Shameless product endorsement No. 5

Behind the scenes in this little morality play I call My Blog, I had an itch that needed scratching (to paraphrase some of my American friends).

For personal reasons, and ones that are a little off-topic for this blog, I needed a portable music player. I could have relied on a portable CD player or perhaps even a small, small laptop, but the purpose didn’t warrant something on either of those scales. I just needed something for sound playback.

And being conscious of the limitations of proprietary codecs, I decided I wanted ogg support. Video playback is for YouTube weenies, so I don’t give a hoot about that. Of course, it had to be something Linux-friendly. Coolness didn’t really rate on the grand scale of things … or I guess I should say, coolness took a back seat to portability, function, price, Linux compatibility and freedom from proprietary formats.

And I’m proud to say that I did my homework this time, and came up with a music player that I am personally thrilled with. I had quite a few options available, but the winner for me was the iRiver T7 (which I see labeled as the ‘Volcano‘ elsewhere but was just a ‘T7’ here in Japan).

This satisfied all my requirements without skipping a beat.

  • Price was exceptionally cheap, at less than US$50 locally. (Support your local electronics retailer.)
  • It’s light as a feather. Some people require a gizmo to have some weight; I prefer one that doesn’t weigh me down.
  • It plays ogg files.
  • It’s no bigger than a pack of chewing gum.
  • It has an easy-to-figure-out key arrangement, and a graphical display available in two dozen languages, give or take.
  • It behaves like a mass storage device.
  • Ubuntu found, configured, mounted and opened it in the time it took me to turn around and look for the instruction booklet.
  • It plays ogg files.
  • The on-drive arrangement for music and playlists and whatnot is just basically a series of folders named as such. That means its easy to figure out where things go.
  • It has a lot of options that are adjustable through the player itself, so you don’t need some sort of bricking-prone firmware update. 😯
  • It plays ogg files.
  • It recharges through the USB interface, and perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t require USB2.0 as a power source. So it likes my old computers.

And as bonuses, it has a radio and can record sound, although to be honest, I doubt I’ll ever look into those options. Radio maybe, but sound recording I just don’t see a need for. Oh, and it plays ogg files. :mrgreen:

About the only negative comment I can make at this point is that the black model — which I preferred, just as a matter of aesthetics — has play and selection buttons that are only marked as a difference between the matte finish of the player and a mirrored finish of the button. In other words, in the low light you can’t really see them, and if you’re just feeling for the button, you can’t really feel them either.

However, that’s such a superficial point of appearance that I can say it wouldn’t keep me from buying one again. If I had been thinking ahead, I might have picked a color with a stronger contrast between the body and the buttons. (Sheesh, talk about digging for something bad to say. … 🙄 )

And I suppose the storage space — I opted for 2Gb, because the price difference between 2Gb and 4Gb was a bit high for my taste — isn’t going to be enough for some people. (Insert shrugging gesture here.)

All that aside, in an age where everybody and their Mom has — and has to have — an iPod (yes, my Mom has one too), I’m rather proud to be swimming against the current. For a Linux-friendly, ogg-friendly low-cost music player, I am comfortable recommending this one. A gold smilie for the iRiver people: 😀


11 thoughts on “Shameless product endorsement No. 5

  1. Sapan Upadhyay

    I know exactly what you mean by “swimming against the current”. I got a Toshiba Gigabeat (40GB) when it was on sale from ($100! at a time when it usually cost $300!). It’s a really nice player. Sure, I had to install rockbox on it to get the functionality I wanted, but hey, I couldn’t be happier with it.

    Btw, I really enjoy this blog, since it convinced me to go buy a cheap, underpowered laptop and make it functional. I look forward to more posts!

  2. redandwhitestripes

    You put the ogg capability twice, but I know it is important 🙂 My requirements are similar to yours and I bought a Samsung YP player, which has served me well.

  3. Congac

    Iriver have nice design and good sound on their players.
    And ogg vorbis support is a must if you like quality music. Even though I’ve read about a study (perhaps on slashdot) about how students prefer the sound signature left by mp3s.

    The only thing I haven’t found yet is if Iriver support replaygain?

  4. stephen

    thank goodness for people supporting the awesome ogg format. i got a sansa clip because they started supporting it (and now they do flac too). i don’t know how people can live life under the iron curtain of ipod/apple/aac/mp3.

    excellent article.

  5. chombee

    Anyone know where you can get one of these in the UK for less than amazon is selling them for? (Amazon has them from £46 second hand or £50-£70 new).

  6. skralljt

    Hey, Iriver makes some good products (I’ve owned three, I liked their mp3-cd players) but the one glaring issue with them is that none of my players are listed anywhere on their page. When I buy hardware I want to be able to download the drivers. Two of the products I have aren’t even listed anywhere on the internet except in third party obscure websites and some japanese iriver page. One of my products, the slim-x 350, you really have to dig for to find anywhere. They work well though, and despite some grinding noises in cold weather the old beast is still playing ogg vorbis files based on a beta firmware released five years ago or so. Unfortunately that firmware could not play ogg vorbis files over -q 5 which sucks because i always encode at -q 6 or -q 7, so i had to transcode to cd’s which really caused some artifacts, sometimes even noticeable on my suburban’s tinny 3 1/2″ tweeters.
    Keep posting, your blog is very useful. Especially your guide on rtorrent. I am also engaged in using throwaway laptops for things like freenas and rtorrent, though I prefer PIII’s and up. Cheers!

  7. Daniel

    This is just what I was looking for – ideas to replace my iRiver T20 that’s started playing up. Ogg support and integrated USB connector are essential for me so I may follow your suggestion. One question, though. I’ve read that the T7 suffers from short battery life and slow button response. Would you agree with that based on your experience?

    Great blog, by the way. I live in Japan running Arch/LXDE on an old Thinkpad so it’s great to find all this new reading material.

  8. Pingback: EasyTag 1, Apple 0 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  9. jraz

    I know this comment is late to the party but I couldn’t resist since I like ogg format too.


    “It plays ogg files.” is in there 3x’s and 1 reference to ogg compatibility. 🙂

    Love this blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s