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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 36 reviews
on February 15, 2011
UPDATE (06-11-2011): The software-related issues described below in my original review have been greatly improved upon with the recent update to an Android Gingerbread-based firmware version. Speed, for me at least, is no longer an issue on the D3; though there are still some software bugs to work out.

Think of the Cowon D3 as a great multimedia system, not an Android device. After all, if you've owned past Cowon devices, what have you appreciated them for?

As a multimedia player, the sound and the video that come from it are great - that doesn't need repeating as it's expected.

As an Android device, it is okay. Perhaps Cowon made the D3 with Android to feed the open community that always developed custom things for other Cowon devices anyway. The OS helps make the device that much more flexible and gives it more potential for other uses, but out-of-the-box, it's not an impressive Android device. But, I can live with that seeing as my past experience with other multimedia devices left me pretty indifferent about the "apps"; I never used them.

In playing around with the Android OS, it really does seem like the D3's greatest faults are software-related. The unresponsiveness of the music application at times can get frustrating (going to the list menu of tracks, occasional cut-outs, playback delay when scrolling through a song, the tiny gap between songs), but it seems like a good software revision can clean up all of these issues in the music app.

I'm assuming the in-house battery tests had the D3 "always awake" because I've been able to last over two days at work playing a mixture of OGG, MP3, and FLAC files without needing to charge it (turning off wi-fi, keeping the device in standby while listening to music, and pausing it when away from my desk all help). Compared to past Cowon devices, the battery life is shorter, but compared to other Android devices, the battery life is very comparable.

Also in comparing it to other Android devices, you'll also find that the price, while seemingly high for a multimedia player, is pretty fair compared to the $500+ that most Android smartphones average at retail; the D3 is simply missing camera and phone components.

If you're looking for a great multimedia device, don't let the battery woes, which are a bit unfair, and the "sluggish" remarks (this is at the least fixable) turn you away. The device just came out, and like all Cowon early-adopters know, it's a bit of a beta test, but the payback is proving to be worth it.
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on March 26, 2011
This is a niche product. It runs on android. That doesn't mean its usefulness has to be measured by its ability to play fruit ninja. This is NOT a gaming/internet browsing/email reading tiny computer that happens to be more expensive and slower than other tiny android/apple products. This is an audio/video player that is so high-end that it has the processing power to run android and a slew of android apps.

Those apps are not it's main selling point, nor it's main redeeming feature. They are a nifty plus that make you feel better about getting a media player instead of a fancy phone.

UPDATE: Now it does all that app/internet/gaming stuff pretty well too since it got updated to Android 2.3.

The Cowon D3 is about as good as it gets for both sound and video. The audio quality is amazing, loads of formats are supported, and it can be tweaked with BBE settings and an equalizer. The video quality is amazing too. The D3 has a beautiful amoled screen, enough supported codecs to make it very unlikely that you will have to convert a video, and it plays in full HD resolution smoothly. This makes it even less necessary to convert videos, and with a separate cable you can output the awesomeness via HDMI. The built-in internet browser doesn't play flash videos. Instead, those are opened in the JetVD program. Jetvd plays youtube HD video beautifully. I'm really impressed with its quality and ability to play nice with the browser.

The D3 has had several firmware updates, and they make a huge difference. All the professional reviews out there now for the D3 complain of its sluggishness. With the new firmware it isn't sluggish at all. It isn't silky smooth in all things like a true android tablet, but it flows smoothly through audio, video, most non-game apps, and its own interface. This isn't just low standards on my part, I tried the firmware it came with for a while (3.25) and it was painful. Lag galore and it would randomly lock up and need reset. I would have sent it back if firmware 3.31 wasn't already out, 3.31 fixed the lag and lockups (all of them, I haven't had any since upgrading). Plus, 3.33 is out in Korea. It will be on the Cowon english site in a few days, and there is no reason to believe it's the last to come.

The interface is heavily modified by Cowon. It sets the D3 apart and emphasizes the fact that it isn't primarily a tiny tablet. It works as a tiny tablet though, thats what you pay extra for over Cowons last model, J3, which is purely a media player. The D3 runs most apps that are not CPU-intensive. It's terrible with games, just terrible, but I have unit converters, alternative keyboards, app stores, calculators, fring, wifi analyzer, a to-do list widget, and a bubble level that uses the accelerometer installed. They all run flawlessly. Some of the apps were made by Cowon specifically for the D3, like the impressive music player and the snazzy clock on the home page.

This is an opinion that won't be shared by everyone, but I think the D3 looks more sleek and professional than any phone or apple device I've seen. And I find that the unique interface has the same slickness. It also feels pretty sturdy.

