back to article Cowon strikes at Archos with Wi-Fi media player

South Korea's Cowon today grew its stylish iAudio digital media player series with a pair of new models. The star of line-up: the Wi-Fi equipped Q5, a would-be Archos beater if there was one. Cowon iAudio Q5 Cowon's iAudio Q5: wireless wonder Built around a 5in, 800 x 480, 16m-colour touchsensitive display, the Q5 also packs …

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like a great piece of kit

Having returned my Archos player last weekend as after buying it i discovered that all meaningful video Codecs were regarded as an optional (Chargeable) upgrade; I'm in the market for a new media player. Hopefully these guys will be honest about their pricing and not try to charge an arm and a leg for functionality that should be provided as standard.

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A3/Q5

Think the A3 will be perfect for me as I need MKV/OGM support. Totally dig the Q5 though...should be much more tweak-able than the A3 but A3 has everything I am looking for. I already own Archos but the whole buying plug-ins, crappy codec support got me down until I found the A2 which was awesome until my stupidity made me drop it...cracking the screen...I was getting miffed waiting for the Q5 to come out as the A3 seemed like an '08 release....ah...can rest easy. Its totally true what my friend said...u dont realise how much the PMP changes ur travel pattern. U want the journey's to be longer so u can finish off that anime episode - otherwise it plays on ur mind all day. (Train journey is 24-ish mins...so became a pro at whipping out the A2 and started watching...and as the train doors opened at my stop the anime ending credits would start...usually...London underground is not exactly great). Oh and the koolest thing was when I was going to a clients site and ended up watching an episode of Heroes (the one in the future where Sylar [luv him] is actually the pres) with the woman sitting next me..had her two kids standing on the seats behind us watching it as well. I can never understand why men seem to think that a woman oogling at a small screen must be a geek...shame on them...or is it just a British thing?

On thing I would say about Cowon as a company though...they might be a bit slow releasing there products but they really do deliver. Getting an A3 for myself and Q5 for my sis as she is into the whole touch thing...iPhone and Wii have brainwashed her :-|

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Silver badge

Cowon?

Great for watching moovies, I suppose.............

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Silver badge

Yeah, but...

can the new Cowon units playback video smoother than their A2?

When I was shopping around for a PMP back at the very end of 2005 I initially bought a Cowon A2 because it looked very nice, it could play a variety of video formats without the need for conversion and had a big battery. However I sent it back after a week because unless you're playing a video file that runs at ~30fps it's has noticable uneven speed (much like watching a region 1 DVD on a tv because of the telecine effect). The majority of ~30fps material out there is the behind the scenes extras on region 1 DVDs and some US tv shows, everything else is ~24fps from either region 1 film DVDs or US tv shows (as most are all shot at 24fps now) and 25fps UK DVDs/tv shows.

The unit I got instead was an Archos AV500 and the video playback on it is very smooth in comparison to the A2 at every framerate I threw at it (even at 120fps), because it uses a technique developed for traditional CRTs - interlacing, which is virtually unnoticable on the AV500's screen. I still use it a lot to this day to watch content on it's own screen or hook it up to a tv, and the video recording capability is far superior to that of the A2's.

Just a shame Archos have 'neutered' all their units from the AV500 and onwards by locking them so you can't upgrade the harddrive yourself, the unit complains if you stick another drive in and refuses to use it.

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Comparison shopping

I've been an enthusiastic Archos user for several years, starting with an AV420 then an AV500 and now an 80GB 504, all of which have kept me sane on my 3 hr daily commute. I also thank god I didn't give in to my herding instincts and go down the horribly restrictive iPod route. I hear what people say about codec support but don't understand the argument at all, as there are plenty of free conversion tools available to repackage your existing content, and in my experience nearly all the videos I have come into possession of pretty much play with no fuss at all in any case.

Having said that I've watched Cowon with some interest as I have heard that the screen quality is very good, but was always put off by the lack of anything like a decent capacity. A 60gb model may do the job but that just brings up my other beef - the price! Its way above what Archos are charging. Still, competition is always a good thing and maybe this will gee up Archos into picking up some of its slack.

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Anonymous Coward

What happened to HSDPA for the Q5?

Q5 has HSDPA support in Korea I hope it hasnt been removed for the EU release...

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Why get this over an N800?

Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't an N800 be a better use of the funds? Same res screen, same media support, same battery life, stylish, half the price, plus other distractions like web browser, games, streaming media, and skype? The old N770's even much cheaper still, if a bit less capable. Shockingly expensive media players like this seem to have no niche at all.

(Admittedly when the N800 was released it was more promise than fulfillment, but it's come a pretty long way.)

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Anonymous Coward

N800 looks good but...

...what about capacity? is 16GB enough?

Also, the cowon Q5 has a slightly bigger screen at 5inches. From using an Archos 604 (4.3"), I would say that the 5" is worth having over the 4.1". The price is important but once you've bought two 4GB SD cards, you will have spent over £300 for a sim free N800.

I have a problem with the N800 in that it is too big to use as a phone, but is perhaps not quite big enough to compare with the latest PMP's.

The open source aspect is enviable though, and it does have many desirable features.

Like I say, the problem is that I wouldn't use it as a phone, so since I'd use two devices anyway I might as well get the K850i cybershot (fits in my jean pocket) for the pub photos and the Cowon Q5 for the airplane/train rides.

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