players on my list that had much better battery life than my current Zen).

This is a slate/grey one. Mine's blue.

This one caught my eye at JB Hi-Fi (Brisbane CBD-Adelaide St) as I got some exercise after a short day at work today. Why was it so cheap? Well, the packaging left a lot to be desired. The AC adaptor was missing along with the installation CD (more on this later; the guy did dupe me on this being a drag ‘n drop player). But after a quick charge at the store on Adelaide St, the dude from JB turned this baby on and lo’ and behold, it initialized up rather quickly. So I said yes and headed off to the counter to pay.

What did I get? Blue 20GB iRiver H10, USB cable, Sennheiser MX400 earbuds (with the iRiver brand emblazoned on them) and the owner’s manual. Given that the cost price to JB of this player is $283 (normally would retail for $336), I saved $261 on the retail price and $208 on JB’s cost price. And for a brand new unit too. Effectively, it was about a 75% discount and the guy did congratulate me (possibly knowing that I could have some problems using it) on a blaaaaaardy good buy given the hardware was working perfectly.

As for the earbuds that are stock with the H10’s, they are positively crap when compared to my other test earbuds (mainly canalphones) and headphones: Sony MDR-EX71SL’s, Sony EX-90’s, Sony MDR-E888LP’s, Sennheiser CX300’s, Pioneer SE-DJ5000’s and Technics RP-DJ1210s. Bass is relatively good for a pair of earbuds, mids are fairly muddy and hi-frequencies are almost non-existent. In short, horrible but I’ve heard worse than these before. But hey, they are better than the stock iPod buds so at least iRiver aren’t that cheap. I’m also considering the purchase of pairs of Bose Tri-Ports, Sennheiser PX100’s, PX200’s and HD465’s in the future as well; my kit isn’t that good to grace it with a pair of Grado, Beyer Dynamics or AKG cans (maybe when that Denon system I have my eye on replaces my Sony mini-hifi after it conks off will be the appropriate time when a set of better cans gets purchased).

As for the H10 unit itself, this little technological marvel is currently charging up via USB cable on my computer currently. Here comes the hitch now. Unlike the H10’s little brothers/sisters the 5GB & 6GB units, the 20GB version is not a UMS (Universal Mass Storage) device but instead a MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) device. In short, it doesn’t load up as an external drive in Windows Explorer (this is what is known as UMS mode), but I am instead required to install a driver first that customizes Windows Media Player 10 to accept the H10 (known as MTP mode) before the device will show up in Windows Explorer as an external drive (in otherwords, I get UMS only after MTP gets activated). Given that no install CD came with my purchase, this presented a problem (have already contacted the local distributor for iRiver here in Australia for a copy of the installation CD). I dunno if that guy from JB knows the difference between the two modes.

Fortunately the good folks at Mistic River have on their iRiver mp3 player wiki some nice instructions on how to boot up the player into UMS mode so I can dump all my music onto it first before using EasyH10 to generate all the internal playlists and database that iRiver devices use to show all the music tags correctly. A few button presses and what not to temporarily power up the H10 in UMS mode went well and I’ll be loading more stuff up on it in the near future using the same ‘UMS-trick’.  All in all, today was quite a good day.

Bargain shopping is worth every saved penny when one picks up a deal as good as this.

+ bf 1908hrs


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