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Cowon iAudio X7

Cowon iAudio X7 hard drive PMP

Media player, meet external HDD

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Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

In control

Unlike some Cowon PMPs, the X7 supports ID3 and Vorbis Comment tagging so you are not stuck with a simple folder view, though this is an option.

Cowon iAudio X7

Video controls are comprehensive

Look in the menu and you will find a heading for playlists but if you can work out how to sync an MTP playlist to the X7 you are a better man than I. On a happier note, the X7 will handle DRM-protected video files, so BBC iPlayer downloads can be watched on the move.

Incidentally, this review was conducted using the latest firmware, 2.06, which apparently improves gapless playback. Albums ripped sans gaps using winLAME certainly played back well enough though iTunes gapless albums weren't recognized as such.

Cowon's JetEffect 3.0/BBE+ sound modification suite continues to impress me but now with 35 pre-defined and four user presets the system is in danger of overkill. It's like getting into a car and finding a 12-speed gearbox - too much choice!

Cowon iAudio X7

Zune inspiration revealed?

That said, ten minutes with the user-definables left me with one profile perfectly suited to rock and one to classical, and that's really all I need. The several earphone-optimised sound profiles will keep most people happy. JetEffect also works with, and can be accessed directly from, the video playback screen, which is handy.

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