Inventing a great new MP3 player interface that doesn't use a clickwheel or multi-touch is probably harder than playing binocular football. But that hasn't put off iriver: first came the D*click system on its Clix series, and now the long-awaited iriver Spinn has landed with a shiny new UI that combines a touchscreen with a nifty toggle wheel.
The Spinn will, like most iriver players, divide opinion, but we're already quite smitten with it. Sitting somewhere between an iPod Nano and iPod Touch, it's available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities, and has a lot going for it on the spec front. There's stereo Bluetooth, support for flash video, a voice recorder and DAB radio, although we've had trouble getting it to pick up stations so far.
It's a little smaller and lighter than we were expecting, and one of the most stylish players to land at Stuff Towers in a while. But it's the interface that'll be the deal-breaker for most. The toggle wheel on the top right hand corner lets you comfortably scroll left and right between menus, and you just press it down to select. This makes the touchscreen virtually redundant in most cases, which is no bad thing as it's a major fingerprint magnet.
The actual screen quality (it's a 3.3in, 480x272 pixel affair) is excellent though, and the extra size over the L PLayer means your eyes will be able to handle watching a half hour episode rather than YouTube snippets. In fact, the only real downsides we've found so far are that the Spinn doesn't have a memory card slot for boosting storage and doesn't seem to have a UMS setting to make it Mac compatible.
We'll be doing a hands-on video and full review soon, but in the meantime check out our Top 10 MP3 players.
Update 8/8/08: Advanced MP3 Players has told us it'll be stocking the 8GB version only and it'll cost £149 from September.