One feature absent from the Q5 is the capacity to record line-in audio or video - another thing the 'lesser' A3 can do that the Q5 can't. On the upside, you can pump content out to your TV as either a composite or component RGB signal.
Having a Microsoft motor under the bonnet means the Q5 comes pre-loaded with Windows Messenger and Windows IE. We're not exactly sure what version of Internet Explorer it is, but it looks more than a little primitive and its list of failings is lengthy: it doesn't support tabs, its efforts to size web pages to fit the browser screen are half-baked, the menu buttons are far too small even for stylus use, it doesn't support RSS feeds, and the text in the address bar is much too small to be easily legible.
Trying to access streaming video content didn't bring us much joy either. When we tried to launch BBC iPlayer we were told we had an old type of Flash. Following the link to the Adobe download page we were then told our OS didn't support the latest version of Flash... so no iPlayer. And no YouTube, either - the browser trying and failing to launch videos in Media Player. At least the browser managed to open internet radio station feeds using the media player, a small redeeming feature.
Windows CE Messenger looks like a dated version of the real thing, and while a small forward-facing camera to allow for webcam chat would have been a nice addition, at least you can plug in a headset and make voice calls to other MSN users.
Peripheral functionality on the Q5 includes Bluetooth, but only for connection to stereo headsets, so no being clever and accessing the net via a 3G phone. It also has the capacity to act as a USB host, allowing for the direct transfer of data from cameras and the like. We tried to transfer piccies from Nikon and Fuji cameras, but the Q5 refused to recognize either when they were plugged into its full-sized USB port. Whether this is a systemic failing or just a glitch in the mass storage facility on our test unit remains unclear.
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.