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Cowon D2+ DAB review

Verdict:

Cowon's D2+ DAB has some attractive features, but its dire touchscreen, fiddly interface and high price make it one to avoid.

Review Date: 13 Nov 2009

Price when reviewed: £129

Supplier: http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk

Reviewed By: Alan Lu

Our Rating 2 stars out of 5

As its name suggests, Cowon's D2+ DAB has a built-in digital radio, one of the few portable audio players we've seen to have such a feature.

Unfortunately, it crashed frequently when trying to tune into a station, even after we upgraded the firmware to the latest version.

Despite its compact size, the player also has a 2?in touchscreen, and there are also physical volume controls on the top. The touchscreen requires a firm and precise touch. The interface is also badly designed, with small icons and scroll bars that are difficult to press accurately, as well as a confusing menu structure.

The touchscreen isn't suited to watching video either. It's not especially bright and looks a bit grainy. Colours are washed out, too. DivX and XviD videos played back fine as long as they matched the 320x240 resolution of the screen. Other videos can be re-encoded using the included software, which has a confusing interface but also a batch-conversion mode.

The below-average screen quality is all the more disappointing since the battery lasted an astonishing nine-and-a-half hours when playing video, one of the longest times we've seen. It also fared well when playing music, lasting a lengthy 31 hours and 38 minutes.

Music was clear, rich and detailed over a quality pair of earphones. The included set have a surprising amount of bass, but you'll still want to replace them for the best audio quality as background vocals and instruments can sound muffled, while the high end is too bright.

Despite its high price, the D2+ only has 4GB of storage, which compares badly with similarly priced 8GB or 16GB players. An SD card slot means you can add more storage space later, but it's still surprising to be charged so much and get so little.

Cowon's D2+ DAB impressed us with its sound quality and battery life. Unfortunately, it's infuriating to use due to its poorly designed touchscreen and interface, and its DAB radio is too buggy to use. These faults would be easier to forgive at a lower price, but for a 4GB player £129 is just too expensive. Philips' GoGear Muse 16GB is a much better choice.

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