On first blush, you might be tempted to cast off Iriver's Mickey Mouse-shaped Mplayer as pure kitsch--we certainly were. But the Disney-themed music player is surprisingly endearing in person: unique, tiny, and cute as a button.
In the music department, the Iriver Mplayer performs admirably well for such a tiny device. The rated battery life of 9 hours is nothing to write home about, but it's not out of the ordinary for a player of this size.
Each ear acts as a control. At the very basic level, the left ear adjusts volume, while the right toggles through tracks. If you twist both ears out at the same time, you can put the player into shuffle mode and it will randomly play all songs on the device.
It sounds good, too, yet there's no screen, the design is not terribly durable, and at $69.99 for 1GB of built-in flash memory, the Mplayer is priced a bit higher than competitors from Creative and SanDisk.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: The Mplayer is downright adorable. A CNET photographer squealed in a pitch only dogs can hear when she got her hands on it for the customary photo shoot. The device is about the size of a shooter marble, with two 0.6-inch spheres that make up Mickey's "ears."