iriver P7 review: iriver P7

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.3
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Iriver P7 is a gorgeous portable video player that packs in music, movies, photos, radio, voice recording, and a text reader.

The Bad For a PVP, the P7 is relatively inflexible when it comes to video format support, the touch-screen response is sluggish, and the included PC software is nearly useless.

The Bottom Line The Iriver P7 is like a beautifully crafted concept car with a frustrating lack of horsepower, but the price is compelling.

Editors' Top Picks

The Iriver P7 is an attractive touch-screen portable video player, offered in 8GB ($169) and 16GB ($199) capacities. Like its smaller cousin, the Iriver SPINN, the P7 sports an aluminum design and offers music, video, radio, and photo playback, as well as voice recording and a text reader. You won't find advanced features such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on the P7, but its relatively low price and large, 4.3-inch screen make it a tempting purchase for video fans.

Design
We have some legitimate gripes with the P7, but design isn't one of them. The P7's sleek aluminum body looks like it belongs in a modern art museum. In fact, even the plastic carton the P7 is packaged in looks like a design student's graduate project.

The P7 measures 4.5 inches across, 3 inches tall, and a relatively svelte 0.5 inch thick. The overall form is more pocket-friendly than the chunkier design of the Cowon O2, feeling more like an Archos 5 with a shrunken screen. The majority of the P7 is operated using touch-screen control, however, you'll find teeny, tiny buttons for power, menu, and volume on the top edge of the player. The P7's headphone jack is on the right edge, along with a hold switch, and a microSD memory slot covered by a plastic door.

While the P7's hardware looks like it takes a few cues from Apple, the touch-screen interface is entirely unique. Iriver appropriately describes the main menu screen as magazinelike, laying out each of the player's functions on a single screen, compartmentalized into an attractive arrangement of boxes. If you're accustomed to scrolling though menus, the P7's Mondrian-esque layout takes a little time to grow on you. After spending some time with it, we can't say the layout offers any practical advantages, but it's a pleasant break from the norm.

Once you dial down into the P7's music and photo menus, the single-page interface of the main menu eventually gives way to a more common list view. Unlike the iPod Touch's smooth, swift, and responsive song lists, sorting through your music on the P7 requires patience and a precise touch on a slim graphical scroll bar. If you plan on storing a large music collection on the P7, prepare for some navigation frustration.


The Iriver P7 comes bundled with earbuds, a touch-screen stylus, a USB cable, and a mini CD filled with software.

Features
The P7 is easy on the eyes, but the features are nothing to write home about. Despite the movie-worthy 4.3-inch screen with a 480x272 resolution, video really isn't the P7's strong suit. On paper, support for formats such as AVI, MP4, WMV, MPG, FLV, XVID, H.264, and a handful of others, makes the P7's video capabilities seem very impressive. In practice, however, we found that the P7 didn't offer the kind of drag-and-drop video format and resolution flexibility we've seen from competitors such as the Cowon O2 or Archos 605 WiFi. Just like the smaller-screened Samsung P3 or Iriver SPINN, we found ourselves spending extra time converting the videos we wanted to watch on the P7 using the included software. Power users and the patient-minded may be able to put up with the P7's particular video requirements, but people looking for drag-and-drop simplicity should look elsewhere.

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Where to Buy

Iriver P7 (16GB, silver)

Part Number: 1P0716SIL

MSRP: $199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Built-in Display LCD
  • Tuner Bands FM
  • Run Time (Up To) 50 hour(s)
  • Capacity 16 GB
  • Color silver
  • Weight 6.1 oz
  • Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3
  • Installed Size 16 GB
  • Diagonal Size 4.3" m
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type digital player / radio
About The Author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.