android
  #1  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:00 AM
Juxxy Juxxy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 83
Default Cowon S9 - Mini Review

This is a quick review of the Cowon S9 for those thinking of buying, I won't go into so much detail though as I'm sure most of you are waiting on better reviews from abi and other sites. Aplogogies in advance for using ImageShack, but I couldn't find anywhere else to host them.




Accessories/Extras: Nothing special here, you get a small minidisc with Cowon's Jetaudio on it, the disc works with tray drives but will not work with any slot loading drives. You also get a pair of headphones which are nothing special, a couple of guides in various languages and the proprietary USB cable.

All that's missing really for me is the plug wall charger, as one was included with the D2 I was expecting the S9 to come with one.

Design: As all of you will already will be well aware of the looks of the S9 I'll simply talk about build quality. A lot of reviewers have said it is very light and feels rather hollow or plastic, which is true. If you were expecting something along the lines of the D2 you will be disappointed, however I must stress that it's not badly built, in fact it's probably still several levels above that of other manufacturers it's just not up to Cowon's usual 'tank'esque quality.



(The Cowon has 2 'theme' choices, I find myself prefering the former but it's nice to have the choice)

UI: Cowon has made leaps and bounds in this department, the UI is much simpler to navigate and doing so is very quick with menus popping up quickly and scrolling through files in a breeze. However if you were expecting something that you could pick up and learn in and out within 10 minutes you will be dissapointed, this is much better then what we usually see from Cowon but some menu's can still be quite difficult to fathom without the 'press and see what it does' approach.



I've found the accelerometer to be very good at picking up when the player is turned on it's side (although Enzoten has had the opposite experience, whether this is firmware/hardware based is unknown). The UI is very smooth in almost all areas, however coverflow is one notable exception, using it is so laggy with long pauses and it does make you think about asking why Cowon bothered with it in the first place. Hopefully this is just a firmware issue though that can be remedied, however even if it was smooth the portrait music screen is much more useful in every way.

Other UI features such as the zooming work quite well, although unless you are short sighted there should be no problems reading the text even at the lowest magnification as the screen is really that sharp.

Audio quality:
I'm not great at discerning between small differences in sound, however you can be certain that the S9 matches (perhaps even exceeds in some areas) the D2. Through the same headphones both players sound just as good and there are largely the same customisation options in the S9 as in the D2

Video quality:
Wow... this is where this player really excels. With a decent input source the player looks fantastic, using a good conversion tool (such as handbrake) it looks absolutely stunning. I've found the S9 can play a lot of different resolutions including those above the 480x272 quoted, however it does a bad job at fixing the aspect ratio and an even wrose one at scaling it down, so to get the most you really do need to convert your video, although again if you can't stand to convert (like I know many people do) you can still watch most sources.

Also worth a mention is that the player will remember your position in a movie, so if you watch half a movie, you can come back to it later in the exact same place which is a nice touch.

Other Features:

FM Radio - nice to have, but it doesn't scan particularly well and it sets up stations just several Mhz from their source which leads to a lot of manual changing if you want to get the most out of this feature.
Bluetooth - Can't really comment as I don't have a bluetooth headset to pair it too, although the option for switching it on is easy to find and quick to do.
Microphone - Works pretty well and picks a lot of stuff up (some unwanted) but the quality is pretty good, and if there were apps to turn this into a bluetooth headset it would work, as the microphone picks up sound from in front of the player too so you wouldn't have to speak into the back of the player, which would be awkward.
Flash games - I've tried a few flash games for the Cowon D2 and found they do work, however some of the buttons aren't finger friendly and some cause intermittent crashing. List of games I've tried:

Blackjack - Works without crashing, not finger friendly.
Fishtales - Works and finger friendly but causes crashes at random intervals
Flashpad v3 - Works, relatively finger friendly and the saving option still works
qubik - Works, relatively finger friendly but still has some of the stuttering issues that the D2 version had
Gridlock - Works, kind of finger friendly (though quite difficult to move blocks first time), no crashing issues I'm aware of
Laser - Doesn't work, gets stuck at loading (left for 5 minutes, so may work but probably not useful to have a game taking 5 minutes+ to load)
Samarosti - Seems to work at first but gets stuck after intro sequence and screen goes black. However it isn't a crash as it's still possible to quit so not sure what's going on with this.
Worm beta - Works very well, no noticable lag, and the black borders of the screen (as the game is not widescreen) also count as clicks so your finger doesn't get in the way of seeing where you need to go.

I may try some others later.

I haven't really had the player long enough to judge things like battery life in real life situations but just judging by the battery meter Cowon's predictions of 55/11 seem just a bit over the top, but might be attainable depending on usage/BBE settings/Screen brightness/etc.

BBC iPlayer - BBC recently released the option to download programs for portable devices, dragging and dropping the files in MSC mode doesn't work outright. But confirmed to work in MTP, but must be synced with Windows Media Player to work.

Last edited by Juxxy; 12-21-2008 at 10:43 AM.
Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]

  #2  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:16 AM
odigg odigg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 134
Default

I'm just curious, but which headphones did you use to test the audio quality?

Also, how good is the reception of the FM tuner? How does it sound? It is better than the D2?
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:18 AM
Juxxy Juxxy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 83
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
I'm just curious, but which headphones did you use to test the audio quality?

Also, how good is the reception of the FM tuner? How does it sound? It is better than the D2?
I'm currently using a pair of Sennheiser MX760's, which aren't particularly great but still a few steps above what you get pre-packaged.

