on August 31, 2011
I was surprised to see the 1, 2, and 3 stars on this player because this player isn't bad at all, especially considering the price. The build is excellent. It is kind of like a smaller version of the iPod Classic considering the metal back and a plastic front (for a much cheaper price!). It has everything essential including a micro sd card slot, support for pretty much any file format, gapless playback, superb sound quality, and a bunch of EQ settings (and not to mention the amazing battery life). Anyways I'm sure you've already heard of the tech specs so I'm going to mention the "cons".
So why are people complaining?
For mainly 4 reasons:
1. The User Interface
2. The "scratch magnet" Metal back
3. Weight (a little on the heavy side)
4. The Tactile Touch
I honestly do not have any problems with the things that I listed. The User Interface needs getting used to, but if you use it for 3 days, you would get used to it. Same with the Tactile touch, you just got to use your nails instead of your fingers which makes sense on a small screen. Metal back is not really a problem for me, considering that iPod Touches and iPod Classics uses metal backs too. And weight? I didn't meant to use it in the gym, only for music at home.
So here you go, personally I don't have any problems with the Cons that are mentioned by many people. So if you don't have problems with the list that I mentioned, this player is for you! If you have struggle figuring out the UI, Hates scratches on the metal back, hates tactile touch, or want to use it in a gym, than this is not for you :(.
on August 3, 2011
This little player is excellent for my needs, and likely many others'. After owning a cowon iaudio 7 for many years, this was my recent replacement. You can tell what i needed from the "pros" list; i listed some "cons," mostly to inform potential buyers. none of these has a big impact for my uses.
storage (micro sd)
extended codec support
size and build
nonstandard (outside Korea) usb connection
somewhat awkward UI
composite video out only
nonstandard usb accessory needed for line in
hit and miss radio
no mkv file support (so far)
I am very satisfied with this product.
on March 19, 2013
I have had my C2 for almost 3 weeks now, and I have wanted to say SOMETHING about it, hopefully that is not redundant, but would help prospective buyers. There is no getting around having to touch on SOME things other people have already said, but hopefully I can lend some insight anyway.
Besides this player, I own an iPod (on iphone) - SONY A and S series - Samsung Q1 - Sansa Clip and Sansa Fuze. Like many music and pmp lovers in the know, I have been familiar with the Cowon name for a while. I have also been familiar with their high prices, which have always kept me away. I have no problem buying refurbished or discontinued players, but with Cowon, this does not necessarily translate into great savings. I had been looking for a small touch screen player, and last summer I bought the SONY NWZ A865 - and sold it. Not only was it a bit larger than I wanted, but it did not offer me anything that my tactile-buttoned SONY already gave me. I saw the new small touch screen iPod nanos 6th generation and thought I could bring myself to buy one of those, but.... The fact is, after hearing Sansa, SONY, and Samsung, iPods simply do not measure up in sound quality!
About 2 months ago, I started searching for a small touch screen player again, when I came across the C2. I had never heard of it before - and shockingly - it had everything I was looking for: small size, touchscreen, expandable memory, plays lossless files.. and it is a COWON - at $135, I just drooled over the thing. And then I read all the horror stories about the UI and learned it had a resistive touchscreen. My dilemma was that I did not want to pay for a product - that not only would frustrate me, but would, in the end, sound no different than my Sansa - which a lot of people claim is the case.
So, I did a lot of research: I read all of the reviews, I visited headphone and PMP forums, I asked questions, I watched videos. But mostly, I watched the price here on Amazon drop a $1.00 a day, and decided that when it got under $100, I would take the risk. It got down to $111.00, then started going up again. While JetAudio was steadily raising their price, there was a "Very Good" conditioned one through Warehouse Deals that dropped to $81.00. I could not pass it up, and I am happy that I did not! It arrived quickly, very much new (but the box had been opened) and working.
Don't sleep on Warehouse Deals!
DOs / Don'ts / Pros and Cons/ Final Pro
1. RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING - There is a lot of information out there about this player - even videos on YouTube. Really, if you make an informed purchase, you will have no surprises.
2. Get a case. I ordered a jelly case from Korea because I have heard the back scratches like crazy. For this reason, I do not take mine out nor have I removed the original protective cover. The case was $5.00 on ebay. When I get it, the Cowon will be spending a whole lot more time out with me.
