iriver E100 Review

iriver e100 main iriver E100 Review

The E100 will be iriver’s first player to be released in the US since the clix2, which I was very fond of. This player comes in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities in several different modern colors. Audio codec is supreme supporting all the major licensed and open source file types. Video codec support is also very good, but most of the time conversion is necessary to conform to the 320×240 262k color screen.

There is a lot of familiarity with this player and keeps well to the iriver style and functionality. Do however keep in mind that iriver is trying to reach the lower flash player market and in doing so they had to sacrifice slightly on quality. Read on for an in-depth look at the iriver E100.

  • Quick Look
  • Dimensions: 92.8 x 47.8 x 11.3 mm
  • Weight: 59.3 g
  • Capacities / MSRP: 2GB, 4GB, 8GB / $90, $110, $160
  • Transfer Mode: MSC & MTP User Selectable
  • Battery Life: 25 hours Audio, 5 hours Video
  • Screen: 2.4″ 320×240 pixel 262k Color
  • Recording: Mic, External Mic, Line-in, FM Radio in WMA 96/128/192kbps
  • Supported Audio: MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, FLAC
  • Supported Video: WMV9 SP, MPEG-4 SP, XviD SP (240×320 30FPS up to 320kbps WMV or MP3 Audio)
  • Supported Images: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF
  • Features: micrSD slot, Internal Speaker, SRS WOW, TXT viewer
  • Full Spec Sheet
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Accessories

Just the basics are in the box: earphones, standard USB cable, software, and the player. At the time of writing this there is not much available as far as additional accessories, but like previous product you can expect various types of cases and screen protectors.

Design

Iriver has always been known for some fantastic looking designs; modern, minimalist, and fissionable. The E100 is no exception and closely follows this high-design trend. The player is wrapped in an all matte scratch and fingerprint resistant plastic. The screen is a hard scratch resistant plastic and is inset just slightly to fend off scratches if placed face down on a hard surface.

The build quality is really well constructed, but the materials feel a bit light hollow. It is all tightly assembled and overall good, but it fell short to my expectations of iriver’s premium brand.

Screen

This is one place where iriver cut corners; the screen is mediocre compared to the latest generation of MP3 players. For instance Sony, Samsun, and Creative have better looking screens. This is not typical to iriver since its W7 in this generation has a great looking screen. The main issue with the E100’s screen is the contrast ratio is poor- where blacks just are not black enough. Viewing angles are also poor, especially from the top down.

Software / Media Transfer

The E100 comes packaged with a disc containing iriver plus 3 media player, firmware updater, video converter, and Windows Media Player 11. If you have owned an iriver player, you are familiar with this software with the included iriver media player. This is a standard media player much like any other but has a few features catering to the iriver family of players, such as a firmware updater, ebook txt manager, and video converter. This media player is a bit different from Windows Media Player but still is straightforward and easy to use. If you don’t care for iriver’s media player you can always use any other MTP based media player to manage playlists and load your E100 since also included on the disc is a video converter and firmware updating utility.

If you don’t like to use media players to transfer the E100 will allow you to select either MTP or MSC transfer mode. This means it is drag and drop and also compatible with any OS. Drag and drop will work fine in MTP mode as well, but only if you are using Windows XP SP2 or Vista.

microSD Memory Expansion

The E100 has a microSD card slot on the top of the player. Currently you can add up to a 12GB card, 32GB when those capacities become available. Memory expansion is always a welcome feature, but this comes with a big caveat. The expandable memory will not integrate with the internal memory. Like witnessed with the outcry of potential Creative Zen buyers, this is a deal breaker for many people. Unless iriver fixes this in updates, many users will thumb their noses because of this lack of memory integration.

Firmware

The E100 will get the occasional fix and improvement with firmware updates. There are two methods of updating, one for MTP and one for MSC file transfer modes. Both utilities are included on the supplied disc. This review is based on the 1.02 firmware.

Controls / User Interface

Previous iriver interfac
es have used what they call the “D-Click” interface which typically used the edges of the screen as the directional buttons like with the clix, clix2, and s10. The E100’s controls identical but are simply moved to below the screen to a separate control pad. The player does also have dedicated volume buttons on the right side with a power button below the volume buttons. Additionally, the hold switch is on the left.

Iriver’s UI has always been a strong point since they are easy to use and relatively intuitive. There may be a slight learning curve in that track forward and back are located on the bottom and top of the directional pad.

