U100: iriver isn’t Quite Dead Yet

iriver u100 U100: iriver isnt Quite Dead YetIt’s been rather quiet around iriver (the company formerly known as iRiver) lately.  In the last few years they didn’t really manage to create a player that evoked more than a lukewarm response in reviewers and customers alike. Now they’re back once more, this time with the U100. Besides the pink and toxic green shown in the picture, the rather uniquely shaped player comes in at least one additional color that doesn’t result in instant eye cancer: black.

The U100 sports a 3.1″ 480×320 touchscreen TFT, comes in meager sizes from 4 to 16GB, has a MicroSDHC expansion slot, and should give very good battery life – 50 hours for music, 11 for video. Sound-wise, iriver unfortunately still sticks with SRS audio enhancements. Compared to Cowon’s BBE, Samsung’s DNSe, and the rest, SRS sounds rather artificial and mushy. For bookworms the U100 might be worth a second glance: besides basic TXT it supports ePub and PDF as well.

Spec-wise iriver is maybe a little late to the party, obviously aiming at the same market segment as the Cowon J3 or Samsung R1, but the U100 has one more trick up its sleeve: it comes in two variants, with and without Wifi. So I guess the Zune HD can be seen as another competition for the U100. It’s not known yet what kind of browser the U100 provides (if any), or what OS it runs – or if it’s ever going to see the light of day outside of South Korea.

Thanks to lebellium for the tip. Korean product page. Via JDG.

Watch a video after the jump.


22 Comments

Confispect on January 13, 2011 12:19 AM

Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slightly weird though but cool I was wondering if the bottom moved…

Barry on January 13, 2011 12:27 AM

This looks nice!
The ability to handle PDFs is a plus.
And yeah the bottom bit does look moveable.

The DarkSide on January 13, 2011 1:03 AM

I actually like it,…but the screen is thin film transistor (aka capacitive) so that’s a bit backwards at this time,…no???

Jaybee on January 13, 2011 2:33 AM

Actually, pretty much every LCD available on the market now is a TFT display. Resistive LCDs, capacitive LCDs, non-touch LCDs… they’re all TFT.

Mr. Chun on January 13, 2011 3:07 AM

The video says 16 million color AFFS screen… what does that actually mean to noobies like me? XD

natrixx on January 13, 2011 3:27 AM

Looks a bit like tribute to Nokia 5700 XpressMusic :) Thanks god, in fact U100 doesn’t have that stupid floppy bottom. If sound quality and price will be good enough, maybe i’ll think about replacement for my T60 8)

DrPeePee on January 13, 2011 7:10 AM

Had to do a double-take at the physical design, looked like a radio attachment for a second.
The UI appears nice at the moment and PDF support is something I’ve been looking for.
Whats wrong with pink? :P

Martin Sägmüller on January 13, 2011 11:11 AM

Jaybee, most quality players nowadays use either AMOLED, SLCD, or similar advanced and better looking screen technologies (better colors, deeper blacks, no annoying viewing angles, etc). iriver stating simply “TFT” probably means that the screen is nothing special.

Mike on January 13, 2011 3:53 PM

I wish that iriver would remember that its initial popular success came from jukebox audiophile players–and that the company would come back to that again …

Lucien Dominick G. Tiojanco on January 14, 2011 12:55 AM

I love the design, very cute. I wonder if this’ll make it to our local market.

The DarkSide on January 14, 2011 1:03 AM

BTW: I meant the screen is (most likely) RESISTIVE,…not capacitive,…my bad :-P

lestatar on January 14, 2011 5:57 AM

Not bad. Need an in-person demo, but still, nice to see iriver hasn’t given up the ghost. More variety/more manufacturers can only be a good thing all around.

The Saxmaster on January 14, 2011 9:08 PM

What I love about iRiver is that they can make interesting, original products, like the Spinn or this one, for example. They don’t follow a formula, excluding the e100 (it was boring).

Ravagence on January 15, 2011 4:40 PM

Any chance of BlueTooth? It looks great. I just have my headphones I’d like to use with it.

lebronwademvp on January 15, 2011 5:15 PM

wow, looks nice, besides the fact that it looks like the Zune HD with a set background if you ask me…, it has same design with the same font scheme as the HD…

Evan on January 15, 2011 6:38 PM

I don’t like the design, and I don’t like touchscreens (except for smartphones and similar multipurpose devices). I don’t care about PDF for this screen and resolution.

I DO like the large-ish screen. I love the battery life. And the microSDHC slot. I am curious about the formats support, especially on the video side.

Overall, the design makes it unattractive to me, and would only care about it as a 2ndary player.

Andre on January 16, 2011 3:46 AM

looks a mini zune hd, and i think irriver need too improve things to increase in the market.

AZAmazed on January 18, 2011 12:16 AM

Doesn’t look half bad but what’s with up the bottom being so big…?
I kinda like the design though
but dislike that the home page looks kinda like the Zune UI

Relyt on January 21, 2011 4:21 PM

This makes me sad. UI looks great but iriver itself used to be amazing but now they make mediocre products. The hardware on this, at least from the pictures, looks very cheesy.

paulr on January 27, 2011 9:16 AM

On the bus yesterday I saw a frumpy middle-aged lady pull a music player out of her purse and start to plug in the earbuds. As an aficionado of players powered by AA cells instead of lithium ion, I recognized her player right away. I said “Hey, that’s an iRiver T10!!!” in a pleasantly surprised voice, and she seemed flattered that I knew what it was. She told me someone had give it to her as a present many years ago, and it is still going strong. I bet she will still be using it after all these U100 thingies are in the trash too. The T10 was near indestructable and ran 40+ hours on the most common battery in the world. I wish someone would make something like it again.

pitzy on April 5, 2011 7:06 AM

Just received my U100 yesterday. I am in Australia and had to order from Korea. I have been using Iriver players for many years now, so I just had to have this one.

Build quality seems great so far. There is not cover for the USB port. But I am used to the Galaxy S with it’s cool little slide thing. The head phones in the box are total crap, sorry, but it’s true. The player was basically unusable out of the box. Would not respond to touches on the screen, taking several minutes to enter a menu, and so on.

After downloading ‘PLUS4′ from Iriver’s website and updating the firmware, I have no issues at all. I have loaded nearly 8 gig plus another 8 gig micro sd full of music.

So far I can not see any option to change this to English. Although it is 50/50, so working through the Korean is easy enough.

Sound wise, it seems just like every other Iriver player I have, and you don’t need the volume close to max to hear it like my Cowan J3.

The only weird and slightly annoying thing I have found so far is that after adding or deleting files you have to go into the settings and press the ‘rebuild database’ button for it to recognize the files in their correct folder. (music, pictures) and so on.

I’m guessing Iriver will be shipping these with the updated firmware pretty soon. Or maybe I just got one of the first off the line.

Now it is working properly it seems like another great player. Can’t wait to test it out some more with my Hippo VB’s that should be here in a week or two.

pitzy on April 5, 2011 7:24 AM

oh, I forgot to say.

This came with a silicon case (just boring clear) but once it is on, you can hardly notice the bottom bit looking as though it is separate.

I also got the green and black. Not as “out there” as it may seem. Kinda cool actually.

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