If you're looking for an obese feature set, look no further than the iRiver H340, because it's loaded. The H340 can handle a variety of file formats, including MP3, WMA, OGG and ASF audio files. The UK edition of the iRiver H340 does however differ from the US version of the player, while the US version can play protected WMA files, the UK H340 cannot. By way of consolation, the UK edition support USB OTG which will allow a direct connection between the H340 and various peripherals like digital cameras. The US version goes without this feature.
The H340 is afforded the ability to display video (with a firmware upgrade) and photos on its bright colour screen. Unfortunately, this feature is more of a novelty than a useful tool, thanks to turtle-slow image loading (a 3MB file takes about 10 seconds to load) and lack of critical capabilities such as simultaneous photo and music playback and slide shows. iRiver claims that the H340's internal processor wasn't designed for multitasking as it is with the 5GB H10. At the very least, iRiver should implement an autocompress function, where Window Media Player optimises photos for the H340 much the same way iTunes does for the iPod Photo. If you're in the market for an MP3 player with integrated photo viewing, there are far better choices, including both the aforementioned H10 and the iPod Photo, as well as the new crop of Samsung players.
Still, if you're more audio-inclined, the H340 very rarely disappoints. A nicely implemented FM tuner and recorder (with 30 station presets and autoscanning), top-notch line-in recording with a variety of recording options (for example, MP3 bit rates as high as 320Kbps) and the best built-in microphone that we've experienced for voice recording make the H340 an audio geek's fantasy device. iRiver even throws in an external microphone that works well.
Minor features abound as well, including a text viewer and a decent search function that allows you to find a track within the maximum of 2,000 folders and 9,999 files that the system supports. In playback mode, quickly pressing the centre Navi button opens up the music library, which can be browsed by file, artist, album and genre, in a folder-tree style that iRiver users have become accustomed to.
Overall, the iRiver H340 is one of the best-sounding MP3 players we've tested. Surprisingly, it has a relatively low signal-to-noise ratio of 90dB, but comes armed with a delectable set of preset and user-defined equalisers, as well as impressive SRS Wow effects that take sound to the next level. This certainly beats seven shades out of the iPod and its weak equaliser. It's also a loud player that can sufficiently drive a good set of headphones. As mentioned earlier, line-in and voice recording yield excellent results and, coupled with a decent, colour recording interface (unlike some flash players which have tiny monochrome screens), the H340 is a useful recording tool. The player's FM tuner is also one of the better performers we've heard.
As for the H340's processor, it takes the device a good 20 seconds to start up and photos take a lifetime to load. In addition, the vivid colour screen comes at a cost. That is, to get the 17.2 hours of battery life per charge, we set the H340 to turn off its display after 5 seconds. Users can't passively view the display in this mode (unlike with the iPod Photo), so, for instance, you'll need to hit a button to turn it on, then press another button to increase the volume. If you leave the display turned on, battery life dives faster than a Premiership striker.
The H340 is an ideal device for storing files, thanks to its MTP autosync capability (that is, transfers are optimised when using with Windows Media Player) and its impressive USB 2.0 transfer rate of 9.75MB per second.
Edited by Jasmine France
Additional editing by Nick Hide