I have always given iriver praise for their interface, but this one lacks responsiveness and is somewhat sluggish. It will hang occasionally on menus and at times wont register and obvious click. Hopefully this is a firmware issue that can be ironed out, but overall it is just not as fun to use as previous iriver players.


Built-in Speakers

On the back the player are two speakers each about 1 CM in diameter. They work quite nice for viewing videos in a relatively quiet environment, but it is not something that can be used in a car ride nor do you really want to listen to music from them. Podcasts or audiobooks however would be ideal.

There is an issue where you cannot use the radio on these speakers since you need a pair of headphones attached for the antennae and there is no way to manually select speaker output. Overall the speakers are handy but do have their limitations.

Music

Playback

File support on the E100 is one of its strong points, considering it covers all the major audio codecs: MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, and FLAC. The E100 lacks an on the go playlists but will handle playlists via iriver plus media player or any other MTP based media player. On the plus side bookmarking is available for long mixes and of course audiobooks.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is ok, nothing too outstanding. The overall spectrum is well balanced, but it lacks clarity in the mids and is not open enough with a rather confined soundstage. You probably won’t notice unless you have a nice set up headphones, but if sound quality is one of the more important aspects you may want to look elsewhere.

The E100 features SRS WOW sound enhancements, much like BBE or Sony’s DSEE technologies, it reshapes the sound and tries to make up for compressed audio files. SRS WOW is probably my least favorite of all the sound enhancing technologies. I find it to be too artificial to be useful, however, you may find differently.

Video

The E100 plays back WMV and XviD at 320×240 30 FPS, but seems to be very strict on these formats in that a slight variation in the profile it won’t play. For instance, I downloaded a few podcasts in XviD and WMV formats at the rated FPS and resolution; most of the WMV did not play and XviD played but suffered from choppiness and distortion at the bottom of the screen. However, once the video was run though the iriver video converter or media center the same two video types played and looked good- much better than when it tried to play natively. The bottom line is don’t expect to drag and drop videos and have them play natively; you will have to convert them.

Battery

The player is rated at 25 hours audio and 5 video. Audio was no where near the rated and fell around 20 hours under two test. For video it was about 4 to 4.5 hours. The speaker on or off had no effect on battery life.

Features

Text Viewer: The text viewer is a simple application that allows you to view txt files by simply scrolling through them with the up and down button or playing them on the auto scroll feature. You are also able to add bookmarks and adjust the text size in small, medium, and large.

FM Radio: Radio reception is great on the E100 and the auto program feature does a good job of only selecting clear stations. Also note that headphones must be plugged in for reception and the radio will not function with the built in speakers. The FM radio will record in WMA at 192, 128, and 96kbps.

Recording Voice & Line In: The nice thing about having internal speakers it that it functions like a full on voice recorder allowing you to playback without headphones. The player also has a setting for an external mic. I did not have a mic to test, but I assume that this will change the gain of the line-in for external microphone giving you proper recording volumes. Line-in, external mic, and internal mic all have the same bitrate settings as FM recording- WMA at 192, 128, and 96kbps.

Photo Viewer: The player supports JPG, BMP, PNG, and GIF file types. This is much better than most players in that the majority usually only support JPG. However, it is not different from any other photo viewer with the ability to view thumbnails and play a slide show.

Conclusion

I understand that iriver was targeting a lower end market with the E100, but I can’t help but feel let down by this player. Maybe I was just too excited to get my hands on a premium brand MP3 player as iriver has always been. This is a text book example of difficulties branding across different purchasing segments- selling a lower quality product when you are a premium brand, consumers can be put off. On the converse it would be difficult for SanDisk to release a premium Sansa.

Lessons in brand management aside, the main downsides were the sluggish UI, mediocre screen, and lack of microSD library integration. Still, the E100 is well rounded in features, solid audio support, and a well tuned FM radio. The modern design, typical to iriver does well in fending off wear and tear.

Overall, the E100 is a decent player, but be aware that this is a player targeted for the lower end. To be more specific I would put it in the upper low end of the market.

Pros

  • Great Audio Codec Support
  • Very Good FM and Auto Program
  • File Folder & ID3 Library Browsing
  • MTP / MSC User Selectable

Cons

  • Mediocre Screen – Poor Viewing Angles
  • microSD does not integrate into main library
  • No on the go playlists
  • Sluggish UI

Compare

Purchase

You can pick up the E100 from Amazon at the best price usually with free shipping and no sales tax.




