iRiver X20 (4GB) review: iRiver X20 (4GB)

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The Good The iRiver X20 offers good sound quality and pretty much every feature in the book: voice and line-in recording; an FM radio; photo and video support; a user-replaceable battery; a microSD card expansion slot; and dual external speakers. It supports Ogg Vorbis as well as purchased music from WMA stores, and the screen is nice. The player is also very easy to use, and has a fantastic battery life for video.

The Bad The X20 is bulky for a flash player, and the scroll ring is a little too small for comfort. The lack of accelerated scrolling is a hassle for long song and artist lists. No support for music subscription.

The Bottom Line The iRiver X20 MP3 player is a great option for users who value lots of features over an ultracompact design.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8

Asia gets all the cool stuff. Case in point: the iRiver X20, a flash MP3 player with tons of features and great sound quality. Why iRiver decided to keep this lovely device from the Americans is beyond me, but luckily, we've tracked down a site that sells the player in the States. You can pick up the 4GB X20 for $159.99 over at

The iRiver X20 is pretty hefty for a flash player. It measures 3.8 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighs 3.2 ounces--you won't be wearing this thing around your neck. On the plus side, this relative bulk allows for a 2.3-inch screen. I wouldn't watch a movie on it, but it's ample for short video clips and photos. To the right of the screen is a five-way control pad surrounded by an ultrathin mechanical scroll wheel (á la the SanDisk Sansa e200 series). As with the e200 series, the X20's scroll ring lights up blue when activated. It's also on the too-thin side, making it a little hard to use, but it has some raised bumps that help provide traction. Inside the ring is a white control pad (up, down, left, and right) surrounding a play/pause key. A power button resides below the control pad and there's a menu key above it.

The face of the X20 also features a pinhole mic for making voice recordings, and the right side offers a line-in port for that style of recording as well. For line-in, you can choose from low-, medium-, and high-quality settings, and files are saved as MP3; voice recording offers no settings and files are saved as WAV. Alongside the line-in port is a standard headphone jack, followed by a standard mini USB port. The back of the X20 reveals two nifty features--a user-replaceable battery and dual external speakers--and the bottom of the unit offers yet another compelling extra: a microSD card expansion slot for adding more memory.

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