3. Practice practice practice.. put it down.. then come back a few days later .. and practice some more on the UI, if need be. It is not unusable, but it is uncomfortable in the beginning. About week ago, after messing around with this for about an hour, I just put it on the shelf and grabbed my Fuze. Missing the Cowon sound, I picked it up today, and found myself breezing through the UI. Things I thought I could not get just a week ago, came to me naturally today. I still need to learn more, but I feel encouraged today!
4. Consider making great use of playlists and random play - to avoid having to use the UI so much. I have never used either in the past, but I think I will do so in the future for this player.
5. Use good quality headphones with this player. I am a Sennheiser fan - and have used the player with about 5 different models. I have my eyes on the Sennheiser HD 598, which this player should be able to drive. BTW, you do not have to spend a lot of money to get nice clean - natural and neutral sounding headphones. Go on over to head-fi to find out. The Panasonic HTF600s are nice with the C2 - but do require significant burn in time. I paid $18.00 for mine - and love them!
1. CONNECT THIS TO an Apple computer. I just had mine CHARGING through my MacBook and it bricked my player the second week I had it. If you brick yours, Google "Bricked C2, anythingbutipod" and you will find that a user by the name of motti.morell has very detailed instructions on how to recover your player. Luckily, mine was restored using the easiest method on the first try. I downloaded the firmware to my desktop - formatted my player - then copied the firmware back onto the player - It worked like a charm!
1. Props to those people who said the C2 sounds better than the Sasa - sure there are going to be those who claim placebo effect and ask if you have done scientific testing blah blah blah - The only scientific testing I need are my ears - and while I LOVE my Sansa players.. there is something very special about the C2 - there is a richness and fullness present that feels enveloping. I guess I would say it is warmer - This is they type of warmth I get with my SONY A series. The thing is, the SONY player does not play FLAC or have expandable memory - something that really matters to some people.
2. BBE sound enhancements. NONE and I mean NONE of my players are set to any equalization - blasphemous to even consider such a thing. But I did mess around with BBE - and well.. there might just be something here for even the staunchest naturalist. But if not, don't use it. There are some settings that really did make me say, "Wow!"
3. All the the different file formats it plays... you have read about all of that.
4. Size - and weight.... When I took it out of the box, if felt like a cigaret case - or a deck of cards in the box. It is kind of thick, but not as awkward as it looks in pics. It has a very solid feel to it.
5. Expandable memory....
6. And a whole lot of other things that have already been said...
1. The UI feels like it was created by a disgruntled employee, who quit and took all of the necessary codes to undo the mess with her! My goodness... WTF? I had read that the Cowon's UIs are usually hideous, but my goodness. You would think that if they charge all of this money for a player, they could create a very basic and user-friendly UI. Ummm... NOPE. But the UI is not unmanageable... it will take a while to learn for those of us new to Cowon. Oh, and I little booklet that comes in the box, does not give a whole lot of instructions. You will have to figure out a lot on your own. Hit the forums!
2. The wall papers look really cheap, like the ones you would find on unbranded Chinese players. The good thing about some of those players is that they tend to have lots of English-language forum support where people have custom UIs and or tools to teach you how to make your own. I know Samsung had such a site/tools for the R1. It would be nice if Cowon did too. There are sites that have custom UIs for the C2- they are not in English, but still usable, since it is just a matter of downloading a file onto the player and restarting, pretty much. I just have not found a UI/wall paper that I like.
3. Landscape mode only - The player would be a lot easier and feel more natural in the hand in portrait mode
4. Oh, that spinning cover art and those greetings - which really do not bother me. It is nice to get a positive message when I turn my player on, but it would be even nicer to just be greeted by a user-selected photo. And the fact that you cannot turn off the spinning cover art, is an example of why the UI just seems unfinished to me. I mean, how difficult could it have been to encode a "disable" feature for this. Good thing is, once the screen goes off, you do not see it. Not that it bothers me, but I wonder if this feature helps drain the battery.
5. You get very little file information on each song... something that bothers some and is a non-issue for others.
Once again.. there are custom UIs out there, and if you have the skills and the tools, you can make your own. I am hoping to find the tools to do that. If not, I will stick with the original one.
Final Pro -
Look, as someone else said, if you are looking at a Cowon player, you are doing so because you are interested in superb sound quality. In that respect, all of the "cons" might be minor inconveniences more than anything else. I buy my portable players to listen to music only, and the C2 provides a wonderful listening experience. I certainly got a lot for my money, and now I know for certain that I love the Cowon sound, and look forward to buying more of their players in the future, especially ones with complete UIs, if such a thing exists with them.
