Review: iriver Mplayer portable speaker
The iriver Mplayer, better known as the Mickey Mouse MP3 player, recently made a new friend.
It’s called the iriver Mplayer portable speaker, a precious 1.1-watt speaker that can connect to practically anything and isn’t yet available in the US. Not without the help of friendly importers like Warehouse123, anyway.
Read my full review and check out a smattering of pictures below.
Unlike the Mplayer itself, the Mplayer portable speaker is packaged in a clear plastic box.
A Walt Disney Korea hologram affixed to the bottom of the box puts to rest any questions about iriver’s affiliation with Disney. The speaker’s design and the Disney logos emblazoned both on the box and the unit should be more proof than anyone needs, I know, but what I learned from a past run-in with someone who questioned Disney’s involvement is that overdoing something isn’t always a waste of time.
Nestled inside the main container are the speaker (protected in hard plastic) and a smaller box labeled "accessory & manual."
Little is left to the imagination with a label like that!
Included with the speaker, then, are an 8.7-inch audio cable, warranty booklet, and user manual.
If you read my iriver Mplayer review (or just looked at the pictures), you’ll notice that the glossy plastic Mplayer speaker (1.7" x 1.6" x 1.2") looks exactly like it.
The fact that the unit is a three-dimensional Mickey Mouse head is an obvious statement, but it’s pretty silly to describe the speaker’s appearance without mentioning its inspiration.
As indicated by the official e-store in Korea, the 0.6-ounce head is currently available only in pink. However, considering that the second-gen Mplayer (known as Season 2) comes in 10 different colors and "Mplayer SPEAKER_PINK" is printed on the UPC sticker on the bottom of the speaker box, it’s reasonable to assume that additional colors are on their way.
At the bottom of the speaker is a mini USB port. A USB cable is not included (as shown under "Contents" above), but it’s required to charge the internal li-ion battery.
An LED indicator that glows red while the battery is charging and green when it’s charged is located on the right side of the speaker.
A standard 3.5mm audio jack sits above lanyard holes at the top.
Just as the Mplayer itself is not equipped with a speaker, the Mplayer portable speaker is not equipped with a player. In other words, it does not have any internal memory to store music; it is just a 1.1-watt speaker.
That’s why iriver includes the 8.7-inch audio cable. One end plugs into the top of the Mplayer speaker, while the other can plug into just about anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The speaker can be connected to the Mplayer.
And the iriver S10 and Creative Zen Stone Plus.
It’s also a fine fit for the 3G iPod nano.
Or the Creative ZEN and Samsung P2. You get the point.
As shown in the "Design" section above, there is no power button or volume rocker on the Mplayer speaker. Without going into technical details (which I don’t know, anyway!), the speakers work like this: plug in an audio source to turn it on, unplug an audio source to turn it off.
The source’s volume controls are used to manage the speaker’s volume.
Unlike the 1-watt speaker built into the iriver clix 2 cradle, this 1.1-watt speaker actually produces somewhat decent sound. It isn’t rich, full, or booming (of course), but it’s definitely adequate for personal use in quiet situations or when a better solution isn’t available.
Whenever and wherever you would typically listen to music using, say, your cell phone’s built-in speaker would be an equally fine time to use the Mplayer portable speaker. That’s about the kind of sound quality we’re dealing with here. Digital media players with integrated speakers like the iriver X20, Samsung S5, and most Archos devices sound better to my ears, but yours may disagree.
Hidden inside the Mplayer speaker is a non-removable li-ion battery that charges via USB.
The speaker receives a full charge in under 2 hours (1:40 according to iriver) and can run for up to 5 hours on a single charge.
The Mplayer speaker is a unique, novel, and affordable DAP accessory that certain non-audiophile demographics will find irresistible. It’s cute and small, its built-in battery provides a respectable amount of use time, and the sound quality is better than what most will expect from 1.1 watts.
Even though a better device would be one that combines the speakers with the actual player (Mplayer Season 3, anyone?), this speaker will still find its way to many homes.
The iriver Mplayer portable speaker is available from Warehouse123 for $25.