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-   -   C2 Review (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70828)

BruceBanner 10-14-2012 03:24 AM

C2 Review
 
http://i47.tinypic.com/2upbeqq.jpg

Specifications (lifted from ABI main review found here)
  • Capacity: 4/8/16GB internal (+ MicroSDHC slot up to 32GB)
  • Display: 2.6″ 320×240 TFT, resistive touch screen
  • Size/weight: 78.7mm x 53.0mm x 12.8mm / 84g
  • Color: White with silver back / Black with silver back / Black with black back / Gray with silver back / Gray with black back
  • Battery: 55h audio, 10h video (synthetic benchmarks)
  • Charging time: 4.5 hours at 500mA, 2.5 hours at 750mA
  • Audio codecs: MP1/2/3, Vorbis, WMA, FLAC, APE, WAV (unofficial AAC/MP4/M4A support)
  • Video containers: AVI, WMA, ASF (unofficial MP4 support)
  • Video codecs: Xvid, DivX, MPEG4-SP, WMV (unofficial h264 support)
  • Subtitles: SMI (unofficial SRT support)
  • Images: JPEG (baseline and progressive)
  • Documents: plain TXT
  • Recording: WMA – from internal mic, FM radio, or line-in
  • Accessories: Proprietary USB cable, ear buds, printed quick start manual
NB: Users have reported success in using some 64gb cards configured correctly. There may be a max number of file limitation tho.


Intro.

Q: Why the C2?
A: I needed something that was as close as possible to my i9 player whilst giving me more than 16gb storage.
Sansa products would fulfill this purpose except I am totally in love with the DSP options of cowon devices, namely the BBE tweaks, to my ears this achieves a funner listening experience than rockbox sansa products, so it had to be another cowon device.
The c2 appeared close in size and ticked all the relevant boxes so this week I have been fiddling around with it trying to get it to behave the way i wanted.

http://i49.tinypic.com/21de7w4.jpg

Appearances.

I love that metal backing, it really adds a nice feel/weight and look to the device, definitely makes it feel premium, if only the front was as impressive as the rear.
Coming from the i9 the screen is not as good. It lacks the sharpness, detail and brightness the i9 has.
It's certainly a step up from a clipzip screen, or a fuze but not what you would expect from such a nice compact looking gadget.
The screen also appears 'washed out' when looking directly at it, tilt the screen a few degrees away and the quality improves somewhat.
Whilst annoying at first (as its quite natural to look at devices head on) it might have its positives. All screens give reflection, there's nothing worse than watching a video that's dark (such as space scenes) and seeing yer own reflection. Often a user would tilt the device so they couldn't see themselves but in doing so they would lose screen quality, here that doesn't happen, infact the opposite is true.
But i won't really be talking about the video/PMP side of things in this review, more strictly from the DAP perspective. This is because i believe those wanting video will more than likely pass on the c2 and go to something better/larger screen (of which in today's market there is ample of).

http://i48.tinypic.com/2iw82uw.jpg

When holding the device in my hand it was apparent it felt better in portrait mode rather than landscape. The C2 has the option to rotate the screen (no accelerometer inside), but the only options was 180 degree rotation.
After some digging around I finally found a custom UI that allowed for the same stock menu but in vertical mode. I far prefer this, the buttons feel better placed.
The headphone jack also terminates top or bottom (depending on how you rotate the screen) rather than on the side which it is normally.
I can imagine this suiting better for those using the device in their pocket and headphone port facing directly at them.

http://i46.tinypic.com/4hfgiq.jpg

The buttons aren't placed quite to my liking. I like a little space between my buttons to make 'feeling' them easier to pinpoint and for less chance of accidentally pressing two down instead of one.
I also came to like the fact that on the i9 the +- buttons are on one side and the menu/play/pause on the other. This wasn't something i ever thought about, but when operating the player blind does help minimise accidental presses.

http://i48.tinypic.com/2qd35vr.jpg

UI.