48 Comments

Zoodar on March 15, 2008 10:04 PM

Nooooo… I though this was gonna be a killer product. Hmm, the body feels hollow, the screen is mediocre, the video function seems kinda picky and the sound quality isn’t anything spectacular? I guess, I’ll have to look elsewhere. *sigh*

death__machine on March 16, 2008 3:40 AM

Is the sq better than the p2?The ui seems to lag in the vid, i dont like it very much when compared to other iriver ui’s

pneuman on March 16, 2008 4:16 AM

Does anyone know if you can totally disable the speakers on the E100? I’ve heard that on another of iriver’s speaker-equipped models, the X20, that the speaker turns on automatically whenever the headphones are unplugged, and I think that’d be a deal-breaker for me if the E100 is the same.All I want is something compact and solid, with good audio quality and 8-16GB of storage, and I was hoping that the E100 would be a contender. Maybe the Sansa Fuze will be a better option.

Chowdder on March 16, 2008 4:26 AM

Wow, that’s almost a 30 sec start time. That’s extremely slow, even HD players has boot time faster than that.Also, is it just me or does this seem a little thick for only 8GB. It’s pretty big and thick like a MP3 player from 2 years ago. And the design isn’t wowing me. I like the design of their SPINN player back at CES……..sooo where is it??

madve2 on March 16, 2008 7:15 AM

A 8GB player again =( I understand that the era of HDD players will soon come to an end, but when will flash players match the storage space of the 160GB iPod, or even the Zune 80? The biggest they have is 32GB (at a horrible price point, btw), and even if they’re working on 64GB models and release them in – say – half year, the now half year old iPod Classic is almost three times bigger than that! PMP manufacturers, please: I don’t want to buy an iPod =) (Well, the Zune 80 seemed to be the winner, but BANG!, it doesn’t have on-the-go playlists. What a bummer. All my hopes lie in a Zen Vision:M successor.)

EnzoTen (Grahm) on March 16, 2008 9:09 AM

@deathThe P2 sounds better@pneumanThe speakers cannot be disabled@chowderThe SPINN is not quite on the roadmap yet. The players we will see in the US near future according to iriver is the Volcano and the LPLAYER, but not dates were given.

nywytboy68 on March 16, 2008 10:33 AM

Good review, but this makes me want to see how the Spinn turns out even more. E100=FLOP. A shame too as it might have taken away from the new sony lineup as a viable alternative.

JL on March 21, 2008 11:57 AM

You say it has a bookmarking function. Does that mean I can power it off while listening to a song and automatically resume the song when I power it up later?The clix2 doesn’t have that resume function.Thank you in advance.

was on March 28, 2008 6:00 AM

@chowder: 30secs? more like 15, i’d say…

Seb on March 28, 2008 6:17 AM

Hmm this thing seems quite interesting to me…What about the Soundquality in comparison to the Sansa E2X0 or the upcoming Fuze ??I’d like to have a good Player in the under 100€ league with 4 GB or a possibility to raise the storage by cardsAre the controlles something like touch-/sensor-buttons or are they acting by pressing it??

Seb on March 28, 2008 6:21 AM

Hmm this thing seems quite interesting to me…What about the Soundquality in comparison to the Sansa E2X0 or the upcoming Fuze ??I’d like to have a good Player in the under 100€ league with 4 GB or a possibility to raise the storage by memory-cardsAre the controlers something like touch-/sensor-buttons or are they acting by really pressing it??

Glenn on April 26, 2008 11:57 AM

LoL don’t buy it! It’s the worst MP3 i’ve ever had! Had to reset it like 10x before it works (still not working properly) The Music function always blocks and the colors are like a game boy color… 1/10 from me!

Ryan on May 7, 2008 8:58 AM

well i dont think it is that bad. i baught one today and well i agree the UI is certainly a bit sluggish ithink its a good player over all. considering i didnt wana support any apple product and considering i go through mp3 players like i do clothes i dont care lol.

achie on June 2, 2008 6:00 AM

has anyone tried an external mic? this review does not test this.

mrg on July 3, 2008 7:58 PM

can someone comment on the bookmarking feature?Can I set multiple bookmarks on both internal and external memory?

