We hereby decree that every new media player should henceforth be equipped with an instant-on feature, like that of iRiver’s Clix. You push the power button and—bam!—the Clix is up and running.
As PC users, we’ve all grown accustomed to electronic devices taking a few seconds to start up—the Sansa e260 (also reviewed here) takes 15 seconds. But we’d never tolerate a home-entertainment system that took so long to do its job; why should media players be any different? Other innovations in the Clix include support for Macromedia Flash games and a built-in alarm clock.
We’re much less enthused with the Clix’s too-clever control mechanism: The user interface is easy enough to understand, but you navigate it by squeezing the four edges of the screen. These incognito buttons lend visual flair to the player’s design, but they also render it nearly impossible to operate with one hand.
The Clix sounds great, and its 2.2-inch color display delivers spectacular image quality even when viewed off axis. The player supports Microsoft’s Plays For Sure music, so it’s compatible with a wide variety of subscription music services, but iRiver recommends you use Microsoft’s clunky Windows Media Player to load music into the player’s 2GB of storage. Use it to upload your meticulously ripped MP3s, and it will first unnecessarily convert them to WMA format. (We recommend using Windows Explorer, instead). iRiver doesn’t provide any video-conversion software, either; you’ll need to download the freeware iRiviter for that.
+ THE RIVER NILE: Innovative instant-on feature; great audio and video performance.
- THE RIVER STYX: Awkward to use with one
hand; no conversion/transfer software.