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Old 05-09-2013, 04:22 AM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Default i9+ Mini-Review




For those of you familiar with my previous purchases shall already know I owned and reviewed the i9 player awhile back. Since the i9 was too short on storage (16gb max) I opted for a 4gb C2 player (expandable memory) and reviewed it in some great detail here whilst maintaining focus on the custom UI side of things (which I feel are a must to properly cope with the short comings of the C2).
So now my latest purchase is Cowon's new rehash of the i9 player called the i9+ with really three distinguishing features from its predecessor;

a) It comes in 32gb flavours
b) It has a larger speaker
c) Has Jet Effect 5

There may be other upgrades that have slipped by me, but that in itself should tell you something about my reasoning. I wasn't really caring for any upgrade other than 32gb of memory because in my mind the i9 was almost the perfect player for me if only it came in larger capacity or carried expandable memory slot. Here I can make do with 32gb. For some that's still too little but for the way I manage my music collection this is definitely manageable (and will be for the foreseeable future).

But why ditch the C2?

Although the C2 sorted out some of my needs I did compromise on a few issues which have been gnawing away at me all the while;

1) I found the C2 heavier and chunkier than I would have liked. Although definately pocketable, if using during high impact exercise or you have a job like I do that is very physical then it becomes noticeable and a bit annoying. Coming from someone who used to use a Clip+/Zip it was definately a hinderance, running with it is not practical.

2) All the tactile controls are located on one side and bunched together, it really needs a bit of 'line of sight' to hit the play/pause/menu button as its right in the middle. It's not a big issue (i'm nitpicking here), but when i was at work and someone wanted to speak with me i'd often take a few seconds to locate the pause button and often I would accidentally skip the track I was currently listening too in the process. Not a deal breaker by any means, just a slight occupational annoyance (something that I never
had to deal with when I used the old i9. The i9+ buttons are divided on two sides of the player, hitting play/pause was easier as was skipping tracks. I feel safer navigating the player in this way whilst behind the wheel of a car lol.



Instead of sounding like a broken record I shall instead just list the pros and cons of both the i9+ and C2 to better highlight my purchasing decision.

i9+
Pros
-Lightest, 40g its twice as light as the C2, when in yer pocket its not noticeable, definitely exercise friendly.
-Smallest, better form factor
-Highest quality screen (crisp sharp, bright and best for viewing in daylight)
-Navigation is easier (than C2), less mistakes made when selecting choices
-Less needs to custom UI (tho i do like DFKT's simpler NPS)
-Tactile controls better situated
-Jet Effect 5 ('tho most new presets I will likely never use)

Cons
-Cost (it is quite pricey, around the $180USD mark)
-Limited places to buy from
-Hold button is perhaps more annoying than the C2 'Multiple press' style.
-32gb max
-Less battery life (but manageable for my needs)

C2
Pros
-Highest Capacity (up to 80gb)
-Longer battery life*
-Great value (I got my 4gb model for $100USD)

Cons

-A bit weighty, too heavy too comfortably use during high impact exercise
-Out of the box UI is awful, custom UI is a must to get this DAP working well. So a bit more hassel to setup.
-Lower screen quality, washed out
-Resistive screen makes mistakes easier, stylus helps minimise this (but no place to store stylus like D2/D20)
-Compactly placed tactile buttons make use a bit harder imo.

What i was doing before the i9+ was to use my i9 as an exercising DAP and the C2 for work, but I still found myself regularly getting frustrated that the i9 didn't have the same choice as my regularly updated C2, it was annoying having to manage two DAPs, I just wanted one DAP and figured the sales of the i9 and C2 would contribute towards the i9+.


It's really unfair to compare the C2 and i9+ against one another tho, they are both offering different things, it might be fairer to compare the i9+ against Apples Nano player range as size and weight wise they are similar class.
But alas I have no ipod to compare it to, but it has occured to me that since having the i9+ in my hands its a stunning DAP, akin to an Apple product. Previously when telling people about a sansa product or the C2 I find myself having to justify it to an outsider assuring them the sound is incredible quality etc, the i9+ however LOOKS like an ipod killer, it's the first DAP that has good looks as well as good sound.
I really would like to see how the i9+ competes against the latest Apple Ipod Nano.