I was going to give the C2 4 stars just because of the poor UI - but I read that this is standard fare with Cowon. Maybe they do not spend time investing in a better UI experience for customers because even without it, folks pay a premium price for their products. Maybe too, as someone stated on the iaudio forums, this really is just a matter of cultural preference; the UI is perfectly fine for a Korean customer base - where as for Westerners it appears cumbersome. Considering these things, I could not dock the player a star for something that just is not my cup of tea, is a matter of preference, and about which I knew before I even purchased the player.
on April 17, 2012
I got this because I wanted just a music player with great sound.
The android based players that don't do gapless playback was not an option for me.
The audio quality did turn out to be everything it was hyped up to be, and the battery does last well - on a full charge it will go almost a week with a few hours listening per day.
The menu interface is not bad, and after about a day you do get perfectly used to how the little routine works to go finding [...]
It should be said that everything is instantaneous, there is no lag jumping to other folders or songs or menu I've taken this for granted now.
I downloaded a custom playback skin which has all the most frequently used playback features permanently onscreen and it is great.
Charging is needlessly complicated: you have to hold the flap open fairly hard at the same time you press the cable in but I pretty much charge it only over weekends.
As for audio quality, I use in ear monitors, over the ears headphones and an amp/speaker combo and I have no concerns with any set when using this.
This is the only music player I've used that has significantly less hiss than what my tinitus is currently. :-)
It also has no other audio artifacts like the push/pop sound apple's kit makes when an audio stream ends and the amp is switched off.
on September 5, 2011
Im coming from owning a 5.5 video ipod (that broke), as well as an ipod shuffle.
I have been loving my C2 so far. Its not quite able to do everything I hoped it would be able to do, (with ease). I wanted to get away from using Ipod stuff so I can get away from having to use Itunes.
The screen is not super responsive to your touch like my Motorola Atrix is, but you dont need that high fidelity IMO. Video look alright to rather bad colors if you are are watching it off axis. Good enough for video podcasts but your not going watch many videos with other ppl on the small screen so you are not losing much. This player doesnt support a wide array of video profiles but I dont care about that too much.
Side note* I really liked the packaging that very recycling friendly. I wish more manufactures did as good of a job as Cowon did with packaging the C2
I love how the C2 can play OGG and FLAC formats. I have also rather liked using the radio on the C2 much more than I have thought I would have. Originally I thought the recording feature was kind of lame add on but I have been able to record my class and later when studying for the test I was able to hear my teacher with out too much of a problem.
I have not been able to find a good way of setting up playlists or finding a good media management software to using with the C2 that I could recommend at this time. So far I have been just plugging it into Ubuntu linux and windows XP like a USB drive and just copy and pasting what files I want on my C2. You can favorite songs that you like and they are added to a list you can get to later.
It is not as user friendly as I would like but.... I was able to figure it out. (dont hand it to grandma and expect her to figure it out) This thing doesnt much with much as far a documentation of how the UI works. Not that big of deal since I never really look at that stuff when I buy it. Just be ready to play around with it to figure it out.
***Update*** You can listen to podcasts and "bookmark" where you left whatever podcast or song you are listening to. It remembers how far along a podcast/audiobook/song when I was listening to it, but if you listen to a different track I forgets the point you left off in the first track. Later you can look at the list of bookmarks and restart where you left off.
I rather like how I can change the audio settings and turn on and off equalized stuff with this player. Some of them sound rather good to me. Idk how accurate they are to source material though....
Battery life on this device is rather good but I am not getting the 64 hours or whatever they quote on this site. It might be because my music collection is encoded at a rather high bit rate. From what I can tell the battery life is displayed in 25% increments. IE 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. For me that is rather annoying, I would rather see something giving me a better idea of how much power I got left.
I like the environmentally friendly packaging.
FYI- There is a firmware update to the C2. Just google c2 firmware update 1.15
All in all Im happy with the C2 that I bought. I love supporting a company that plays OGG and FLAC music as well not forcing me to use their software for the device. I dont think I left anything out but if you want to ask me anything shoot this review a comment and I will try to get back to you.
I would have given it a 4 stars but it does have the best UI for everyone. For people that want a portable play with great battery life, and you dont want to use itunes - I think this is a great buy (for the price) for you.
****Update***** my first C2 failed and I had to pay to get my C2 sent off to Cowon. Their website should make it a little easier to find help or find into on their manufactures warranty. They sent me a brand new C2 since they agreed that my first c2 was covered on my manufactures warranty. Im happy to get a new C2 but now I am scared I will have the same issue happen to me again when it is out of warranty.
