Touchscreen MP4 player takes on Zen Vision and AV500

Just when we thought Archos and Creative had the whole porta video thing wrapped up, the touchscreen i-Station i2 lands on our desk. Come on through to find out why it could warrant a place on your MP4 shopping list

Wallet still smarting from August holidays? i-Station wants to tempt you with a cheap alternative to the Creative Zen Vision and the Archos AV500.

It goes by the memorable monicker of the i2 and is one of the better-looking 20GB touchscreen MP4 players we've seen this summer. Its main selling point over its rivals is, ahem, its selling point: £260.

We also like the idea of a touchscreen interface and the claimed 7 hour video playback, which bests the Vision, AV700 and PSP.

A quick glance at the specs, however, shows where the corners have been snipped. Although it plays all the formats you'd expect - MP3, WMA, AAC, DivX etc - there's no memory card slot, no Plays For Sure support for music store downloads and a mighty low-res 3.5in 320 x 240 screen (the Zen Vision, by comparison, is twice that). Like the Vision, the i2 is incapable of encoding video so you have to load it up via your PC.

Find out more over at Advanced Mp3 Players, which is stocking the i2 now. There's also a 30GB version for £290.