Wrap-up

Everyone manages their music differently. Everyone looks for something different in a player, a feature that matters more to one person more than another. If you're looking for a light DAP, want uncompromising sound quality, enjoy a nice screen to which to enjoy album art to its fullest, perhaps exercise and are satisfied with 32gb of internal memory, I highly recommend this player. My search is over (well once I find where those pesky crooks have hidden it )

*Note on battery life. There is no English page that I can find for the i9+ so things like battery remians a bit of a mystery, if its anything like the i9 I think its around the 25hr mark, about half of the C2. But the C2 55hr battery life rating was overkill for me, I maybe once or twice in months of owning the device actually purposefully charged it, the act of placing new music onto the player a couple of times a week seemed to be enough of a boost to keep it at a good charge level.
On the other end of the spectrum the Sansa clips I have owned had just 5hrs or so too short a battery life. For me Sansa's clip line have sacrificed sufficient battery life for smallest possible DAP. Cowon gets the right balance imo with the i9/i9+, its small, light, less fiddly with a decent battery life.
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2013, 04:56 AM
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lebellium lebellium is offline
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Thank you for the review, especially the pics, I love them, I'm a Lego fan too (remember my Star Wars Lightsaber MP3 Player review )

It's probably a quite good player as you said but since it has a touchpad, it's a fail for me. I can't stand touchpad players. Although I have some in my collection, I almost never use them because of that.

Regarding the build quality, the back looks as crappy as the J3

(not sure that's the right subforum for such a review, will see what the other mods say)
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:23 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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Nice review.

Quote:
It's really unfair to compare the C2 and i9+ against one another tho, they are both offering different things, it might be fairer to compare the i9+ against Apples Nano player range as size and weight wise they are similar class.
But alas I have no ipod to compare it to, but it has occured to me that since having the i9+ in my hands its a stunning DAP, akin to an Apple product. Previously when telling people about a sansa product or the C2 I find myself having to justify it to an outsider assuring them the sound is incredible quality etc, the i9+ however LOOKS like an ipod killer, it's the first DAP that has good looks as well as good sound.
I really would like to see how the i9+ competes against the latest Apple Ipod Nano.
I'm not sure you could compare it with a Nano as they are completely different players in terms of size, materials used, touchscreen/buttons and features included etc. http://support.apple.com/kb/SP656
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:13 PM
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dawningistheday dawningistheday is offline
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Great review. Looks like a pretty nice little player. Too bad it's not available in 64GB/microSD-slot. 32GB is certainly manageable though. Love the lego pictures!
Maybe if it becomes more easily acquired I would consider getting one. I certainly wouldn't want to go through the pain that you went through!
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2013, 12:38 PM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
The i9+ buttons are divided on two sides of the player, hitting play/pause was easier as was skipping tracks. I feel safer navigating the player in this way whilst behind the wheel of a car lol.
I hope you're not wearing earphones while driving....
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
the i9+ however LOOKS like an ipod killer, it's the first DAP that has good looks as well as good sound.
I thought the Fuze+ hardware was pretty sexy looking, at least in black....
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
I really would like to see how the i9+ competes against the latest Apple Ipod Nano.
You wouldn't like any iPod because you can't live without your BBE tweaks. Only exception to that might be a Touch with the Sonicmax Pro app.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
But the C2 55hr battery life rating was overkill for me, I maybe once or twice in months of owning the device actually purposefully charged it, the act of placing new music onto the player a couple of times a week seemed to be enough of a boost to keep it at a good charge level.
Please explain how this is a bad thing.... (especially in the future where the battery will eventually lose some runtime)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
On the other end of the spectrum the Sansa clips I have owned had just 5hrs or so too short a battery life. For me Sansa's clip line have sacrificed sufficient battery life for smallest possible DAP.
For your unique usage pattern, anyways.... I've never had one shut down from low battery on me before I got home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
Cowon gets the right balance imo with the i9/i9+, its small, light, less fiddly with a decent battery life.
But there's no clip on it!
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:40 PM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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Nice job on the re-review bro. I still can't get used to a touchpad based player, but I'm glad it works for you. It's way better than Samsung's touchpad players were, but still not my cup-o-tea (I had Marvin's i9 for a bit).

As for the nano comparison, they're both great devices, and the sq on both in excellent. The controls on the nano are much more user friendly. There are way more sq enhancements $ a custom EQ on the i9, but I personally don't use BBE and I find the presets to be great nowadays. But this is IMO, so YMMV.

Still, I'm glad you luv your new toy. I'm kinda out of the audio stuff ATM,...I'm not even sure I want the FiiO X3 any longer. I'm looking for a new bicycle instead (Gravity G29).
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:12 PM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebellium View Post
Thank you for the review, especially the pics, I love them, I'm a Lego fan too (remember my Star Wars Lightsaber MP3 Player review )

It's probably a quite good player as you said but since it has a touchpad, it's a fail for me. I can't stand touchpad players. Although I have some in my collection, I almost never use them because of that.

