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Cowon D2+ DAB review

Alan Lu
13 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
129
inc VAT

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

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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.

Details

Price£129
Rating**
Headphone Rating***

Hardware

Capacity4.00GB
Formatted capacity3.71GB
InterfaceUSB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionslithium polymer, USB
Size78x17x56mm
Weight86g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size2.5 in
Native resolution320x240
Memory card supportSD card
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone, line-in
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable, stylus

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)31h 38m
Tested battery life (Video playback)9h 29m
500MB transfer time1m 53s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackYes
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackYes
Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackNo
Video WMV playbackYes
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportNo
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportNo
Download compatibilityWMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB3.1p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk
Detailswww.cowonglobal.com

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