In a nutshell, if you are shopping for an android tablet to horse around with, this is a very pricy, sub-optimal choice.(UPDATE: now it's much better for this) You'd be more impressed by a cheaper Archos tablet or a fancy phone. But if you wan't an audio/video player that reeks of quality and can also run handy android apps and surf the internet, this is about the only option that has its priorities lined up in that order.

If you were to buy just about any other android device, you would almost certainly gain processing speed and gaming ability. You would also certainly lose sound quality, video quality, dedicated media buttons, and the unique interface. By far the closest competitor to the D3 (Archos 43) has an inferior touchscreen (resistive, not multitouch), inferior viewing screen (LCD), inferior sound quality, lacks media enhancement tech (BBE and JetVD), Inferior build solidity, a fairly generic android interface, and it looks like a toy with its prominent pasticy rounded ends. But...you can play fruit ninja with it.

UPDATE: The Cowon D3 got an update to Android 2.3 and I am happy to announce that it can now play fruit ninja perfectly. Overall, the D3 is much quicker, and is now a capable internet and horsing-around device. Now there is less of a compromise between multi-tasking fluff and supreme audio/video quality, because the D3 does both.
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on August 1, 2011
I'm a simple guy; give me music or give me death. Well not quite, but music is a very important part of my life. I love this little player. Sounds great, fast UI, great screen, nicely made, plays my FLAC files without interruption or problem. I've had none of the problems that I've seen described in other reviews. To qualify just a bit, when I got the player I immediately upgraded the firmware to the latest version (gingerbread). I've had the Cowon S9 player for about a year and a half prior to the D3, and this is a much nicer player. The battery on the S9 lasts longer, thats about my only criticism so far; battery life on the D3 is ok, not as good as the S9. I had no problem connecting to my Verizon Fios system, no problem finding an Android store that works with the D3 ("slideme") and the time lags for for media scanning are really not that bad. I haven't watched a video, I don't use small players to watch video, I just use this player to play music. I made sure I can get on the internet (no problem) but again, don't really bother with a small player to surf (use my macbook air for web work).

I'm in the technology industry, I know from whence I come. I have a high end audio system (very), 5 different computers around my home, high end headphones (latest are the Shure SE535's - when they don't fall out of my ears, they sound great). I know what I expect from a personal device, be it a laptop, ipad, android tablet, etc. Just sold my ipad2 (nice device, but mainly for media consumption not keyboard work) and replaced with macbook air and Nook for reading.

I have no affiliation with Cowon; I just like my music and this plays my music very very nicely. Cowon seems like a small company, a bit quirky but then again, their media player works with all sorts of "out there" file formats and I'll bet at least some of the comsumers of their products are a bit um, quirky. If you do go for the player, buy the Cowon leather case too; fits well.
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on February 17, 2012
I love my new D3, it sounds amazing and that is first and foremost what I wanted in my new player. The problem is that there is so little documentation on the D3 in the owner's manual (if you can call it that) that I am stuck not knowing how to really operate the Cowon. There are so many things I would like to learn that I don't know where to begin. I've tried looking for some forums online and I found one at Head HiFi but so far no response. I am able to put music on the D3 using WMP, it just works best for me,what I don't know are all the ways to tweak the sound, work all the controls and feel comfortable that I know what I am doing. I can't be the only one who is experiencing these issues but it is difficult to connect with other users.

I love the player, the build quality is excellent, the sound is amazing and if and when I really get to know what I'm doing I am confident I will be happy. For now I almost wish I had an Ipod, just because there would be hundreds of ways of support for their player but I didn't want one because of the mediocre sound. I would be happy to listen to any suggestions from more experienced users. Sorry this review is a solid plus for the product as well as a look into my obvious confusion about the D3. I hope so others have had the same experience and will be able to direct me to some helpful forums to newcomers to the Cowon family. The bottom line is the sound and it is truly exceptional so in that regard I am happy.

Now that I have had 10 days with the D3 I wanted to let people know that it works quite well with WMP and Vista.I was prepared to use another media player like J. River or JetAudio but I find WMP easy and it is what I am used to. Everything is working fine otherwise, a little sluggish online but I can live with it just because it sounds so so good!! I truly have been missing the best part of a large music collection, the sound!!

