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MP3 Players

iRiver E10: Super heavyweight turns to ballet

iRiver has left its geeky past behind and created an MP3 player that's both fun to use and attractive to behold

Oh iRiver, you intellectuals of the MP3 player world. You're the Carol Vorderman, the Fibonacci sequencers, the Tesla coil fan-club members of digital music. Back when the iPod was flashing its lady lumps about like a Hilton, you stuck to your guns and kept it science school. We remember the impenetrable, Unix-inspired file structure of the iRiver H320 and the Linux compatibility -- those were heady days. But now, what have you done? You've gone all sort of attractive and usable.

CNET Asia's recent review was gushing in its praise. They went so far as to say, "We enjoyed fooling with the new buttons." They enjoyed fooling with the buttons? Outlandish comments, criminal sycophancy, you cry. But look at the photo. Those buttons really do look good, don't they? Don't try pressing them, it's just a picture, remember.

The iRiver E10 includes Macromedia Flash Lite 2.0 compatibility, letting you download and watch Weebl and Bob cartoons or Flash clips from sites like Albino Blacksheep. There's also an FM tuner, voice-recording facilities, a picture viewer, 23 hours of playback time and USB 2.0.

The device isn't out in the UK, but we expect it will be heading our way soon. There are no details on UK pricing yet, but in Singapore it costs S$449 (£150), so hopefully it won't be much more than that here.

We'll reserve full judgement on the player until we can get our hands on one, but right now it's looking like the bad boy of industrial MP3 player design may have finally squeezed its muscle-bound body into a chassis that's worth a snog. -CS