Sound reproduction in the radio I'd say is slightly worse then the D2, but only because it is much more difficult to find the station you want as the S9 saves channels that are .5-2Mhz out so you unless you go in and get them manually you get a lot of background hiss. The D2 has similar problems but I found it was generally more likely to get the correct frequency of the station.
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:30 AM
ronnie ronnie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 105
Default

yeah well i guess all sounds good to me but the laggy cover flow... wish they could rectify it using a firmware upgrade..
__________________
Cowon S9 16 gb Titanium + Audio Technica Ath-Anc7 + Fiio E5
Bose Companion 5 multimedia speaker system
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old 12-20-2008, 11:43 AM
walker walker is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 48
Default

Good job and thanks!
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old 12-20-2008, 12:00 PM
odigg odigg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juxxy View Post
Sound reproduction in the radio I'd say is slightly worse then the D2, but only because it is much more difficult to find the station you want as the S9 saves channels that are .5-2Mhz out so you unless you go in and get them manually you get a lot of background hiss. The D2 has similar problems but I found it was generally more likely to get the correct frequency of the station.
Oh dear. Even at the correct frequency (meaning the exact frequency of the radio transmission) the D2's radio was very mono sounding compared to many other players. Does the S9 sound even worse than the D2 at the correct frequency?

Thanks for the review and answers to my questions. I appreciate it.
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old 12-20-2008, 12:04 PM
Juxxy Juxxy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 83
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
Oh dear. Even at the correct frequency (meaning the exact frequency of the radio transmission) the D2's radio was very mono sounding compared to many other players. Does the S9 sound even worse than the D2 at the correct frequency?

Thanks for the review and answers to my questions. I appreciate it.
If you find the correct frequency it does sound better then the D2, but the problem is that it is much, much more difficult to find the correct frequency and even if you do it's extremely difficult to get decent reception through the headphone cable.
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old 12-22-2008, 09:09 AM
eswa eswa is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 28
Default

How is the shuffle?
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 12-22-2008, 10:55 AM
Juxxy Juxxy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 83
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by eswa View Post
How is the shuffle?
I've found it to be much better then the D2 which seemed to have a tendency to only pick certain artists. And it's choices seem genuinely 'random' this time around.
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old 12-22-2008, 12:02 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Juxxy, nice little review, I moved it to our user review forum.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old 12-22-2008, 03:08 PM
Scottyyy Scottyyy is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: England
Posts: 16
Default

Nice review mate.

Do you know if you can delete files from the player itself?
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old 12-22-2008, 07:53 PM
SansaRulez83's Avatar
SansaRulez83 SansaRulez83 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Western Washington, USA
Posts: 273
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
Oh dear. Even at the correct frequency (meaning the exact frequency of the radio transmission) the D2's radio was very mono sounding compared to many other players. Does the S9 sound even worse than the D2 at the correct frequency?

Thanks for the review and answers to my questions. I appreciate it.

One thing to remember is that your ability to pick up radio broadcasts will vary wildly compared to others and even compared by you at different locations.

I live 15 miles from Seattle so I'm in a pretty good location for radio. Unfortunately, my house if at the bottom of a hill opposite Seattle, so reception isn't good with any mp3 player (9 nearly crystal clear with the Clip, 7 with the D2.) When I go to work which is up on the hill, I get all but 4 or 5 channels completely and utterly crystal clear with either player.

Then you have TheDarkSide who can't get anything out of New York in New York. That may be due to the skyscrapers btw.

Point is, don't shop for radio as an option. Just buy a $10-20 radio separately and call it good.
__________________
16GB Cowon D2 (16GB Transcend SD Card) > Fiio E5 > Ultrasone HFI-780
16GB ipod Touch (Just for Web, I Swear )
1GB Sansa Clip
Phonak Audeo PFE 111 (White), Sennheiser PX100 (Travel Purposes), Koss KSC-75 (Eh... Too Plingy)

Last edited by The DarkSide; 01-12-2009 at 06:13 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old 12-23-2008, 04:46 AM
The DarkSide's Avatar
The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
Ultra Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Qns Vlg, NYC
Posts: 16,039
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SansaRulez83 View Post
One thing to remember is that your ability to pick up radio broadcasts will vary wildly compared to others and even compared by you at different locations.

I live 15 miles from Seattle so I'm in a pretty good location for radio. Unfortunately, my house if at the bottom of a hill opposite Seattle, so reception isn't good with any mp3 player (9 nearly crystal clear with the Clip, 7 with the D2.) When I go to work which is up on the hill, I get all but 4 or 5 channels completely and utterly crystal clear with either player.

Then you have TheDarkSide who can't get anything out of New York in New York. That may be due to the skyscrapers btw.

Point is, don't shop for radio as an option. Just buy a $10-20 radio separately and call it good.
The fm receivers on in the cowon players are horrible (can't say about the DAB version though). The D2's radio is pretty much mono sounding, it's 1 feature that cowon really is rotten at implementing. And it's not just on the D2, as the fm tuner on the S9 isn't the greatest either.

Last edited by The DarkSide; 01-12-2009 at 06:13 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old 12-23-2008, 12:44 PM
ls103rb ls103rb is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Location, location
Posts: 113
Default

Thank you Juxxy for an excellent review.
Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old 01-12-2009, 09:10 AM
Samage89 Samage89 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Cheshire, UK
Posts: 96
Default

So does Iplayer work with the S9 in MTP mode? I'll go and test it not just to be sure, will be fantastic if it does.

Confirmed working! works with MTP

Last edited by Samage89; 01-12-2009 at 09:33 AM.
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old 01-12-2009, 03:44 PM
Olley Olley is offline
Ultra Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 4,894
Default

The S9's autotune isn't precise, but if you pick the station frequency to listen to the radio sounds fine. You can manually tune to each station and easily add each to the preset list, and/or easily delete inaccurate frequencies from the autotuned list.
Reply With Quote

Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:21 AM.