There's something almost bespoke about the Cowon A3 media player, a device that seems unapologetically to have had time and money lavished on its technical ability rather than its packaging. Out of the box, the rather bluff and chunky A3 looks and feels exactly like the Cowon A2, weighing a not inconsiderable 280g for the 30GB …
This is why I like iAudio
Function over form, technical excellence over looks and marketing. Apple, Creative, Sony and others could learn some lessons from our Korean friends.
By the way, I've seen the freeview player in action. The GUI has a tendency to glitch for a few seconds when it first loads, but after that it's ace.
I've got one of these and it is a truly great bit of kit, but a word of warning, the new A3 firmware available from the Cowon site, v.1.18 I think, can sometimes bugger up the audio/video synch on AVI files. I swapped back to the original firmware and everything is now fine. They do actually say that 1.18 is a beta so I suggest you leave it alone until it gets to v2.0.
Gorgeous. But where's the 160Gb model?
I assume it's plain old USB Mass Storage?
9 hours battery for audio ?
That's odd, I have an A2 (which I'm very happy with) and when playing audio with the screen off it can manage around 14 hours. (You get around 6-7 hours of video playback)
I wonder what they changed in the design to hurt the battery life so much?
Battery life is less because..
The higher resolution screen and the more powerful processors on the unit (to handle HD resolutions).
With that said about 85% of what the A3 can do, the A2 can do as well.
160GB and touch screen...
...and it's mine. I'll wait.
But can the user replace the battery?
I bought a Cowan iAudio M5(?) a few years back and was very happy with it, until time came for another trip back to blighty last year and I discovered that the battery won't hold much charge any more.
This is well-known behaviour of Lithium/whatever batteries, however Cowan consider the battery replacement an "out of warranty *repair*" and expected me to mail the player to them in California, wait several weeks for it to return, and pay a significant percentage of the original purchase price for the favour.
I informed them then that I would never buy another product of theirs until this was fixed: the SanDisk players, for instance, have a user-replaceable battery.
They, or course, completely ignored this and replied telling me once again how long it would take to "repair". Not impressed.
Considering the fuss people made about the similar battery situation with the accursed iPhone, I'm disappointed that this aspect is rarely if ever mentioned in reviews.
I'm particularly disappointed as few other manufacturers seem to want to support Ogg and FLAC formats, but I will not be held to ransom over a battery.
Actually, it does sound interesting considering that the one format I would really like to use is the Matroska format. However, reading through this review, I'm a little concerned that the reviewer seems to push this idea that fashion has something to do with function. It is just the same with mobile phones these days; I don't want to WEAR it, I want to USE it!
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