For a long time, the Iriver Clix stood alone as the highest-scoring MP3 player on CNET (it is now tied with the iPod Touch). This is both good and bad for Iriver: good, because it helped to sell more units, but bad because now the company has a stellar player against which all of its future offerings will be compared. The E100, Iriver's first true U.S. release since the second-gen Clix, falls a bit flat, but it's not the worst budget option on the market. We certainly appreciate the competitive pricing--$109.99 and $159.99 for the 4GB and 8GB models, respectively--and plethora of features, but the player suffers from irksome controls, an uninspired user interface, and sound quality unbefitting to the Iriver reputation.
Click pad irritation
We wouldn't necessarily say that the Iriver E100 completely fails in the design department, but it could definitely use some work. The main issue is the control pad--it's just bad. It's plastic and feels cheaply constructed. The center button is small and recessed, which makes it difficult to press. Plus, the buttons are slightly unresponsive, and we experienced some delays when moving between selections. Also, when on the playback screen, the D-Click orientation of the pad doesn't quite mesh with the screen above. The center key is play/pause--that makes sense. Then, it's surrounded by a four-way pad with arrow indicators. However, the right and left buttons don't serve to shuttle through tracks; instead, you press up to go back and down to go forward. The right arrow acts as a shortcut/contextual menu key, while the left backs out of screens/menus. It acts exactly like the pad on the Clix, but on the Clix the control pad surrounded the edges of the display, so it worked with the clarification provided by the soft "keys" on the screen. For the E100, it's not as logical, since the soft keys are nowhere near the actual controls.