Grumbles? Of the 15 albums we loaded onto the Cowon, one simply would not appear in the correct running order – though it was beyond us to fathom in what order the S9 was rendering it, certainly wasn't file size or alphabetical. And the PMP had an annoying habit of switching itself off when we unplugged it from a computer.
The microphone's on the back, above the - ahem - reset button
Currently, the S9 is only available in the UK in 8 and 16GB flavours but hopefully a 32GB version will be along in the not too distant as one is currently listed on Cowon's Korean website.
For those interested, our review device was running firmware version 2.02. Cowon's US site is already hosting version 2.05 but as the updates seemed rather peripheral, and as our S9 worked just fine, we didn't install the update.
A final mention in dispatches for the excellent user guide, Cowon resisting the now all too common temptation to include only a half-baked “quick start guide” and making its customers print off a PDF file of the full manual.
Should you buy an S9 instead of an iPod Touch? If you want to play AVI, Flac or Ogg files then clearly the answer's yes. If you want to browse the web and play H.264 videos then no, the Touch is what you need. Still, despite the slightly smaller screen and lower resolution, the S9 is the better video player and it pumps out audio of an equally high quality. Unless you are irrecoverably wedded to all things iPod and iTunes and want the Touch's games and Wi-Fi, the S9 is certainly worth a good long look. ®
Thanks to Advanced MP3 Players for lending us the S9.
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Cowon iAudio S9 PMP
No gapless = insta-fail
The lack of gapless is a deal breaker for someone who listens to dj mix compilations a lot.
Also lack of Wi-Fi. If you are aiming at iPod's you need to aim a LOT higher.
> we were left wondering why Apple alone seem to understand the value of gapless playback
well originally Apple didn't understand gapless but Sony *did*. The original ATRAC "network walkmans" (like my HD3) certainly did but original iPod's didn't - that's one of the reasons why I discarded iPod as an option.
Sadly, in the new "MP3" incarnations Sony appear to have dropped gapless + ATRAC is no more. So when/if I come to replace the HD3 looks like Sony may be much less attractive and iTouch is a option again (after all,. as I'm going to have to rerip all my CDs then there's no benefit of sticking with Sony)
I'll be getting one. My D2 is getting a tad tired, so yay for upgrade time. Only drawback is no SDHC slot, so I'll wait for the 32GB.
If I wanted wifi and email on a device, I'd get a PDA or a smartphone. This is a music player, not a communications device. If you're into device convergence, great, get the iPhone or a Sony Ericsson Walkman jobbie.
While I've had my niggles with Cowon firmware as well - yes, OGG playback in order is somewhat annoying - at least they do regular firmware releases. I do hope the release firmware on this one is decent. I don't use playlists - I use folders - but you can create them using a PC media manager when the device is in MTP mode.
The comparison with Honda Legends and BMWs is just ridiculous. The Cowon devices are capable of so much more than iPods, and have much better sound. Now they've solved the "sexiness" quotient, I think we do have an iPod-beater on our hands.
Final note, the device works great with all the major OSes. I use Linux mainly at home; it's all good with Amarok and the usual media players.
Don't get it
"The crucial difference is that the Touch is part of a large and growing infrastructure that extends its usefulness in ways the Cowon could never do. WiFi (how did Cowon leave that out? Like the BB Storm...), email, web browsing, the App Store (including turning your Touch into a remote media controller), games, calendar, contacts, etc., etc., etc."
Funny, I remember doing all that with my Dell Axim back in '04. And I could even take the battery out of it.
I don't get the whole fanbase thing. What, because Apple says PDA functions are now "cool" suddenly they're a must have on all PMPs? If you want a PDA, why not just buy a real one instead of Apple's crappy iMitation? An iPaq 111 is 299USD + the cost of your favorite size SDHC card. Not that bad compared to the Touch, particularly when you consider all the freeware programs for WM (MiniMo, PuTTY, KoboDL, etc.), the storage expansion, the better format support, the faster processor, and the replaceable battery.
Looks nice. But why buy a Honda Legend when you could get a BMW 5 series for a little bit more?