iRiver’s SPINN PMP keeps pulling in the kudos, and our hands-on at IFA 2008 didn’t do anything to make us doubt it. Even a strange leather flip-case that looked like it was held on with medical tape couldn’t disguise a casing that, arguably, is more attractive than that of the iPod touch. It’s the interface, though, which makes the SPINN such a joy, and a lot of that is down to the incredibly tactile scroll wheel.
Couple that one-handed operation with the convenience of a 3.3-inch OLED touchscreen, and you have a PMP that can be used on the move (even in a pocket) or, scrolling with the right hand and tapping with the left, more leisurely when you’re standing still. If sheer storage is your guiding light then the iPod touch will best the SPINN – right now the iRiver’s memory maxes out at 16GB – but look beyond that (or, alternatively, wait until iRiver inevitably upgrade it) and you’ll have certainly a more interesting media player.
iRiver are planning a global launch in September and October, with the SPINN already proving popular in Korea. This could be the first real competition the iPod has, so we’re hoping they’re busy working out the accessory and support ecosystem the SPINN will need to survive.