The stock ui annoyed me somewhat. This bizarre 'mood' theme would pop up. Once it decided it was a 'rainy day' despite being sunny and warm here in oz. But these were just 'intro pages', u just swipe to get past them to the main menu. The main menu comes in two flavours and both are quite nice to be honest. You can choose which you prefer.
Like i said previously, its a shame you couldn't rotate them natively at 90 degree angles, and also a shame you can't pick and choose which icons appear on what screen, a little more customization would have really helped the player along.

http://i48.tinypic.com/28hk269.jpg

But some of those issues were overcome with custom UI, and its here i think the player really comes into its own.
For example, the NPS (Now Playing Screen) has this incredibly annoying spinning album art with no option in settings to turn it off. Thankfully there are some UI's out their that keep everything the same but stop the spinning, so even if you don't like the NPS that I might have picked, u can at least stop the spinning art if you so choose.

http://i47.tinypic.com/359b72d.jpg

Navigating the stock browser and means of adding favorites (maxed at 256 files like the i9) seemed incredibly unintuitive to me. This coming from someone who got their head around the i9 layout should send alarm bells off. All of this done in landscape mode made little sense and a lot of dead space and limited information displayed.
But again some custom UI saved that problem by giving me a portrait browser, adjustable font size and more logical means of navigating. It was something i got to grips with in 5 mins, rather than still scratching my head wondering how to get back to some screen i saw before 30mins later with stock UI.

http://i46.tinypic.com/2wqtkrr.jpg

Sound.

I'll be honest and say i haven't done extensive listening as of yet, i just quickly tweaked the EQ and BBE settings (which was altered quicker than that of the i9) and played a familiar track. To my ears it sounded the exact same, so i think it's fair to say the sq is what to expect from cowon, very very good.

Q:Whose it for?
A:This is a device for the music enthusiast that appreciates good sound. Someone who needs 32-80gb storage, is not fussed about picture or video needs but just straight up DAP.
The device becomes alot more useable if yer willing to hunt and try different UI's that the community has contributed. For me this community has really saved this device, i salute those responsible for all their commendable hard work.

Quick Video to follow demonstrating this custom UI.

BruceBanner 10-14-2012 03:34 PM

No sound for this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOu1t...ature=youtu.be

skip252 10-16-2012 04:14 PM

Nice review. Where did you get the custom UCI? You don't name them or give a link. From what I've seen from other video reviews letting others know where to get a different UI would be very helpful. I don't know what they were thinking about when they saddled a decent player with the UI it comes with. Like you said the C2 UI makes the i9 look simple and intuitive.

I never checked into the C2 much. That font scaling looks handy. I didn't know it could do that. Is that part of the stock UI or part of the custom UCI?

BruceBanner 10-16-2012 04:22 PM

The links for custom UI are in the description on the youtube video. The adjustable font UI is part of the Custom UI (its the browserUI), in fact everything you see in the pics/youtube is customUI. The mainmenu is the same as stock menu (same icons etc) except its vertical therefore also custom.

Here are the links again anyway: Mainmenu & Browser & Music (NPS)

WalkGood 10-21-2012 11:57 AM

Bruce, I moved your review to the “MP3 Player User Reviews.” Nice review, I especially like the darker pictures :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by skip252 (Post 624164)
… Where did you get the custom UCI? …

I would have thought you figured out Bruce likes to hide stuff to stimulate conversations bump'in his reviews up ;) :D :rolleyes:

Quote:

Originally Posted by skip252 (Post 624164)
… the C2 UI makes the i9 look simple and intuitive. I never checked into the C2 much. That font scaling looks handy. I didn't know it could do that. …

Agree …

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 03:04 PM

I repeat, the font scaling is not something that the C2 can do natively, its also custom UI.
It took a good hunt to find UI i was happy with. Initially i headed over to iaudiophile and tried all their UI's but didn't find anything i really liked. It wasn't until i went over to that russian cowon fan forum site that I found the UI's that i really liked.
It's astonishing to me that developers can get it so wrong with UI, and that some amateur fan based stuff gets it more right with their first attempt.
Perhaps its a culture thing, the East likes pretty looks, the West prefers functionality?

Anyway, a little update. I have now tested the C2 in the field twice (two long days cleaning) and I have to say things are working out very nicely. I attached a clip onto the back in a similar fashion to how i fastened on the i9, but angled the clasp more diagonally so that when clipped to my trouser pocket the c2 buttons and display were more easily read.
I have to say its really nice being able to change the display on the C2 to any angle (not just 180 like it gives in native UI) and then either pocket the device or fasten yer own clip to the back at an angle that suits you best. It's made me look at devices that come without a clip more favorably than those that do (clipzips etc).

