Cowon Q5W media player
The killer PMP/internet tablet combo?
Review When we recently looked at the Archos 705 we were less than impressed. Still, we do reckon a decent combined personal media player and internet tablet could work, so here we have Cowon's answer to Archos' Wi-Fi range, the Q5W.
The headline specifications for the Q5 are impressive enough: a 40GB or 60GB hard disk, a 5in screen and support for a wide variety of audio and video files and codecs, all wrapped up in a metal case measuring 139 x 88.5 x 20mm and weighing 380g - including the non-removable battery.
Cowon's Q5W: supports a wide variety of video and audio formats
The Q5 is certainly far more portable than the larger Archos, and just like the Cowon A3 feels well constructed and likely to be able withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous use.
Supported formats include: MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, MPC, ASF, Ogg and Flac audio files and AVI, ASF, WMV, MPG and OGM video files, along with DivX, XviD, MPEG 4 and WMV 7/8/9 video codecs. This means you can drag and drop most audio-visual media straight from your PC, Mac or Linux system onto the Q5 and watch it without having to mess about with reformatting or transcoding.
The value of this convenience is hard to overstate, though the absence of support for H.264 video and some of the more left-field video files such as DVD's .VOB is a little strange when you consider they are supported on the A3. However, if you do come across an unplayable file, the bundled JetAudio Media Centre is a largely foolproof transcoding tool.
No thanks Cowon.
I'll stick with my PSP and multiple memory sticks.
I know the PSP doesn't play formats this beast does, and is lacking in total capacity and screen size, but whats the point hauling that block of resin around when you can slide a nice slim n lite PSP into your trouser pocket + four 8Gb Mem sticks.
The cost of a PSP and four 8Gb memory sticks STILL come to less wonga than this.
Oh Noes, but the PSP has a smaller screen! I think I'll live.
Oh and the PSP has a removable battery.
Needs better software
Sound to me like the problem is the software - it's got most of the hardware it needs, but they've crippled it with a crappy OS and poor drivers for the hardware.
Now if I could get Linux to run on it...
But then, it's also a bit expensive - An EeePC gets a similar screen and a proper keyboard for less money: for the extra cash you could add some USB flash sticks to make up the storage deficiency...
Just how old is the reviewer..?
Knowing Cowon they will address any limitations in future firmware. I had one of their mp3 players and it had regular updates to the firmware, improvements and new features as well as big fixes.