Moji Johnson on August 29, 2008 3:35 PM

Can someone help me please? I am getting an error saying “might be disabled” when I am trying to play music.

Johny Johnson on September 1, 2008 3:18 PM

Answering Achie,I’ve connected an excellent Panasonic stereo MIC. The results when recording quality is set to “High” are very good.In general I would have forgiven the E100 for all the minor, annoying “features” if it had a bit better Audio quality.Also, when using a 8GB MicroSD you have to press the ON button at least 2-3 times until the device decides to wake up.

CLM on September 2, 2008 2:01 AM

I bought this MPS player a couple of weeks ago & am about to return it to the store – the command buttons often don’t work, I need to plug it into my PC 8-10 times before WindowsXP recognises it, and the software that came with it (iRiver Plus 3) doesn’t recognise either the E100 player or the CD/DVD player on my PC. What a piece of junk.

SilentMove on September 3, 2008 8:15 AM

Great MP3 player. Audio : MP3,WMA,FLAC,OGG.Custom EQ and SRS WOW HD EQ.Video : WMV9 up to 768kbps – WMA 128kbps.XVID MPEG-4 up to 2Mbps – MP3 320Kbps.With MP3Gain software you can make your MP3 Files from 0-89dB to 105-107dB :) But if you want you can make it like it was before (mp3 files). I recommended use gained mp3 files on speakers and use custom eq with 5-10-10-10-10.Record quality are realy high when you use internal mic., want better? Use external mic.Also you can record FM Radio – quality = what you hear.TXT, Unicode TXT – ĄĖŲųŪŽ.Pictures JPEG, GIF, BMP, GIF (Animated).Menu languages, time, date. Sleep mode, auto power off.File Manager.+ Good audio quality.+ Stereo Speakers.+ New firmwares.And more.- It looks like cheap.———————-I don’t use iriver software – only for firmware.Use SUPER@ http://www.erigthsoft.com – it’s free, but the best video and audio converter.

SilentMove on September 3, 2008 8:17 AM

Sorry for my “bad english”. I think that you understand all what i write.

Anon on September 4, 2008 8:31 AM

CLM: I had the same issue of it not being recognised when plugged in. Resetting via the pinhole fixed it.

CLM on September 8, 2008 9:05 PM

Anon: Thanks for your comment but resetting via the pinhole didn’t fix mine.

mangno on October 26, 2008 11:27 AM

I have E100 4GB, but cannot make video, so difficult to get its format

adamj on November 4, 2008 12:03 AM

spare me.. MPEG4, WMV9, and XVID SP aren’t unusual formats.

Andrew on November 5, 2008 4:29 AM

Can anyone tell me how to set the E100 so that Artists are listed in Alphabetical order?

Peter on November 11, 2008 5:01 AM

Big problem with the fact it does not sort tags….and does not integrate the MicroSD. Very difficult to find music when you have 8 Gb worth on there. This should be a simple firmware upgrade fix and in my opinion is urgent. Will not buy another iRiver if this is not addressed.

Avi on November 15, 2008 5:46 AM

Hi,maybe one of you can help mw:I want to navigate my E100 library first by artist and then by his albums. is it possible?When I select viewing by artist I see all his songs…Thanks,Avi.

shruti on November 22, 2008 12:12 PM

i completely disagree…according to the standard of an mp3…its definitely good…..it has som uch to offer in its price and it also looks prety stylish and good…..its overall a good mp3 player…

aparna on November 30, 2008 9:28 AM

can anyone plz tell me how to reset this thing???

Neeky on December 14, 2008 6:38 AM

i don no wether 2 buy 1 or not!!!???

maria on December 14, 2008 6:40 AM

lalalalalalalalalalaalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalwats up yoyoyohmmmmmmmm

JC on January 9, 2009 4:16 PM

Check the battery life again, this time comparing the built-in memory vs the micro-SD card. I got my girlfriend one of these for christmas and the battery seems to last 2-3 times as long with internal as it does with the micro-sd.

BAP on January 17, 2009 5:29 PM

You’re lucky you got iriver support to respond at all. They have ignored my emails. I loved my E100 for about three days, and then it suddenly went dead. I can’t turn it on; the computer doesn’t recognize it if I plug it in.

stylofone on January 21, 2009 5:47 PM

The E100 is great in my opinion. The killer features are: flac support, micro SD, folder browsing, and mass storage device functionality (no need for any bloated stupid software, just use the OS). Also, it’s cheap! I used the money I saved to get a 16gb card, so I hardly use the internal memory. Therefore lack of memory integration doesn’t matter for me. Folder browing means poorly tagged collections are still easy to use. And I do have quite a few flacs in there too.

stylofone on January 21, 2009 5:53 PM

It goes without saying that NONE of the features I find excellent on the e100 are available on the crappy ipod.

