Electronic dictionary: iRiver D180 (8GB)

This may not be a “book” but it is a dictionary, so I put this review in this category anyway 🙂

Quick Q&A
Where did you buy your dictionary?

How long did it take for it to arrive?
20 days. It somehow stranded in Turkey so the sellers contacted the local carriers and asked them to prioritise the transit time for this particular package. After that it arrived in just a few days.

What did it cost?
204,000 원 excl. shipping
217,710 원 incl. shipping

First impressions
1. “that is a seriously big box! Oh, it is for me… What’s that rumbling around inside? What if my dictionary is damaged? Ah, it’s a smaller box”. Inside the smaller box was the actual box with the dictionary, sealed and well protected.
2. “Pepple grey” = white-ish. Not that I mind. It looks quite nice and it corresponded to the pictures online.
3. “Uuuuh, I thought I didn’t order the additional earphones?” They just came along with the dictionary.

Getting started
It’s charging… What does that message mean? Hmm… There is just one arrow to press. Oh great, now there are two. Three! This thing is messing with me!… Ah! Date and time, that I can handle.
And we’re good to go 🙂
I’ve afterwards been told that the arrows are there for you to press so that the dictionary can check that your touch screen is working correctly when starting up.

-4 character hanja-Korean
-and probably a few more that I have forgotten

And a few other features:
PDF reader
“White board”: if you were a child in the early to mid ’90s you probably know the boards you could ‘draw’ on with a plastic pen and when you shook the board afterwards the drawing would get erased. That’s the feel you get with this function. Accuracy isn’t first priority.
Widgets, e.g. a countdown function (fondly known as D-day)
A bunch of others that I still haven’t familiarised myself with.

Cool features
Touch screen: allows you to press on/mark a word or hanja character to cross-reference from other dictionaries.

Cross-referencing: when you mark a word and press enter, a little window opens on top of your original search. In this window you can look up your word in one of the other dictionaries than the one you initially used. You can simply choose to see the search word in Japanese or German if that makes more sense for you – just by clicking up and down with your arrow keys to see the different options.

Saving words: if you come across a word and you think “this one I really need to remember” you can just press the key 등록. Then it’s saved! If you then press the same key from the home screen you enter “your own” dictionary with all the words you have accumulated. They are even automatically sorted into categories according to whether they have been saved from a Korean-other language dictionary, Korean explained through hanja and what not.

Handwriting recognition: it is possible to use the little pen that comes along with the dictionary to write a word and then it will use a recognition tool to look up the word you write. I personally find it easier to use the regular typing approach, but I guess it could be really useful if you know how to write hanja.

Initial frustrations
Why doesn’t my shift key work?! On the electronic dictionaries you need to press the shift key and the other key at the same time to get e.g. ㅉ. It’s not like on the iPad where just pressing shift will activate it. Oh my poor nerves until I found out.

Let there be light! After the first start up, the screen was set to be lit only for a few seconds after you stop typing/touching the screen. That’s not quite long enough if you hope to write down what you just looked up. That can be altered, though 🙂

The odd concerns before buying
A lot of people feel almost religious about the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. And it’s a good dictionary, I have to agree with that. I “grew up with” the OALD in school and if I’m in doubt of spelling or alternative meanings of a word, that’s the first place I look. So seeing that for this model the English dictionaries were not Oxford but Collins made me think whether I should go specifically for one with Oxford instead.
What changed my mind is that the Korean-English/English-Korean dictionaries are NOT provided by neither Oxford nor Collins regardless of the model you choose. It’s only for the Eng-Eng dictionary, the thesaurus, idioms and the like that you get the Oxford or Collins versions. I also thought that I have the pocket version of the Collins Korean dictionary, that I have liked so far, and that I will use the Korean features a lot more than the English-English dictionary since it’s Korean that I’m trying to learn.

Suggestions for future improvement
-Backlit keyboard, my computer has it and I love it
-Including the possibility to have the Korean words read out loud to hear the correct pronunciation as is currently possible with non-Korean words.

Other brands?
I know that some people who study Japanse also like the dictionaries made by Casio, but my language partner also has an iRiver, and her major is Japanese so that shouldn’t deter you.

Added later:
I can see in my search results that some people have had problems changing the settings on their iRiver so here is my quick intro:
On the top row, fourth key from the right, you find ‘설정’. This is for settings.
In the menu a lot of the words are English loanwords, so they will help you to the right entry. Since I cannot see what you have wanted to change specifically I cannot give you a guide to everything. But one of the things that annoyed me in the beginning was how quickly it turned off when I was looking up a word:

For screen settings there is a Korean word: enter 화면 설정.
화면꺼짐 대기시간 ~ how long will the dictionary stay turned on if you don’t use it/how quickly will the light fade. Use the buttons to adjust the time.

Do you have questions? Post a comment below and I will try to help you 🙂


9 thoughts on “Electronic dictionary: iRiver D180 (8GB)

  1. FallenSiren

    Hi, I had a question about this. Does the manual include an english version? And can the dictionary’s language be changed to English? Or is it only available in Korean? I just started learning Korean and would like to get one of these. But I didn’t want to get it if I don’t even know what button does what.

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hello 🙂
      There is no manual, but as far as I remember there was a “picture” of the dictionary with lines indicating the functions of buttons in English. I would have to double check my drawers to find it if I still have it.
      The base language is Korean, but can be changed to Japanese or Chinese, which can be a little unsettling in the beginning. I was afraid of pressing something and changing a setting by mistake or even worse delete something. I was very grateful to my language partner for taking the time to help me explain what the various functions mean. If you know a Korean who can help you with what to avoid in the settings that would probably be a good idea.
      However, it really is quite easy to use. Especially since you are likely to need only some functions on a daily basis. These are the functions I use the most:

      Button 1: 영한/한영. Press it once and you enter the Eng/Kor, press it again and you get Kor/Eng

      Button 2: 국어/옥편. Press once for Kor/Kor dictionary, press again to up hanja through 한글 sound. You will not need this at the very beginner level anyway, but it’s good to know it exists.

      Button 3: 등록. Save a word to your wordbank

      Button 4: 암기장 (also marked with “history” written in English). Press this to enter your wordbank.

      Button 5: MP3

      The keyboard will adjust automatically to whether you need to write in Korean or English. When you enter the Kor/Eng dictionary the keyboard automatically sets itself to Korean, and to English if you enter the Eng/Kor dictionary.

  2. Jiji


    Thanks for your blog!
    I have started learning korean and I’m interested in buying this IRiver dictionnary.
    Somehow, I saw on Gmarket website that wordwild shipping is unavalaible. How did you get yours?


    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hello 🙂
      I’m happy you find it useful 🙂
      That’s odd… One of my friends helped me order through her gmarket account and there was no problem. We just typed in my address as the delivery address.

  3. cathy

    hi there. . I cannot open my iriver d100 coz of unlock code and I forgot the password. . what can I do about it?. . hope u can help me. . I really feel bad about it. . I’ll wait ur reply regarding this at my email add >february_eleven@yahoo.com< thank u. . god bless

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Ooh I have no clue. I tried to open one through an iriver page, but my Norton went nuts and urged me to close the website. BUT according to google there are some tutorials on youtube that might be helpful 🙂


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