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Old 10-14-2012, 03:24 AM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Australia, NSW
Posts: 2,728
Default C2 Review

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.


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.


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).

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.
SOURCE: Xclef (gone) | Cowon X5(gone) | Cowon D2 (dead) | Sansaclip+ RB | Sansa ClipZip RB | Cowon i9+ (32gb) | Cowon C2 (4gb)
HPs: Soundmagic E10's | Hippo VB's | UE 600's | Superlux HD 668B | Superlux HD660 | Sony XBA3 | Sony XBA2VP

Last edited by BruceBanner; 10-14-2012 at 03:47 AM.
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