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iRiver Lplayer 8GB MP3 player

Small and perfectly formed

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Just sticking with the basic EQ settings, 'Rock' for Melissa Etheridge's 1999 album Breakdown and Toni Child's criminally under-rated album début Union and 'Classical' for Gabriele Santini's 1965 Decca recording of Verdi's Don Carlo, the Lplayer proved more than capable player.

The delicate interplay of the vocal and string lines on Child's track Dreamer were clearly defined and spacious, while the anthemic Angels Would Fall from Etheridge's record came across in all it's pumping AOR glory.

iRiver Lplayer 8GB MP3 player

The supplied earphones are best discarded

Slight moments of absolute silence between some arias aside, the Lplayer handled Verdi's masterpiece with equal aplomb, the Classical EQ setting bringing the strings and vocals nicely to the fore.

Though smaller than the screen on the E100, the Lplayer's is an altogether superior bit of kit. Playing the exact same 15f/s AVI file of Pixar's The Incredibles and 30f/s AVI of Band of Brothers as we used on the E100, the Lplayer's screen proved to be brighter, clearer, more colourful and had a wider angle of view.

In everyday use, some of the problems encountered on the E100 do unfortunately still crop up here. To start with, the Fast Forward and Rewind speeds have to be pre-selected rather than ramping up the longer the control is held, and iRiver's insistence on separating the Artist and Album views of the music library continues to get on our tits.

What is so difficult about making the navigation tree run Artists-Albums-Songs? Another niggle is the lack of a system to set up playlists of the hoof.

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