iRiver B30 portable media player / digital radio

The iRiver B30 can play MP3s and video files, and also lets you tune in to digital radio

iRiver B30
  • iRiver B30
  • iRiver B30
  • iRiver B30
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Great audio quality, built-in digital radio

Cons

  • Poor design

Bottom Line

We have mixed feelings about the iRiver B30. The audio quality and integrated digital radio tuner are great, but its design and control scheme are irritating.

Would you buy this?

The iRiver B30 offers plenty of features that you'd expect in a run-of-the-mill portable media player (PMP). However, it's also one of the first MP3 players to have a built-in digital radio.

The iRiver B30 has 8GB of built-in storage that can be expanded via a microSD slot, which takes memory cards up to 8GB in capacity. It supports numerous file formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, FLAC and APE for audio and MP4, AVI and WMV for video. The iRiver B30 also allows you to view images and plain text files. If you like to play games then you’re in luck: the B30 also supports Flash games, but it doesn’t come with any installed.

The iRiver B30’s built in DAB+ digital radio tuner provides almost crystal clear reception for digital radio. There is an extendable antenna to help you tune in to FM radio stations, too.

The MP3 player's design is rather iPhone-esque. However, it’s not a touchscreen device; it has a glossy black face with a 2.7in LCD screen and touch-sensitive buttons. It will attract plenty of fingerprints when you use the PMP. The rear of the device has a matte finish and is home to an integrated speaker. At the bottom is the microSD slot, a USB 2.0 port and a headphone jack concealed beneath a pullout flap. A built-in accelerometer (iRiver calls it a G-Sensor) enables the display to switch from portrait to landscape mode depending on how you hold it.

There touch-sensitive buttons don't have text labels. They have icons that illuminate for a short time when they are pressed, although you can adjust the length of time they will stay lit for. Unfortunately the buttons don't use universally understood icons and the control system takes some getting used to. The controls could also be spaced better — the lock button and power switch are so close together that we often switched the darned thing off when trying to lock it!

Yet another design flaw is the back-mounted speaker. When you don’t have headphones plugged in the B30 automatically switches to the speaker. The problem is that when you have it sitting flat on a desk, the speaker is useless and you can't hear a thing. Having the speaker on the side of the B30 would have been better. The speaker also doubles as a microphone for voice recording.

Audio quality is probably the best thing about the B30. We tested a wide range of music genres on the iRiver B30 and it handled everything with ease using the supplied headphones. Bass didn't distort at high volume levels and it remained pronounced yet modest, while the treble maintained clarity. Mid-range was spot-on. The bundled offer good audio but are uncomfortable.

We have mixed feelings about the iRiver B30. At $299 it’s similarly priced to the 8GB iPod Touch, which doesn't have an integrated DAB+ digital radio tuner (but offers a bigger screen, Wi-Fi and lots of apps). We’d definitely like the design to be improved; it's pretty much the most annoying thing about it.

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Read more on these topics: mp3 players, portable media players, digital radio, iRiver
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