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MP3 Players

Photos: Hands-on with the UK iRiver Lplayer

The first iRiver Lplayer to hit the UK is right here, and after a few hours of horsing around with it, we've got some first impressions of the very highest perspicacity to share with you

If you've been waiting for the most exciting iRiver player since the Clix 2, your wait is over (and you're epically dorky -- well done). We've got iRiver's latest click-tastic MP3 player, the Lplayer, in our office and truly, the wait for a player as sexy as the Clix is over.

This slick, rugged player comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities, plays MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, FLAC music formats and MPEG-4, WMV9 and XviD video formats. It's also got an integrated FM radio, voice recorder, 12 hours of music playback and three hours of video playback. This can all be enjoyed on the incredibly crisp 51mm (2-inch) 320x240-pixel LCD screen.

The astute critic will have noticed two problems with those specs. Firstly, there's no support for WAV-format music. And secondly, 12 hours of battery life is frankly underwhelming -- the tiny iPod shuffle matches this battery performance, so we feel the Lplayer should at least hit the 18-20 hour mark.

Still, this is proving to be a sweet player to use. It uses the D-Click interface just like the Clix and iRiver B20, so you'll be physically clicking the screen to navigate menus. The pixel density is awesome, making well-encoded Xvid videos look stunning.

Testing with lossless FLAC-encoded music through Denon AH-D5000 reference headphones, we heard decent sound quality, too. In our initial listening session we've noted a fairly balanced sound, with a warm voice and a full-bodied bass. Expect much more talk about performance in our full review, which you can expect very soon.

Perhaps our main criticism so far -- aside from battery life -- is that navigation can be a little sluggish. Menus are beautifully designed, but they're a tad on the slow side, and the navigational buttons need to be pushed a little harder than we'd like.

But overall we're fond of the Lplayer and, best of all, the 8GB model is only £99. If you're interested, head over to Advanced MP3 Players and snag yourself one right now, but expect our full written and video reviews very soon.

Click through for a Jennifer Lopez-sized arse-load of photos. With the Lplayer, that is. -Nate Lanxon

Update: Read our full iRiver Lplayer review

The Lplayer is cute. Not Mena-Suvari-in-school-uniform cute, but very, very close.

The menus are well designed, with a very professional look and feel.

Although it's a little hard to tell in a photograph, the screen quality is one of the most impressing features of the Lplayer -- it's a superbly crisp display.

Around one side of the Lplayer is a standard mini USB input, along with a 3.5mm headphone socket.

And around the other side is... sod all. Lovely stuff.

A physical hold switch resides on the back of the player.

Next to the Creative Zen, the Lplayer is noticeably smaller.

There's really no competition here if you're after a cute, compact MP3 player, is there?