Although they're often considered well designed and comprehensive, iRiver's digital music players can also be somewhat complicated. By the company's standards, the 512MB T30 is rather straightforward both in appearance and operation. The big attractions for this streamlined version of the iRiver T10 is its support of subscription music downloads and its price. The 512MB version retails for $100, and the 1GB version is available for $150.
At 2.4 by 1.2 by 1.9 inches and weighing 1 ounce, the iRiver T30 is ideal for using while working out. Slip it into a shirt pocket, and you'll hardly notice it's there. The dull black and silver plastic case of our 512MB test model isn't particularly striking--the 1GB version is a little more stunning in red--and the player lacks the joystick controls found on other flash-based iRiver devices. But the T30's simplicity will appeal to MP3 novices.
The most common compliant regarding iRiver's players has been the abstruse, techie user interface. Operating the T30, however, is fairly straightforward: Press and hold the Menu button to access the Browser (the music directory), the recording settings, and the system settings. Some users, though, will still balk at having to decode the process of setting up shuffle/repeat modes.