Cowon D2+ 4GB review

£99
Price when reviewed

MP3 players looking to take on Apple have a tough job: forget making a good player, simply competing with Apple’s tremendous marketing muscle is hard enough. But Cowon has managed it before – its 8GB touchscreen S9 is currently atop the A List.

Cowon D2+ 4GB review

The D2+’s predecessor, the D2, was released to decent reviews in late 2007, but at first glance it’s difficult to see how much has changed. The option to buy a 2GB version of the player is gone, leaving you with the 4GB, 8GB or 16GB models, each of which also has an SDHC card slot on one edge.

The 2.5in screen has also been retained. It’s touchscreen, which is why the front of the D2+ has a certain minimalist charm, with just a few hardware buttons – such as the power switch – on top. The screen itself is a TFT, rather than OLED, and has a resolution of 320 x 240. It’s not a bad specification – the iPod nano’s screen is half an inch smaller and has the same resolution, but the D2+ falls down when it comes to its operating system.

The D2+ has some extremely small on-screen buttons that are tricky to poke at without the aid of a stylus. But, although the stylus is included, there’s no handy cubby hole to store it in. Instead, you have to loop it on with elasticated cord. Time after time, we found ourselves simply choosing the finger with the longest nail to get around the D2+’s file structure.

It’s fine for navigating when you’re sat at a desk, but trying to work it on a busy train is a little short of a nightmare, thanks to the tiny on-screen buttons.

Using the D2+ might present a few annoyances, but its feature list goes a long way towards making up for them. It has an impressive list of supported audio formats, including WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV and MP3, and supports Xvid and WMV video as well.

The screen is too small to realistically watch anything more than the odd music video or video podcast, but audiophiles will appreciate the support of lossless audio formats. It can also be used to view JPEG and BMP files, which look excellent on the bright screen.

The D2+ also includes an FM tuner, as well as the ability to record broadcasts. It’s a handy tool, as is the fact that you can specify a quality for your recordings, from 32kbps to 256kbps. It can also record from its integrated microphone, or from the 3.5mm headphone jack, which doubles as a line-in.

The 4GB D2+ costs £99 from Advanced MP3 Players, making it excellent value for money, particularly considering the lengthy features list. However, if you want more storage, the 8GB version costs £129, which compares badly to the iPod nano, which costs £107 for the same capacity. And, it should be noted, that the nano is considerably more enjoyable to use, besides looking better.

For those after a straightforward MP3 player, it’s still hard not to recommend the iPod nano. For the mass market it’s hard to recommend the D2+: it’s tricky to use, strange to look at and a little expensive. However, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of features.

Basic specifications

Media player storage type Flash memory
Capacity 4GB
Screen size 2.5in

Battery life

Audio battery life 52hrs
Video battery life 10hrs

Other features

USB charging? yes
Data connector type Mini USB
Screen size 2.5in
Resolution 320 x 240

Dimensions

Dimensions 78 x 17 x 55mm (WDH)
Weight 86g

Audio codec support

MP3 support yes
WMA support yes
AAC support no
OGG support yes
FLAC support yes
ATRAC support no
WAV support yes
ASF support no
AIFF support no

Video codec support

DivX support no
XviD support yes
H.264 support no
WMV-HD support no
WMV support yes
AVI support yes
MP4 support no

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