iRiver Clix Second Generation review: iRiver Clix Second Generation

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The Good The next generation Iriver Clix is even sleeker and slimmer than its predecessor, but offers the same unique and intuitive interface and stellar audio quality. This player comes packed with extras such as an FM radio; a voice recorder; an alarm clock; support for subscription content as well as OGG and Audible files; and photo, video, and text viewing. The Clix includes SRS Wow sound effects, it has good battery life, and it's priced competitively.

The Bad There's no cradle or line-in recording options for the new Clix yet, and Iriver doesn't offer an easy way to get video content for the device.

The Bottom Line The Iriver Clix offers the perfect blend of hot design, desirable features, and stellar sound quality. If you're looking for an alternative to the iPod Nano, this device should top the list.

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8.7 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8

Iriver Clix

Truly, Iriver scored a win when it came up with the D-Click interface, arguably the most innovative DAP design move since the iPod scroll wheel. In fact, it was the Clix's excellent user interface--combined with a host of complementing features--that pushed it to be the highest-rated MP3 player on CNET. Now, a second-generation Clix is set to overtake the throne. It's not an outstanding improvement over its predecessor, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Coming in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities at $149.99, $199.99, and $249.99 (respectively), the new Clix is set to give competing flash-memory players a run for the money. It's simply the best flash player on the market in terms of overall quality.

Sleeker and slimmer
It's hard to say whether the design of the 2G Clix is an improvement over the previous iteration, though it's certainly just as good. The new Clix is wider (3.2 inches), shorter (1.8 inches), and thinner (0.5 inch) than the old one, which means it could accommodate a noticeably larger screen. However, for some reason Iriver went with the same 2.2-inch screen--it's a bit disappointing, to be honest. That said, it's a gorgeous AMOLED screen, with lovely color saturation and crisp text in a pleasant font. And you still have the option of setting the background to any photo or going with the daily color schemes, which now have a light hibiscus print. The display is just nice to look at, especially when you're on the playback screen, which shows album art and a plethora of information: album, artist, track, time elapsed and remaining, upcoming track name, star rating, time, and battery level. Also, in keeping with the D-Click interface, which allows you to navigate menus by pressing on the sides of the screen itself, the display offers contextual icons on each screen.

The Clix also features a variety of dedicated keys around its seam. And a seam it is: it looks like you could almost detach the face of the player from the back. This raises some concerns about durability, but it does make the Clix easy to get a grip on. The top edge houses volume buttons, while a power button and programmable hot key sit on the right spine. The requisite hold switch can be found on the bottom. The Clix also features a standard mini USB port and headphone jack. Rather inconveniently, all of the labels for the various buttons and ports are printed on the back of the player, meaning you'll constantly be flipping it over until you commit the functions to memory. Still, there's no denying that the Clix is supremely easy to use and quite easy on the eyes as well.

Loaded with features
You'd be hard pressed to find a feature the Iriver Clix doesn't have. Essentially, all that's missing is wireless connectivity (which is still an alpha function, really) and line-in recording. That's where this player's limitations end, though--the Clix is packed with useful extras. You get a voice recorder and an FM tuner with autoscan and seemingly limitless presets (FM recording is also possible). There's a calendar and an alarm clock, as well as support for Flash games. Our test unit came with several titles already loaded, but keep in mind you can't listen to music while you play these games; they have their own built-in sound. If you need to keep your eyes busy, the Iriver Clix delivers in that area too. You can view text, JPEG photos, or slide shows while listening to music.

Of course, the heart of an MP3 player is its digital music playback, and the Iriver Clix is no slouch in that area. The Clix supports MP3, OGG, and WMA files, including DRM-protected songs purchased from online stores such as Yahoo Music or downloaded as part of an on-the-go subscription service such as Urge and, especially, Rhapsody (more on this below). You can transfer playlists to the device or choose from two on-the-fly options: make your own Quick List or let the player decide based on your song ratings. You can also rate songs on the fly. For music playback, the Clix offers the standard Shuffle and Repeat settings, and you can select from 13 EQ settings (Normal, Classic, Live, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Ubass, Metal, Dance, Party, Club, SRS Wow, and a user-defined mode) and preview them in real time. For those who like audio books, the Clix supports Audible content as well.