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Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST IN CLASS - AWESOME SOUND!, 28 Mar. 2005
This review is from: iRiver H340 40GB MP3 Player With Tuner (Electronics)
First things first: the key selling point for Iriver products is their sound quality. The company have set themselves up as the Audiophile's MP3 solution and they have succeeded. The sound quality of the H340/H320 is exceptional and sets it out ahead of the competition. For this point alone, the Iriver H340 is worth the extra expense.
However, the H340 is packed with features that lesser players, such as the inferior (but strangely popular) Ipod, are without. Firstly, staying with sound, we have the built in EQ system. Iriver have developed 3D audio technology called SRS WOW which really is superb, you also get your more standard EQ settings for rock, jazz, classical, Tru Bass Etc, all of which are excellent. You can also create your own EQ/SRS settings if you prefer. With warm bass and clean yet not harsh treble, this player sings with all music genres.
Up next is the H340's ability to record any audio signal. Take a line out from your CD player, turntable, minidisc, cassette deck, mixing desk, whatever. The player will convert the audio signal into MP3 at whichever transfer rate you prefer (up to 480Mbps). Alternatively, plug in a mic, such as Sony's excellent ECM-MS907 high quality digital microphone (available through Amazon) and record live music, conference talks, lectures or whatever takes your fancy. Due to the Auto Gain Control (AGC) the recording quality is excellent provided you use a transfer rate of 128Mbps or more.
Then we go to the FM radio, which again is first rate. The signal is crystal clear and the reception very good. Don't bother with the radio if you take London Underground to work though!
The unit is upgradeable via the internet using "Firmware" which means it updates with the times. Put another way, this means that it will make use of better technology as it develops. The unit is already set up to accept the new secure format of digital music, created by the music industry, Ogg Vorbis. This format is likely to take over from MP3 as the main digital format utilising improved sound quality and taking up less hard drive space than an equivalent MP3/WMA file. The player currently supports MP3, WAV, WMA, ASF, & Ogg Vorbis formats but using firmware, will accept future formats as they are released.
Did I mention the mammoth 16 hour battery time? And yes, I have tested it. One great little feature is that the unit charges when connected to computer via USB. You do not need to connect it to the charger as well. Charging time on the mains charger is 3 hours.
This, coupled with it's high resolution colour screen, ability to view photos (BMP, JPEG, or direct from camera) sets this little player way ahead of others in its class. Also included in the box are Sennheiser in ear headphones, a USB-USB2 data transfer cable, Phono cable, carry case, mains charger software CD and user manual.
I have one minor gripe with the H340. The navigation system could be better. Where the Iriver trashes the Ipod in terms of features and sound quality, the Ipod wins with its "navi wheel" system. The navi keys on the Iriver feel ever so slighty clunky and this is the only downside. Iriver have corrected this problem with their 5GB player, the H10. Unfortunately we will have to wait for a new build until this is incorporated into their larger storage players. That said, it is not sufficiently inferior to mark this player down a star. It really is worth the 5 stars I've given it.

Don't be drawn in by Apple's excessive marketing. Their product is simply not up to the competition. Do yourself a favour, spend 10% more, and in doing so get a player of infinitely better quality. Get the Iriver H340. You will not be disappointed.
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