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I purchased a Cowon D2 about 3 weeks ago after deciding that I wanted a new mp3 player, and I wanted more than can be offered in your average stores. I took the risk of choosing a product that can only be purchased over the internet, and which is made by a company, Cowon, which I had not heard of before. As of now, I am extremely pleased about my taking of this risk. The main competition for the D2 is the iRiver Clix 2, however I chose this player mainly due to its slightly larger screen, at 2.5 inches, and because I found the idea of a touch screen appealing.
Looking at that picture, the first thing you will notice is probably the screen. It is the same size as the screen you will find on an Ipod Video; however at 16 million colours it is a much higher quality. And it really is a very high quality screen. The photo viewing and video playback functions are not just gimmicks, you can enjoy watching a full length movie on the D2. In fact, you can enjoy watching quite a few full length movies without the need to charge. The battery is listed as going for an incredible 52 hours of music playback, or 12 hours of video, and although I havent timed it, the D2 really does seem to last for ever.
Even better than the quality of the screen, is the sound quality of the D2. It sounds better than any music device I have ever used before, far better than the Creative Zen I owned previously. Also, you will find that the volume this mp3 player produces very impressive. Having the volume at 16 out of 60 is easily enough for my ears. You adjust the volume with handy buttons one the top of the mp3 player, where there is also a nice button that takes you back to the menu.
Now, onto using the thing. The touch screen might be something that draws you to the D2, or something that puts you off it. It will of course feel different to mp3 players that you have used before, however very soon navigation feels natural and somewhat fun. When listening to your music, or watching a video for that matter, you may feel the urge to fiddle with the JetEffect settings, of which there are many. To name a few, 3D surround, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance, and they will all change the sound of what you are listening to. The equalizer is also found here, and with the help of the touch screen, not only can you change the volume of the different bands of wavelength, but you can also change the width of the bands. This is a bit too technical for me, and the preset Rock equaliser is enough, however you might find this very useful.
Additional features include an FM radio and a Record function. The radio is of good quality and can be used in a revolutionary way thanks to the touch screen, and you can record the radio itself. Recordings taken are again of high enough quality, and they are also loud and crisp. Something which I have found fun is playing back recordings of myself, but with the Play Speed changed to 50% in Jet Effect, thus making me sound like a troll! This can also be fun when listening to your music, with play speeds ranging from 50 to 150%, although I usually stick to 100%. If you like, the bit rate at which recordings are taken can also be changed. There is a line-in record facility as well, which could prove handy, however I have not used it yet, and a line-in cable needs to be purchased separately.
Another big advantage of this mp3 player is that on their website, Cowon regularly post firmware updates for all their products, including the D2. Since the taking of that picture of the D2, another category has been added to the menu, Utilities. As of now, this only has one sub category, and although it is not entirely necessary, it is a bit of fun. The Notepad will allow you to do little drawings and notes on your D2, something which is of course only available due to it being touch screen. You can change the colour and width of the line that youre drawing, and then save what youve done. This may not be much yet, but try to imagine the possibilities with further updates. I hope that one day Cowon sees the opportunities of having games on the D2, with the touch screen this would be very interesting.
I have not mentioned the SD expandability yet, which is of course a major point. I managed to buy my D2 in a package with a 4gb card thrown in, doubling the memory, and with the latest advances in technology, SDHC cards go up to 8GB, and the latest D2 firmware can read them. With as many SD cards as you want/can afford, and with prices dropping rapidly, this was another major selling point when I chose this mp3 player.
The only main down point is the stylus. It is attached in that hole that you can see in the bottom right of the player, with what can only be described as a slight step up from an elastic band. Not only is this clearly bad for the styling of the D2, but also it makes using the stylus more awkward than it should be. However, this is only a minor point, and I have got used to using it very quickly. If you want, using your fingers to navigate is easy as well, but this leaves your screen more prone to finger prints. Either way, I would recommend an investment in a protective film.
Dont let that last point put you off what is essentially an astounding compact media player. It has pretty much lived up to what I expected, and if youre looking for a small feature packed mp3 player, I dont see any reason not to buy the D2. I have probably missed out something, as there is so much to mention, it really is that good.