Regarding the build quality, the back looks as crappy as the J3

(not sure that's the right subforum for such a review, will see what the other mods say)
Yeh I would prefer it lived in MP3 Player Review section but I couldn't create the post there

Don't get me wrong, touchpad ain't perfect, i would prefer tactile controls any day of the week, but i manage ok compared with the resistive screen of the C2 which I find myself reaching for a stylus more and more to minimise wrong selections.
I guess it again depends on how you use a player. For me the only time I really use the touchpad at great lengths is in the morning before going to work, when I build a favorite list (max 256 files). Once i have compiled that 'on the fly' playlist the screen is mostly off and i use the tactile buttons to skip/play/pause etc. If i'm not building a favourite list i'm quite often shuffling all the collection which again is quick to setup.
I can imagine if someone was navigating and interacting more with the UI than 5mins setup time it could become frustrating.
That's where a larger screen like the X9 might be better, although resistive screen in nature I bet its easier to touch the right place unlike the teeny resistive C2 screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeven View Post
Nice review.



I'm not sure you could compare it with a Nano as they are completely different players in terms of size, materials used, touchscreen/buttons and features included etc. http://support.apple.com/kb/SP656
I dunno about that, they do seem to be closer in comparison than say i9+ > C2. A quick look at that spec sheet of the ipod nano, the nano at 31grams vs i9+ 40g, both fixed memory, both intended for an active person etc, both around the $160-180 price mark, both have nice displays. Yes of course they have different features but that's the point of a comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningistheday View Post
Great review. Looks like a pretty nice little player. Too bad it's not available in 64GB/microSD-slot. 32GB is certainly manageable though. Love the lego pictures!
Maybe if it becomes more easily acquired I would consider getting one. I certainly wouldn't want to go through the pain that you went through!
Yes it was a pain... I would recommend people wait for other retailers than buy from exportprive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
I hope you're not wearing earphones while driving....
Sadly yes... <gulp>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
I thought the Fuze+ hardware was pretty sexy looking, at least in black....
Probably, i haven't seen the fuze+, but i'm imagining the screen quality wasn't as competitive as the nano range/i9+.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
You wouldn't like any iPod because you can't live without your BBE tweaks. Only exception to that might be a Touch with the Sonicmax Pro app.
Yes i thought about the touch as a comparison to i9+ but i figured nano is more appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
Please explain how this is a bad thing.... (especially in the future where the battery will eventually lose some runtime)
Here's why I think massive battery life is a bad thing. Yer right in saying battery life will depreciate over time, but in my experience by the time its getting bad (3yrs or so) it's time for an upgrade anyway, something newer and better will exist. That's been my personal experience anyway.
With long battery life comes a chunkier heavier player. Look at the D20 for example, 100hr battery life? If my C2 was half the thickness, half the weight I might never have needed to buy the i9+. Same for X9, reduce size and weight of the player and it becomes more attractive, you could probably half the size and weight of the C2, X9 etc and STILL provide ample battery life for real world usuage. Who really is going to need 100hrs of battery life before finding a place to charge? Its overkill, sacrificing weight and form over a battery life that only a minority of users will ever need. I'm questioning how much of that 100hr battery life is really needed, 50hrs, 30hrs etc is probably sufficient for real work usage with no real negative practicalities. But that's just my opinion. Clip too little, D20 too much, i9/i9+ about right (as was the FuzeV2).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
But there's no clip on it!
After using my magnetic fastener design I prefer this to a clip as it allows more versatile fastening methods, so bizarrely enough a flush backing is more appealing to me
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:25 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
Yeh I would prefer it lived in MP3 Player Review section but I couldn't create the post there
Done.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:03 PM
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skip252 - you da man bro!!!
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:10 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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The MP3 Player and Headphone Review forums have to be staff access only as they attract spam like you wouldn't believe. I'm checking posts now to see if anything else needs to be moved there.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:05 PM
Lacene Lacene is offline
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Nice review and entertaining pics. Thanks!

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  #12  
Old 08-11-2013, 03:13 AM
danx55 danx55 is offline
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Bruce - love those lego workmen pics v cool
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2013, 03:21 AM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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haha thanx danx,

Be sure to check out more of my little people's going ons here
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:46 PM
danx55 danx55 is offline
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:-) ok will do
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