My replaced Cowon C2 internal 16GB of memory is no longer recognizing its internal 16GB of memory and it crashes if I try starting up my C2 without the mini SD Card in it. I guess I could buy a 32GB card to put in it, but this sucks. -Changed my review to 2 Stars. I dont consider something like this failing as acceptable, I really hope its not a hardware issue and it is something that a firmware upgrade could fix.
on September 9, 2011
I purchased the Cowon C2 MP3 player as a replacement for a dead 5th generation iPod. I had been using my iPhone as an alternative, but the iPhone sound quality was poor, and 16Gb just wasn't enough memory.
I was initially attracted to the Cowon device for two reasons. The first: it's internal capacity (16Gb), plus the fact that it could accept a micro-SD card as expansion memory capacity. My music collection runs nearly 16Gb, and I also like to use the device to watch movies, so the additional capacity was necessary. In comparison, an iPod with 32Gb of memory was at least 40% more expensive.
The second reason: the claims of superior sound quality. I've always thought the iPod sounded good, but there's no question that the Cowon is audibly far superior. It has a far better equalization and sound characterization library than competing products, so when you want a solid bass boost, the result is excellent.
There are some other nice attributes to the product, as well. When plugged into my PC, the Cowon presents as a standard mass storage device, with clearly marked folders for each type of media: music, videos, etc. There is no need to use any proprietary program to access the device; as a PC user and sometimes professional programmer, I have always considered the iTunes program to be the worst application ever written for the PC, and the Cowon device eliminates the need to put up with it.
Additionally, the Cowon supports a wider variety of media formats, including FLAC (lossless audio), and especially, .avi files.... I was fed up with having to convert video media to the iPod format.
The product is not without its poor attributes, though. The resistive touchscreen is decidedly inferior to the capacitive system used on iPods, requiring pressure to activate. The touch screen is imprecise, and often results in unintended selections.
The worst problem is the user interface, which is VERY non-intuitive.... it took several hours for me to figure it out. Trying to scan through a list of artists or songs is difficult; scrolling the screen is often mistaken for selecting an item, and only 4 or 5 members of the list can be seen at any one time. Granted, there is a keyboard search feature if you want to find a specific file, but it is cumbersome, and I'd much rather be able to scroll easily.
In general, I'd rather put up with this problem, for the sake of superior sound quality, memory capacity, wider acceptance of differing media formats, than suffer those limitations on the iPod simply for the sake of a superior user interface.
One additional advantage: the built-in FM tuner is remarkably good; I was able to get excellent reception from the Boston NPR station while sailing 12 miles south of Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island.
on March 1, 2013
I'm happy with my new Cowon C2. Read bellow.
I've read a lot of complaints about the interface being "weird" or "unusual" on the web. Well, you have to be wise interpreting these things. People were saying that the interface is difficult to figure out. No one was saying that the design of the interface is bad and no one was specific about what's weird about it. I thought: "it's an mp3 player, how hard can it be to figure it out?" and I was right. It's not difficult to work with at all. Especially if your mp3 player is a personal thing for you (not just something to push a button on and hear music), then you'll love exploring the interface and learning what's where. It's different than most others, but in a good way. Visually it looks great to me. Not flashy or bold at all. The way I like it.
Battery and a little comparison:
This is my third Cowon, I had and loved an iAudio7 for years. iAudio7 had an insane battery (rated at about 60 hrs and worked close to that in practice) which puts every other mp3 player to shame. C2 is rated at 55 hrs, but you won't listen to music without turning on that screen (which is a lot bigger than that of iAudio7) a few times, so you'll get less than 55. I can't give a number yet (I've had it for 2 or 3 weeks), but I can tell you that it's a decent number.
I've had an iAudio9 for a while too. It's a very good device too. C2 is in a slightly different class, because of a bigger screen and more functions. But anyway, strictly comparing the experience of browsing through your folders and listening to your music and working the control buttons, C2 is on par or slightly better than iAudio7 (and I LOVE iAudio7!) C2 is bigger, which can be good or bad (looking at the screen or putting it in your pocket), but provides a more pleasant visual experience. Plus C2 has a touch screen. All of these three devices have to be removed from your pocket to be handled (on C2 you can program some buttons to do play/pause or volume control when screen is locked.)