Bill on January 29, 2009 6:50 AM

Had an ihp 120 for 3 years, no problems. Compared to that, the E100 is totally crap. Worst of all, is the completely non-existent support and the most un-user friendly download page. Win XP refuses to recognise it, I cannot get the firmware to download and the support site states “no drivers available”!!

Killer on January 30, 2009 6:03 AM

I don’t think its better than clix. Clix was way more flexible. Then again, I’ve only been using e100 for a couple of hours now.

sudha on March 24, 2009 8:08 AM

i have iriverE100.i missed my cd. so how can i download the installation cd from internet. pls help me.thank you

Leon on April 1, 2009 1:46 AM

Worst software i have ever experience.You cant shuffle everything with in a folder, only the files in there, not the folders inside the base folder.You cant sort alphabetically without fu*king around in the C’RAP software that they provide.Making playlists is impossible because the lack of a drag drop feature with whole folders.Theres flaw after flaw with this product.

ady on April 16, 2009 5:04 AM

It’s an awesome mp4 player from quality/price perspective..anyway im very fond on it..and no software problems,like x20 model..(i had both)

Denis on April 23, 2009 8:40 AM

Recording problem with external micro : I have a very poor recording quality with an external micro. It’s the same with the line in input, when there is no sound i have a big unexpected noise ! Is there anyone with the same problem, is there a solution ? Thx for you help.

Sham on April 23, 2009 10:42 AM

Those who have problem with this device then i prefer you to reformat reinstall & update firmware… you can get this from…http://iriverinc.com/Click Support link & click E100.Hope this helps..

Jessie on June 1, 2009 12:44 AM

Does anybody know if you can use the timer device to record FM radio?? I Know that you can record FM radio but I want to be able to set it to record a specific program automaticly, you could do that with the old H10 (yes I know that was years ago but it has been a really good player to me and I use that specific feature a lot)Thanks

steffensdaddy on June 16, 2009 4:34 PM

I have an iriver e100 and except for the way you go about selecting the options menu for making changes to the song that’s being played like shuffle, repeat, normal, setting up the EQ, etc.When I press and hold the > button to display the Options screen, I get nothing. It used to work but now it doesn’t do anything but piss me off. Since I can no longer get into the options menu all of my setting are frozen ie, I’m stuck without have my music shuffled – what a drag!!! Is there a work-around for getting to the options menu? Thanks!

RIYAS on June 20, 2009 4:39 AM

iclude videos on this site, so that we can download.. Bcz i can’t play any type of videos..

NO NAME on March 14, 2010 6:56 AM

i have a e100 but its not so bad also i like it its gr8 4 a prsn lyk me ..what do u ppl think?huh?

Rabi on March 26, 2010 8:39 AM

I have been using e-100 it is so strong and durable too.Thanks a lot!!!!

Frustrated and Disappointed on May 25, 2010 9:18 AM

This is the worst music player that I have ever had.You failed to mention that if you set the timer on the player to sleep (after an hour, for example when going to sleep) then the next time you turn it on it will turn off automatically and considering how long it takes to turn on this is unbelievably annoying.The files are not listed in alphabetic order so when you search through Artists/Albums it is a nightmare.The buttons are rubbish, sod that for a nice design. The slow response time makes tuning in Radio stations something of a traumatic experience (I haven’t fully figured out how to save them without wanting to tear my hair out and the instructions that came with the player were about as basic and unhelpful as you can get) and there is no ’scroll to find station automatically’ function (whatever you would call that).The lag is insanely irritating.There are more basic music players that are cheaper and have a better design.What I will say is that the sound is ok, and the speakers are better than the iPod but I don’t see the speakers as being a huge bonus though because the quality of music player speakers will never be good or loud enough to function without external speakers/earphones anyway.I was so disappointed with iRiver, I’ve raved about them to everyone and always favoured them over Apple. I’ve held out on getting an iPod for years because I was always able to find something better but this player has literally broken my spirt and I may just have to give in…

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