The home page presents three rows of icons giving access to media, utilities and set-up. Only the latter has more than the five icons the screen can present at a time but you can scroll left or right to access the ones not on show. At the bottom of the screen sits a status bar telling you the time, volume and battery status.
Nice but not very novel UI
The screen reacts promptly to finger taps – though a strange plastic stylus-cum-stand is also included - and all the icons you come across are self-explanatory. Indeed, we suspect many users will never need to refer to the user guide, so simple is the O2 to use. Opening a file is just matter of tapping its name.
Detailed system or media navigation is achieved by tapping the icons on the relevant context-specific menu bar that appears at the bottom of every screen. The bar always includes a button to take you directly back to the main home page and another to access the various media settings such as EQ, screen format, bookmarks and playback speed.
Like the A3, the O2 displays media content by folder so while the spec sheet says it supports ID tags they aren't much use as the O2 simply will not let you view music files by year, genre, artist etc - all you can do is view content by folder as you would using Windows Explorer.
If you want to see your album art on the O2, you'll need to make sure each album folder contains a standalone image file – embedded artwork that showed up without issue on such devices as the Cowon S9 and SanDIsk Sansa Fuze simply refused to appear on the O2.
Cute... but why no support for music ID tags?
And there's no support for MTP media player-created playlists. You can create one “Favourites” list, but that's your lot. While on the subject of what the O2 can't do, as you have probably guessed, gapless playback is not on the menu.
Another Cowon pants-device?
I own a A3 and I know when I've been 'done'.
The so called HD-TV side of things doesn't work right. It's a hardware Codec device so relies on firmware updates to get around the bugs in the hardware.
Pity Cowon dropped the A3 like a hot potato as soon as it realised that it couldn't get around the faults in the Texas Instruments hardware.
It's marketing dept. claimed far too much for this device and the News media believed it could do what they claimed without actually testing it.
Cowon soon dropped DVD support and despite people asking the site for support and news, they refuse to talk to serious journalists who've actually test the device and its claims out.
Its other claim about having user playlists got shot down as it only has one playlist - yes one.
And you can't make your own and import it to the device.
Buying a Korean product that has no English support is always going to be difficult here in the EU. But there is a decent Cowon user support forum online so that helps at least the poor consumer who feel trapped.
Quite how Cowon can think it can get away with bringing out a product that is really a beta and abandon it a few months later is beyond me.
This new device will be just the same. 3 months after its release, the company will finish with it and its customers will be similarly upset.
Why it can't listen to its EU customers is bizarre.
How on earth does this get 80%?
For about a tenner more than the 16Gb model you can get an iPod Touch 16Gb which *does* do playlists, tag support and gapless playback, with a better or equivalent screen, plus the web browser/email/zillions of apps available from the App Store. Sure it's missing support for the more obscure codecs and you need to use iTunes (which I know some people loathe with a vengeance, why I don't know, unless you're on Linux). But for smoother, sleeker, more capable and more versatile I can live with that.
And no I don't have a Touch... I have an iPhone 16Gb, same thing with a phone built in for (in my case) £159. That's £40 less than this turkey. And yes I know I have to pay for the contract, before anyone starts shouting.
Can't wait for the flames telling me that Apple kit is overpriced...
Quite nice, but...
This is 2009, FFS. No ID3 tag support? Album art has to be separate? No excuse: it plays music, therefore it is a music player. The thing is called iAudio, not iVideo, by the way... Even my still-faithfully-going-but-starting-to-fall-apart first generation iPod nano has no trouble with those things, how hard can it be.
Do I hear the frantic scrabbling of greedy corporate lawyers (the same breed of "people" that got us into the present recession) at a certain mobile phone company.....
that's a new one on me. very Karl Barth.