Let me just add this little comparison too: I tried an "E series walkman mp3 player" from sony for a few days before getting the C2. You don't expect a sony walkman to have major design issues, right? well, with lock activated, it's on button will get pushed in your pocket repeatedly, which makes the device turn it's screen on to tell you that it's off and you need to unlock it first to turn it on. That will consume all your battery charge quickly if you walk around with it. Can you believe it? Everything else was as good as iAudio9 on that walkman. C2 is much better compared to the walkman with the on button (because you have to push and keep the on button for it to react), but it's not flawless, because it does not have a mechanical lock, like iAudio7 had.
Sound quality seems good to me. I don't listen to a lot of flac and wave files though, and my headphones aren't expensive either (I use 30-40 $ earphones). So I'm not your "audiophile" reviewer, but you wouldn't really need me be one either, Apparantly there is a consensus: Cowon products sound very good.
There is a lot of discussion about how unstable or tight the connection is. I read enough of them to get to the answer (thanks to the great people of internet who help you just because they want to.) It's simple and it works:
1- Pull the cover up, not down (towards the screen not the metal back), which gives you enough room to work with.
2- Hold your device in your hand and push the connector in firmly. There are little bumps on the lower side of the connector. Push until those bumps get to the edge of the hole in the device.
The connection will be very stable and firm.
on May 26, 2012
The Pro's definately out way the cons on this product. It is a nice next player in the D2 family.
- This player is $50 less than the J3 and same size as my amp. Battery has to be fairly new, they haven't been out that long. You can even get a 64 gig microsdhc for about $70 now.
- I am surprised that reviews are complaining about size and weight, the D2 was about 1/3 thicker. I actually wish the screen was just a little bigger...
- Yes, the stock UI is bad IMO, but you can download a couple of really nice ones at iaudiophile.net forums. I was able to get rid of the spinning record and mood screens. The secondary theme that comes with the player has the same icons as the new Z2.
- The USB plug takes a while to get used to. Don't be afraid of it when you first get this player. You have to push hard down on the cover and plug to get it all the way in.
- The best part about this player is the sound and BBE+. Honestly, have no idea why anyone would buy this for videos. That is what a TV or portable DVD player/laptop is for.
- I velcroed my C2 to a Fiio E-11 amp and got the gel case to protect it. A nice size for on the go.
- The touchscreen takes a little to get used to. I use the stylus that came with my D2. It works pretty good.
- Would I recommend this product? Yes, much cheaper than the ipod's and tablets. I just wanted a nice music player.
- The only negative I have is that the touchscreen does not wake up unless you press the power button. I liked where on the D2 you could press the screen and it would bring your screen right back up.
on June 1, 2012
I had already filed a return request with amazon.com when I finally figured out how to use this thing. I thought the Menu button was defective because I couldn't see any way to access the menu other than the Menu button, which didn't give me a menu. The only thing I could tap on the screen that would do anything was the arrow key at the top right, and that just cycled between different program sets - and of course I couldn't actually set up any program sets because I couldn't access the menu!
But the buttons do work - Turns out the guy who wrote the "manual" (and I put it in quotes because it's not really a manual) is the defective one.
For anyone else out there, the way to access the menu is to swipe your finger across the screen, dragging the menu up. There is no bar at the side, top or bottom to clue you in that there is anything TO drag. Very counter-intuitive. But it works and I'm happy... now I just have to call UPS and cancel that return request.
on January 27, 2013
This unit was purchased after a laborious search. I wasn't getting an Apple product, as I'm not an iTunes type of guy, and their cost is more than I care to spend for something like this. The 16GB is nice, but I added a 32GB microSD card and can fit my entire music library on it, with a little room to spare. Apparently if you are careful in your formatting, 64GB cards will work in it, but I haven't tried this.
As I mainly use this in my car, I wasn't worried about the cheap head phone reported in product reviews, but they sound decent enough anyway. I was most concerned with the user interface, which was described as difficult to use. Maybe these opinions came from users of other MP3 players, but as this is my first one, it wasn't that big of a deal. Some aspects are not very intuitive, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty simple to use.
The biggest advice I can give is don't be afraid to apply a little pressure to the touch screen, it functions much better if you do. Also in the event you just can't handle the UI, there are at least 2 alternatives available on 3rd party audiophile websites. I've tried 2 of them, mainly as they both allow for more control from the music screen. A bonus for me since again I use this while in a vehicle, and is less distracting to operate. There is also a second available theme on board the unit, that is more utilitarian. Oh, and it sounds AWESOME.