Being a Cowon PMP, you would expect the O2 to support pretty much every format, codec and container under the sun. You won't be disappointed: the list of supported audio codecs includes MP3, Flac, Ogg, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, True Audio, Monkey, MusePack, WavePack, G.726 and PCM.
Also available in black...
On the video side of the street, you get support for DivX and Xvid; WMV 7, 8 and 9; H.264; MPEG 4; and Motion JPEG. The O2 supports AVI, Matroska, OGM, MP4 and ASF containers. Heading off the edge of the map, the O2 will also play DAT and MTV files. Finally, you can also view JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF, BMP and RAW images. It also works just fine with SubRip -.SRT – subtitle files.
While file support for non-DRM content may be fine, we couldn't synch any of the test files we downloaded from BBC's iPlayer, suggesting the the O2 and PlaysForSure DRM are not on speaking terms.
The O2's screen, while certainly big enough is frankly a bit lacking in the old resolution stakes. While the A3 boasts a whopping 800 x 480 resolution, the O2 makes do with 480 x 272. If you want to get technical then the A3 has a dot density of 236 pixels per inch, while the O2 makes do with 130ppi. And things don't improve when you compare the O2 to the iPod Touch – 163ppi - or its Cowon stablemate, the S9 - 166ppi.
Thankfully, the O2's screen looks better than the bare numbers suggest. Yes it lacks the absolute pin-point clarity and absorbing definition of the A3 and Archos 5, or the trick AMOLED screen on the S9, but it's still a perfectly decent device for watching full-length feature films. The screen size ensures that even 2.4:1 aspect-ratio movies don't give you 'PMP-squint'.
It also has a full 16m-colour palette which pays dividends when it comes to matters of shade and tone and goes some way towards making up for the lacklustre resolution.
and... er... pink
As usual with Cowon video players, the O2 proved capable of playing files of a much higher resolution than its screen's native size - the best we managed was a 24f/s 720p AVI file.
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.