More mini rivalry: H10

The iRiver's 5GB capacity makes it a middleweight contender, aiming for the iPod mini's corner of the market. While at $399 it costs more than the mini (which gives you 4GB storage for $299), it has more than just an extra gig of space to offer.

The H10's highlight is its attractive 1.5in display that, along with an improved hardware-and-software interface, makes the player a joy to use. Navigating your music library is easy with the touch-sensitive slider control, and iRiver has dropped its oversimplified folder-structure interface for one that allows you to browse by genre, artist, album, or song title.

Music sounds good on the device, provided you upgrade to a better set of headphones than the included earbuds. You can add individual songs, but not albums or artists, to an on-the-fly playlist called QuickList. The player also does more than just play music: you can listen to and record FM radio, record audio with a built-in mike, and display text files. The unit also stores and shows photos, but offers no easy way to output those photos to a TV or PC.

Included is a replaceable, rechargeable battery that ran about 10.5 hours between charges. Rounding out the package is an exceptionally useful, protective rubber-skin case that allows full access to the device's navigation controls.

Verdict The H10 is a decent enough MP3 player with some great extra features and replaceable battery. You just have to be willing to do things its way and replace the headphones if you're going to use it much.

iRiver H10

Price: $399

Distributor: CR Kennedy (will advise of local reseller)

Phone: (03) 9823 1555

URL: www.crkennedy.com.au; www.iriver.com

Specifications: 5GB MP3 player; rechargeable lithium-ion battery; Windows XP; MP3/WMA/TXT/JPG; USB 2.0; 90dB signal-to-noise ratio; FM radio; 1.6in colour LCD screen; 96x55x15mm; 96g

Features: 9 Value: 7 Overall: 8

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Eric Dahl

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