Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Cowon D2+ MP3 player
A touch-screen Cowon MP3 player with a great battery and a smooth interface.
- Good battery life, easily expandable memory, clear sound quality
- No AAC support, few video formats supported, menu scrolling can get tiresome
The Cowon D2+ is a rugged touch-screen MP3 player with a wide range of equaliser settings and features. This MP3 player may not be as refined as its competitors but it is a good performer in terms of sound quality and battery life.
Price$ 319.00 (AUD)
The Cowon D2+ is an update of the earlier Cowon D2 MP3 player that launched in 2007. As such the design of the D2+ is outdated and some specifications aren’t up to par, but the premier 16GB variant of this MP3 player is a solid alternative to the Apple iPod Touch.
The Cowon D2+ is a similar size to players such as the Archos 5 and the iRiver Spinn. A 320x240 pixel, 2.5in touch screen covers most of the 78 (W)x566mm(H) face. Supplementary controls are on one of the MP3 player’s sides.
The player has a chunkier feel than we expected — but this is understandable given it's based on the D2 — measuring 17mm thick. This has the advantage of making the Cowon D2+ MP3 player seem sturdier than the Apple iPod.
The screen of the Cowon D2+ isn’t as good as the iPod’s, with a slightly washed-out look. Brightness is good though and the image is consistently crisp. The user interface is Spartan, but we like its simplicity and familiarity. It is easy to navigate, though scrolling through the song browser can get tedious if you have a large library.
The main selling point of the Cowon D2+ is its sound quality. The bundled ear-buds are competent enough for low-quality MP3s but with a pair of expensive headphones, lossless music files and sound enhancement enabled, the Cowon D2+ really shines.
MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV and APE files are supported, but there is a conspicuous lack of AAC decoding, which might annoy iTunes users. Video playback supports AVI, XviD and WMV — but not DivX.
Sound is crisp and rich, with plenty of bass and treble extension audible. There's a whole raft of enhancements available — Mach3Bass, 3D Surround, MP3 Enhancement and an adjustable five-band equaliser allow you to tailor the Cowon D2+’s sound output to suit your musical tastes.
Video playback is acceptable and 30 frames per second playback is supported. You will need to convert videos to a supported format and make sure they have a 320x240 resolution.
The usual set of extra features is included: FM radio, photo and text viewing and voice recording make an appearance. A notepad, calculator and game player are also offered. What interested us most, though, was the inclusion of an SD/SDHC card slot for expandable memory. This is a great feature as it allows you to add more storage for music, as well letting you view photos or videos off an SD card from a digital camera, for example.
Battery life is rated at an impressive 52 hours for audio and 11 hours for video. However, we managed to achieve a massive 54 hours of continuous audio playback at a moderate listening volume.
The Cowon D2+ may not have the most colourful screen or the slimmest body but it is proof that in the MP3 player world, looks aren’t everything.
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