iRiver SlimX 350 Review

The iRiver SlimX is a fantastic MP3 CD player at an unbelievable price.
The iRiver SlimX is a fantastic MP3 CD player at an unbelievable price.
The iRiver SlimX is a fantastic MP3 CD player at an unbelievable price.

Highs

  • Firware upgradeable

Lows

  • Scratches can cause the SlimX to lock-up

DT Editors' Rating

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Summary

The iRiver SlimX is a fantastic MP3 CD player at an unbelievable price. With firmware upgrades you can rest assured this MP3/CD player will not be out dated anytime soon. You get all of the features of a hard drive MP3 player, but with CD functionality and at half the price. How can you go wrong? Pick yours up now.

Today, you have 2 options when it comes to purchasing an MP3 CD player: buy an expensive portable MP3 CD player with a few features, or buy a cheap one with almost none. Where’s the middle ground? Right here. The iRiver SlimX has a great price and complete feature list. But how do those features stack up in real world use? Find out in our latest review.

The biggest feature, and by far my favorite, comes across in the SlimX name it’s less than 2/3rds of an inch thick (16.7mm). It fits so nicely in a cargo pants pocket; you can hardly tell it’s there. With the small size of this device, I was surprised to find out that it has 2 rechargable NiMH batteries inside of it. The remote provides all the utilities you’d need to keep the batteries healthy. The built in batteries alone will power the CD player for roughly 10 hours. Throw in the included AA battery connector, and you can use it for 12 more hours. The included carrying case is convenient, but not overbearing. It has an internal pocket for the AA battery connector, and leaves the rest of the bag open for anything you want. Speaking of accessories, the included earbud headphones look cool and sound good. And if you get tired of your music collection, the built in FM radio tuner gets very good reception. The SlimX is solidly built out of high-quality plastic and metal, and showed no signs of wear even after my rigorous testing.

The basic controls (play/pause, stop, skip forward/backward, and volume) are on the side. The device does not have a screen. But fear not. The SlimX has a remote with backlit screen and high DPI resolution. Using the remote, one can access the configuration menu for the device, EQ, volume, presets, radio tuning, modes, programming, memory, play/pause, skip and stop. The remote also does a very good job of displaying file information. I never once saw “unknown artist” or “no information”. When playing burned standard audio CDs, it will display the song information (provided the data was included when the disc was created). Headphones can either connect via the remote, or directly into the player unit.

The SlimX features an 8 minute anti-skip buffer when listening to an MP3 CD. I couldn’t get it to skip even when I tried. With normal CDs, you can select either 120 second or 45 second anti-skip, with 45 second having slightly better audio quality.

The SlimX supports Audio CDs, and CD-R/CD-RW containing MP3, WMA, ASF file formats. It is firmware upgradable, meaning it can support future formats, including OGG and MP3 Pro. Firmware upgrading is a straight forward process. First make sure to turn on Joliet support, since the filename of the firmware upgrade file contains a character displayed correctly only under Joliet. If Joliet is not active you will get a no disc error. Then simply burn the firmware upgrade file onto a CD, put it in the SlimX. The device does the rest, about as simple as it gets.

The only issue I had with the SlimX was how it handled scratched CDs. On a standard audio CD, a minor scratch can cause it to completely freeze until it receives user intervention. It handled scratched MP3 CDs better, but a major scratch will still cause it to skip to the next song.

The iRiver SlimX is a fantastic MP3 CD player at an unbelievable price. With firmware upgrades you can rest assured this MP3/CD player will not be out dated anytime soon. You get all of the features of a hard drive MP3 player, but with CD functionality and at half the price. How can you go wrong? Pick yours up now.

The iRiver SlimX is available now for $149.