X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

iRiver T6 review: iRiver T6

The iRiver T6 is a slender, sleek and well-made MP3 player, though it does lack an extensive feature set. For the casual listener or as a backup player, it's perfectly capable, but audiophiles may want to look elsewhere.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
3 min read

7.8

iRiver T6

The Good

Glossy, sleek and very small. FM tuner and voice recording. Easy to use. Great build quality.

The Bad

Average screen. Small feature set.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a slender, sleek and well-made MP3 player, the T6 is a good choice as long as you can forego an extensive feature set. For the casual listener or as a backup player, it's perfectly capable, but audiophiles may want to look elsewhere.

Design

For the inner bumblebee in all of us, iRiver has unveiled its latest small MP3 player, the T6. The front is covered in a glossy piano black finish, and each of the control buttons for playback and volume are gently illuminated by a glowing orange backlight when they are touched. The T6 has just one physical switch at the top left, which handles power and locking the device. The headphone jack and mini USB connector are both located at the bottom.

At the back is a brushed metal finish which is rather snazzy if we do say so ourselves, it's a little extra polish that makes the T6 seem like more of an expensive MP3 player than its AU$99 asking price would indicate. All is not perfect though, as the front fascia soon picks up a plethora of finger grease and smudges.

At just 54 grams the T6 can easily slip into a derrière pocket or sit unobtrusively beside your desk. If we compare the T6 with the 4th gen iPod Nano, the Apple zeitgeist does win on weight and size, managing to shave off just over four grams of extra bulk and works out to be just a smidgen smaller.

Features

Although we're assured that the T6 does come with included headphones and a bunch of other paraphernalia such as an installation CD and instruction manual, our unit came with none — just a lonely mini-USB connector and the player itself wrapped tightly in bubble wrap. So, unfortunately, for the purposes of this review we weren't able to test the headphones that should come included in the retail box. Instead, we tested the unit with a number of other headphones.

Inside, the T6 houses 4GB of storage, and in terms of battery life, iRiver claims 28 hours of playback. File support is somewhat limited with MP3 and WMA only (some third-party sources state OGG is compatible but our unit could not play these files). The rather lowly 1.8-inch screen isn't going to win any awards for brightness, though for most purposes it does the job asked of it. You can view photos on the device, albeit at a relatively low-resolution of 128x160 we'd wager that it's not really worth it. Video playback is not included, though to make up for it somewhat, a useful and responsive FM tuner is included, plus a voice recorder. The tuner had no problem picking up a range of stations and signal strengths, from full strength commercial stations to community broadcasters transmitting on weaker signals.

Performance

Transferring files to the device was relatively straightforward, as the T6 acts like an external hard drive with appropriate folders for music, video and data files. In a rather annoying quirk, if you want to look at pictures as you are listening to music, the T6 stops playback and only resumes once you re-enter the music menu option.

Using the device was fairly intuitive, with the four-way control buttons responding nicely to our touch. Seeing as the front surface is completely smooth with no tactile feedback you will have to look at the player to get to know the controls, which are a little odd at first — to change tracks you use the up and down arrows rather than left and right.

In terms of the all-important playback quality, the T6 was perfectly capable but not particularly impressive, perhaps indicating its asking price. It also had a curious tendency to slightly fade-in to each song as it began, however, this wasn't wholly unwelcomed. Overall, the player tended to favour mid-range frequencies, and anything resembling heavy bass or lower registers didn't come out with the clarity we would expect (note that these tests were based off 320kbps MP3s). The T6 loved treble though, which was great for most pop and folk styles but anything involving a broad range of sound didn’t sound amazing.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a slender, sleek and well-made MP3 player, the T6 is a good choice as long as you can forego an extensive feature set. For the casual listener or as a secondary lightweight player to slip into your pocket, it's perfectly capable, but audiophiles may want to look elsewhere.