I am also getting to know the D3 and am getting better at moving around the main menu but I am still learning, Overall I am really happy with the D3, much better than when I first got it, I was a little intimidated but not near as much now.UPDATE 3/21/12 My updated impressions of the D3 are as follows: I love the sound, no question about that but I still haven't learned what all the functions are, no place to really find out since there isn't much info online about this player. There and menu items that I don't understand and I would say that there is at least 20% of this player that I have no idea what I am doing. On another negative point the battery has a hard time keeping a charge, I have to charge it almost every other day and that is not even with moderate use. That might be normal but it is a pain to keep recharging.I am seriously thinking about selling this player and buying one less complicated and more efficient with the battery. The Android is fine but it is no big deal to me so I think if I buy another player I won't really care if it has Android or not, To be really honest; I miss my Zune HD 64gb. It was a much better player and lasted longer on a charge plus it was easier to use and I miss the Zune Marketplace. I will keep updating hoping this helps someone else trying to make a buying decision.UPDATE 5/10/12 I have concluded, after using this device for several months, that the Cowon Plenue is the worst MP3 player I have yet to own. I'm not being silly or sarcastic but stating the fact that this device has been the most frustrating mp3 player I have ever owned and I have had an Ipod, Zune, Sansa fuze+, Sansa e250, Sony Walkman and a few others I can't remember. All had good and bad qualities but after living with the Cowon I find I just put it aside and use my Sansa Fuze+, a player that I like but one which others don't seem to care for. My advice as humble as it is; don't buy this player unless you really enjoy a challenge and don't mind short battery life, slow performance, and overall just a subpar player which does have one outstanding quality; the sound is great. If you can buy one with that as your major reason, you may like it but for me mine is going up for sale! Finally sold my Plenue, just was to frustrating to use,, even in the car with Bluetooth enabled it was a pain so that was the last straw. I really did love the sound and the eq offerings but it just wasn't enough to justify keeping the player. Now I am looking for another product that will sound almost as good and be easier to use and is not an Apple product
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on December 28, 2011
In my opinion, the D3 Plenue is only option for someone shopping the flash media market as of December 2011. The price may seem prohibitive until one compares it to the cost of the iPod Touch. The D3 benefits from its ability to play pretty much every audio and video file format in use today. I don't have to convert every darn file just to play them as I had to do for the iPod. Also useful is the software that comes with the device the JetAudio program simply makes the iTunes bloatware for Windows look obsolete, constrictive, and just plain stupid.

And I didn't even bring up the Cowon D3 Plenue's unreal audio playback ability with fully adjustable equalization. One wonders why anyone would ever buy an Apple device when the D3 and other Cowon products are available. Unless, of course, if you own a Macintosh PC or Laptop... in that case you are obliged to get the Apple "accessories" with it.
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on June 22, 2012
I first got into the mp3 player world back in 2006 when I bought a Creative Zen Touch 20GB. I've purchased 3 other creatives since then. When my original Zen touch finally died recently, I went looking for a new high capacity player. I wanted good sound (I always felt that Creatives sounded better than Ipods and most other brands). In fact over a year ago I had googled "audiophile mp3 players" and quickly became aware of Cowon, but they were too expensive for me. When I looked again recently and found the D3 for $199 I decided to give it a shot. It wasn't an easy decision because the reviews were all over the place. It helped that some reviews stated that after software updates the player worked well. I've got mine and it funtions well (I only use it for music). But IT SOUNDS FANTASTIC!!!! Huge warm bass, the SE (stereo enhancer) is amazing! I can actually hear seperation in the mix! I can hear guitar parts and drum fills that I've never noticed before! (I have good quality over-ear headphones). If you care about audio quality, Buy this player!!!
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on May 27, 2011
I've owned a Cowon D2 and an S9 in the past, so I know what to expect from them SQ wise. I've owned a D3 for a month now, and the SQ does NOT disappoint - I would argue that this is the best sounding portable player I have ever owned.

In my case, I use it with a pair of HD 600's and a MiniBox E+ headphone amp. Combine that with some cleaned up vinyl rips at 24/48 (their stock player supports that) or some well mastered CD rips to FLAC, and I am in sonic heaven. I can even use the Android port of Rockbox if I want support for 24/96. So, as a music player, I love the device.

However, the love ends there. For most other things, this device needs some work and some of them might not be fixable.


- Telechips CPU. This CPU is already out-dated and it's probably the main reason why the device is still stuck on Android 2.1. A 2.2 update might be possible eventually, but most likely we'll never see any update past that. And a Telechips CPU means no Adobe Flash support.

- 256 RAM, with very little left over for apps. At most I usually have ~50MB left over for apps. That's fine for music playback, but if you plan to do anything else you had best install a Task Manager app to kill all the extra stuff running in the background.

