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Cowon X7 review

Kat Orphanides
7 Mar 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
239
inc VAT

The X7 isn't as pretty or as glossy as some of its rivals, but if you want a big, good-quality screen, great sound and an unfeasibly massive battery life, this is the media player for you.

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When it was announced last year, Cowon's X7 touchscreen media player was set to be an Android device, with all the advantages and support associated with Google's mobile operating system. Unfortunately, the promise of Android never materialised, and the X7 has been released with its own user interface, with a few basic widgets that let you take notes, record sound and run Flash games.

Cowon X7 white

At over 200g, the X7 would certainly be our first choice if we wanted a media player to double as a bludgeon. It's definitely not going to fit comfortably in your jeans pocket and would be a strain on the lining of your jacket. However, the X7's large size also means that it has a massive battery, which lasted over 83 hours in our audio playback test - the longest we've ever seen. There's also space for a 4.3in display, big enough to watch films without having to squint, while a 120GB hard disk means you can lug around all the music and movies you could ever want. There's even a built-in speaker and composite video output.

Audio support is excellent - all our non-DRM audio files played perfectly, from standard MP3 and AAC files to more uncommon formats like Audible audiobooks and lossless FLAC. Video support is a bit more finicky - the player can't handle H.264 codecs, so you're limited to WMV and XVID. It can't do HD video, either. Fortunately, Cowon's JetAudio Media Center software can handle conversion for you. Once you've got your video into the right format, quality is outstanding. The large screen is brilliantly bright and easy to view under any light conditions and at almost any angle.

We were also very impressed by the player's audio quality. The X7 outputs perfectly clear, accurate sound, even at the highest volumes our ears could take. Its default Normal EQ mode is a flat reproduction of the original audio file, but there are plenty of other modes, including several enhanced bass settings that add depth if your headphones are a bit weedy in that department. The supplied earbuds are uncomfortable to wear for long periods, but their sound quality is fairly good.

Cowon X7 black

Despite its obvious qualities, there are several things we don't like about the X7. Some of the touchscreen icons and buttons are inconveniently small and we couldn't find any Flash games that actually worked. You also can't use the player when it's connected to your PC. A proprietary connector means that, even though you can mount the X7 as a standard USB storage device, you'll need to carry its own special USB lead to do so.

None of these are great drawbacks, though. The X7 is expensive and there are a few improvements we’d make, but if you want to be able to travel with enough media to keep you entertained throughout your trip and the battery life to shun power sockets, it’s the best tool for the job.

Details

Price£239
Rating****
Headphone Rating***

Hardware

Capacity120.00GB
Formatted capacity113MB
InterfaceUSB
Storage medium1.8in hard disk
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB, DC input (no charger provided)
Size77x15x127mm
Weight212g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size4.3 in
Native resolution480x272
Memory card supportnone
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone, radio, line-in
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)7h 49m
Tested battery life (Video playback)83h 6m
500MB transfer time13s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackYes
Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
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 supportYes
Download compatibilitynone

Buying Information

Price per MB0.2p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk
Detailswww.cowonglobal.com

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