Thursday, June 16, 2005

Brief Look: iRiver H10 Cradle

I looked at the iRiver H10 earlier this year. While I was generally impressed by the hardware, the firmware and software provided a less lasting impression. That hasn’t changed by the way, but I thought I’d update the review of the H10 by adding a quick look at the H10 cradle accessory.

The first iRiver cradle I bought was for the H320. And I must say that it was an imposing piece of hardware, despite the fact that it was just a port extender. The heft of it and the solid design that went into it was rather impressive. On cutting out the H10 cradle from the blister pack, I was once again impressed by the standard of build and design for something that is for the most part rather inconsequential and usually an afterthought.

The H10 cradle ships with a standard USB > MiniUSB cable, and a 3.5mm jack to jack connection cable. The H10 cradle packs flat, can be considered 'portable', and the cradling part folds out to allow the H10 to sit on it.

The cradle connects to USB via a standard mini-usb jack. A socket for the power supply provided with the H10 is also present. However the H10 will charge from just USB using the cradle. A second battey slot is also provided, and allows for the charging of a second battery. This functionality is however unavailable when operating off just the USB socket… it needs the iRiver power supply.

The Line Output on the right hand side of the cradle is a fixed-volume affair, so is basically a ‘real line out’ all the time. Casual testing with a Porta Corda 2 portable headphone amplifier revealed that the Line Out performed well, given my slight reservations with the H10's sound.

The Line In socket on the left hand side allows the H10 to be connected to any line-level output. The Sony NW-HD5 below has been switched into Line Out mode, connected to the H10 using the supplied cable and was made to perform an act of copyright violation that Sony would no doubt hang me by the rafters for.

The recording quality is good, but does require careful monitoring of the volume level (which is difficult to set on the fly) not to clip. Top recording quality seems to be 320K MP3 for the Line input.

I said at the start of this Look by saying the iRiver hardware impressed. That continues with the H10 cradle… It’s well designed, properly put together and genuinely useful. Let’s hope the firmware and software guys at iRiver can eventually hold a candle up to what the hardware guys are doing…

4 comments: said...

Anyone know where I can buy a docking cradle for my iRiver H10 6Gb? Please!

Anonymous said...

I don't know but if find out can you let me know

Anonymous said...

these are still available online at:
it's the official iriver online store. looks like they're selling out of a lot of old h10 stuff, it might be a good idea to get on this soon.
-tyler pantella

Alan said...

I am also interested in an H10 cradle if anyone has one please let me know