iRiver Spinn 4GB review

Alan Lu
20 Mar 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


The iRiver Spinn has both a touch screen and a dial control.

The case is reminiscent of a door hinge, with the dial forming half of the bulge on the right-hand side. This is used to scroll through menus, and you can click it to select items. It also allows you to rewind or fast-forward quickly to a specific place in a song or video. The touch screen provides more advanced controls such as the equaliser, although many of the onscreen buttons are small and hard to press accurately. The screen doesn't feel very responsive either, and often requires a firm press.

The Spinn can be used either horizontally or vertically, but as it lacks an orientation sensor like that of the iPod Touch, you have to set this preference manually. Scrolling through long lists in horizontal mode is tedious as the large menu text doesn't make efficient use of the available screen space. Whether you use the Spinn horizontally or vertically, adjusting the volume is awkward because the volume buttons are located on the left-hand edge, directly opposite the dial.

When playing audio, the Spinn's battery lasted for 22 hours and 43 minutes. This is a very respectable score, but we've seen players last almost twice as long. More impressive were its seven hours and 46 minutes of video playback.

We were very taken with the Spinn's audio quality. Music sounded rich, clear and detailed using a quality set of headphones. The included earphones aren't bad but they suffered from pronounced echoes, so you'll want a better set. Bluetooth is built in, so you could use wireless headphones instead.

The Spinn had no trouble playing DivX and WMV videos, which looked sharp and clear on the widescreen display. If your viewing is interrupted, you can resume watching videos from where you left off, which is useful. Despite the large 3.3in screen, watching long movies can be difficult, as the headphone port on the bottom makes it hard to prop the Spinn at a comfortable viewing angle.

Extras include a built-in FM radio, although moving the Spinn even slightly can affect reception dramatically. You can record radio programmes, but you'll need to stay very still.

The Spinn's battery life and audio quality are good, but its poor controls let it down and it's expensive for a 4GB player. Philips' 8GB GoGear SA5285/02 is much better value. It costs half as much, has twice the storage and better battery life.


Headphone Rating***


Formatted capacity3.65GB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLithium Polymer, USB


Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size3.3 in
Native resolution480x272
Memory card supportnone
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)22h 43m
Tested battery life (Video playback)7h 46m
500MB transfer time1m 39s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackYes
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackNo
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackNo
Video WMV playbackYes
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportNo
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportNo
Download compatibilityPlays For Sure subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB4.0p
Warrantyone year RTB

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