In the O2's defence, you could say that being a video player means that remembering which files are put were is less of an issue than it would be on a dedicated music player. Fill a 16GB card with 700MB video files and you only have 20-odd files to scan through to discover what's on the card before you look into the player's on-board memory. Filling a 16GB card with 256Kb/s MP3 files and trying to keep a handle on what's where would be a whole different kettle of fish.
Splendid audio quality
Cowon reckons a full charge is good for 18 hours of audio playback or eight of video. The best we managed was 15.5 and 6.5, respectively, though we could probably have improved on these if we had turned the screen brightness down.
As per usual, we plugged the O2 into Ubuntu and Mac OS X boxes and on both occasions it popped up on the desktop without hesitation, though MTP operation seemed to be restricted to Vista and WMP 11.
The 16GB O2 will set you back £204, the 32GB £243. With 32GB SDHC cards available from around £65 that means you can have a 64GB media player for just a shade over £300.
The fly in that ointment is that you can get a 60GB Archos 5 for around the £250 mark. OK, it's heavier, H.264 codec support costs extra and the battery life isn't as good, but you get Wi-Fi, a web browser and a higher resolution screen into the bargain. Or you could just buy a 60GB A3 for around £235.
The O2 is very much a game of two halves. Format and codec support is superb and it'll play pretty much any resolution video file you throw at it. The sound quality is excellent if a little on the quiet side, it is Biblically straightforward to use, and the ability to expand the storage is not to be sneezed at.
One the other hand, having a screen larger than that of the A3 but of a lower resolution just seems daft, while some will consider the lack of gapless playback, ID3 tag and playlist support to be deal breakers from the outset. ®
Thanks to AdvancedMP3Players for the review sample
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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.