I hope you enjoyed the review, I tried to offer something different than what dfkt did, perhaps you should rename this review 'C2 Custom UI Review'. I definitely feel satisfied with my DAP now, i have no shortcomings that I had with the i9 or RB products, the C2 will do for me for quite sometime i think (which on one level is kinda sad as I have run out of excuses buying/trying more mp3 players lol).

The DarkSide 10-21-2012 03:21 PM

Nice job bro,...too bad I can't try this thing. Damn USPS sux!!!

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The DarkSide (Post 624504)
Nice job bro,...too bad I can't try this thing. Damn USPS sux!!!

USPS?

Marvin the Martian 10-21-2012 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceBanner (Post 624507)
USPS?

United States Postal Service. Although I too wonder why they are preventing him from trying one...lol.:)

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 03:30 PM

That was my guess, and I too am perplexed. Can the postmen not deliver C2's? Are they that tempting for theft!?

The DarkSide 10-21-2012 03:39 PM

If any of us were going to do exchanges USPS has made it currently impossible to ship outside the USA for us. THAT was my point,...you FOOLS!!! :mad::rolleyes:;):p

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 03:48 PM

hahaha, well wow, that is some news! I mean that's quite mad. Has there been a seriosu incident that really merits this ban, i only read "In November, an Australian flight crew extinguished a smoking, glowing iPhone after a REX flight from Lismore to Sydney had landed." Seems a little harsh to ban everything after that, should just ban Apple products :P

Marvin the Martian 10-21-2012 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceBanner (Post 624516)
hahaha, well wow, that is some news! I mean that's quite mad. Has there been a seriosu incident that really merits this ban, i only read "In November, an Australian flight crew extinguished a smoking, glowing iPhone after a REX flight from Lismore to Sydney had landed." Seems a little harsh to ban everything after that, should just ban Apple products :P

I wouldn't be surprised if someone pressured them to do this under the assumption that it might foil terrorist plots of some sort. Paranoia and all that...

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 03:56 PM

It's pretty incredible I think, I mean surely USPS lose ALOT of revenue from this... oh well...

Syndrome 10-21-2012 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceBanner (Post 624519)
It's pretty incredible I think, I mean surely USPS lose ALOT of revenue from this... oh well...

Yes but being government then they no longer care about making a profit, they just print out some more money when ever they need it. fools.

Jeven 10-21-2012 04:07 PM

Nice review and some impressive battery life from those Cowons.

BruceBanner 10-21-2012 04:21 PM

Yup, for me the C2 is a little gem found.
I started off mainly using Sansa gear, then I found Rockbox and was in heaven. Then i got bored (and was a little bummed out over the battery life of the clip range) so tried a Cowon (i9). The BBE tweaks blew me away, and from that moment on found it hard to go back to Sansa+RB knowing I could attain a sound signature more to my liking from Cowon products.
But the i9 lacked the storage space I required, the C2 solves that problem, and the price is great value also (picked up the 4gb for $105).
Having used the C2 and i9 I don't find myself missing the compactness of the clips, infact i prefer something larger to gaze at.

The only shortcoming I can think of is I don't think I would take the C2 out for a run, it is just pushing the bulk/weight limit, the i9 or clips would serve better in this regard.

Personally I would still like to see Cowon make an i9 size player, 32gb varieties with microsd card storage, that would be win... but i'm not holding my breath.

I noticed BBE have an app for Apple products now. I would love to see BBE tweaks get to android and apple products so that everyone has access to these features and not just cowon, opens up the market and choice somewhat. If that happened I could see a Sansa Android player being interesting (especially with sansa's low prices).

The DarkSide 10-21-2012 04:47 PM

My D2+ will be here in a few days,... ;)

Marvin the Martian 10-21-2012 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The DarkSide (Post 624525)
My D2+ will be here in a few days,... ;)

A mystifying choice, I must say...

The DarkSide 10-21-2012 05:16 PM

Has all the trimmings, has great power so no amping, and I can use a custom theme to tailor it to my liking.

Besides, I'm so damn bored it ain't funny. Really, no new & interesting stuff is even on the horizon. Blah,... :(


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