Cowon iAudio X7 hard drive PMP
Media player, meet external HDD
Extremely long runner
Bundled earphones are as much a Cowon weakness as an Apple one, but using my reference Sennheisers, the X7 beat an iPod Classic convincingly in the sound quality stakes. Played on the X7, 256Kbps MP3 files had altogether more life, detail and composure, and felt generally less confined. Flac files sounded even better, but of course iPods don't play them.
The only hitch here is a slight want of volume. Not an issue in most circumstances, but the X7 is not the ideal media player for use on the Tube unless you cough up for some noise-cancelling earphones.
The X7 also comes with a recordable FM radio, stereo Bluetooth, the capacity to handle JPEG, text and .SWF Flash files, and a microphone for voice recording. Buy the optional cables and you can also send video to your telly or record line-in.
Cowon makes some pretty bold claims for the X7's battery life: 103 hours for audio and ten hours for video. Playing back MP3 and AVI files in a continuous loop I managed 78 hours of audio and 8.5 of video, the latter with the screen at 60 per cent brightness, which is still pretty impressive and much better than the 36/6 quoted by Apple for the iPod Classic or the Touch's 40/7.
Re-charge is via either USB or the bundled 5V mains charger and takes 5.5 and 2.5 hours, respectively.
Though it only supports standard definition video and doesn't really advance the PMP breed at £230 the 120GB version the X7 is still reasonable value. The sound it produces is good, the screen is a pleasure to watch and the battery life is superb. If you have a massive media library, want a big screen and hate iTunes it's a solid enough choice. ®
Thanks to AdvancedMP3Players for the review sample
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