irock! 730i Digital Audio Player

irock! 730iOnce the driver’s installed you’re done. All you need to do is launch iTunes plug the irock 730i player into a USB port and then turn it on. The player shows up in iTunes’ Source List. To add music simply drag the tracks you want from one of your playlists or from your library. Deleting songs is just as easy.

By itself the 730i can hold 128MB and there is a slot for adding a SmartMedia card to increase memory size up to another 256MB. It took only about three minutes to transfer 17 songs (48 minutes or 56.1MB).

To test sound quality I loaded two albums from Jesus and Mary Chain, the raw “Psycocandy” and the polished “Stoned and Dethroned.” Playback of both albums was clear and crisp.

Although the battery power source is a drawback, the good news is that you get a full 8 hours of playback with a single AAA. The player itself is compact and light, but I got the impression that the gray plastic housing was not very sturdy. A good drop onto a hard surface would most likely shatter the device or at least render it useless.

Overall I was impressed with the ease of use and playback quality. There are several other neat features such as an equalizer with five presets (Rock, Flat, Classic, Hip Hop and Pop) and a built in microphone for up to 35 hours of voice recording. There is also a feature called MP3i available for the PC platform that allows you to load lyrics, text and images in sync with your songs. It’s kind of a neat feature, but utterly useless once the novelty wears off. The MP3i Creator Software for Windows is included on the accompanying CD.

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