iriver H10 $250
2.125 x 3.75 x .625 inch, 3.5 ounces · iriveramerica.com
Target iPod mini
Memory 5 GB (20-, 6-, and 1-GB models also available for $300, $280, and $230, respectively)
Formats supported MP3, WMA, JPEG photos
Secret weapon Right off the bat, the iriver takes the iPod mini down a notch by having a color screen. And it knows how to use it: you can transfer digital photos to the player for sharing memories on the move. Its slideshow functions are primitive compared with the Toshiba gigabeat - there's no way to change the interval time or the transition effect - but at least they're simple enough for most primates to operate. And the player's colorful main menu really shows off what the 1.5-inch screen can do.
Extra ammo The iriver stuffs its slim chassis with a seemingly bottomless grab bag of extras. The onboard FM tuner conveniently sets its own presets for your area, and recording from it is easy enough (if not intuitive - it was one of the few functions I had to look up in the manual). You can also record via the built-in mike or the analog minijack in the cradle, which throws in a minijack output for playing music on your main system. Wait, there's more! The iriver can cue up text files on its screen, though it takes no prisoners when it breaks words between lines. Still, they're readable in a pinch. And if gray's not your color, the H10 also comes in blue, red, and silver.
Weak spot If this multitasker is lacking, it's only because it can't excel at everything. For instance, the LCD's 128 x 128 resolution leaves a few pixels to be desired. Many photos, higher-res ones in particular, looked noticeably grainy, with white lines sometimes appearing around the edges of objects. The iriver also relies on Microsoft's Windows Media Player 10 (WMP10) software to transfer music, which is kind of like relying on Burger King to be your nutritionist. You won't starve, but it's definitely not the best choice.
Mission report Target destroyed! The H10 isn't perfect, but its monumental arsenal blows the iPod mini away.
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