- Limited accessories. This comes with the territory with Cowon products, unfortunately. You definitely want a case if you plan to carry this thing around, and probably a screen protector as well. The Cowon case is nice but will set you back another $30. At $330 for the device itself, they should have probably thrown in the case for free, imo.

- No Android Market, unless you want to hack it. And, the device recovery area is locked down, so it's difficult to mod - you can root it, at least.

- Battery life and boot up time. ~60 seconds to boot up, which is a little slow even for an Android device. And the battery life is not the usual 40+ hours we've come to expect from Cowon. Even with Wifi off, I seem to run out of battery a lot faster with this thing. I really miss good battery life.

- (As of this writing). Music sometimes freezes for a second. I've had this happen on occasion, and others have reported the same thing. Sounds like a bug that Cowon needs to address. Also, I believe that there's no gapless FLAC support for the stock app, although Rockbox has it.

- Cost. Yes, it's a definite factor - at $330+, it's a very expensive PMP. I'm assuming that the capacitive OLED screen is part of the reason, but it's still very hard to swallow when comparing it to a 32GB iPod Touch that's $50 less. Imo, this device should be ~$275 max.

I haven't really used the video playback on this, as it wasn't why I bought it. But with its OLED screen and support for containers like MKV, it seems to be an improvement over my S9. Keep in mind that AVI/MP4/MKV's are just containers and that the real concern is what audio/video codec support the device has. One thing Telechips is known for is good video playback support.

So, to summarize -- if you want an excellent sounding music player with 24/48 support and some extra bells and whistles like Android app support and decent video playback, this might fit the bill. But remember its limitations -- some of which might be fixable with software updates, and some of which might not.

6/16/2011 EDIT: Cowon has released a Korean language beta which updates the base OS to Gingerbread (Android 2.3). I've been using this beta and the device does seem to perform faster than before. Hopefully an English release will be forthcoming, soon. The 2.3 update is definitely a step in the right direction, for the D3. My only concern at the moment is that 48Khz FLAC / Vorbis files seem to have some SQ issues, but I've reported that to them and hopefully it will get corrected before it gets released.

7/1/2011 EDIT: Their Korean Gingerbread firmware has now been released. I'm actually using Rockbox on it (third party app) to get better 24/48 and 24/96 support (less fuzziness in the highs), and gapless. So far it's working great - no freeze-ups in the last 24 hours. Battery life may be slightly improved as well as sleep, and an annoying "delay" bug with JetEffects has been corrected. Lots of little improvements that is now making my purchase easier to swallow, now. 24/96 FLAC is confirmed working on their stock app in this update, btw. Overall performance is better, but of course it's still no speed demon, especially with games.

I assume that a North American update will be coming soon, but the Korean one is fine for my purposes for now.
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on February 26, 2012
I am so disappointed in this player. It takes a long time to start-up (more than 30 seconds), the default music player can't play my FLAC files tagged with images (I had to install Rockbox) and the usable playing time is less than 4 hours. To top it off, I can't install most of the android apps I see online because it is not a real android phone and finally the USB stopped working a few weeks ago! I've tried reseting the device and played with the system ]settings all without success. I am giving up on it and trying the J3. I had an S9 which I loved and it got stolen. I read that the J3 is an improved S9 (more memory, expandable, longer battery life).
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on February 20, 2012
The price has dropped on the D3, the quality of sound is the best in the industry and video is excellent. These are the reasons I chose the D3 rather than the ipod. Yes the processor is slow and its not as responsive as some smart phones. I have loaded
both skype and kindle apps and both are working just fine. There isnt anything else that sounds as good and has these little extra perks.

Oh oh didnt have the player but 4 months and it froze up. I got an RMA from Cowan and sent it to them for repair. Got the player back about four weeks later. Guess what its frozen again.

When will Cowon learn to perform the proposer quality control on their products.
When will Cowon learn to train their customer service people properly.

I'm in the market for another player and I do not think it will Cowon.
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on July 8, 2012
Received item in good packaging condition and start using it with the included apps. The design of this Mp3 is very good and the interface is excellent compared to other Mp3. One of the feature I like was the screen which is HD and I loaded some pictures in this device and they are so clear and beautiful. The only reason I give this 4 stars is because the battery doesn't last long as they have advertise from Cowon whis is 21 hours for music and 11 hours for media. I listened to my music while delivering mail and it lasted only 7 hours which is not as they advertise the product. I am a little bit disappointed, i wish Cowon could do something about this. Overall the product is a very good one.Cowon D3 Plenue 32 GB 3.7-Inch MP3 Player with Android - Black
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