Cowon D2+ hands-on
Donald Bell gets his hands on the Cowon D2+ touch-screen MP3 player from Cowon and offers his first impressions along with a photo gallery.
I just got my hands on the latest
If you remember the original
Fortunately, we were already big fans of the original D2, so Cowon didn't need to do much to keep us interested. The big news here is that Cowon upgraded the D2's already mind-blowing audio enhancement settings with the latest BBE+ technology (also included in the recent
The graphic user interface on the Cowon D2+ has also been given a thorough polish, borrowing from the Cowon O2's cleaner, more modern looking icons and menus. I'll need a little more time with the D2+ to see if there have been any functional improvements to navigation and menus, but so far it just seems like a prettier-looking version of the D2's original (and practical) menu scheme.
I do have some initial criticisms, though. First and foremost, there's no AAC audio support. I made this same complaint about the Cowon S9, but it seems even more relevant now that America's largest online music retailer (iTunes) sells its music in the AAC format and has ditched the DRM that once made songs incompatible with non-iPod devices. Don't get me wrong, I think iTunes should sell songs as MP3s just like the rest of the world (add an option for FLAC, while you're at it, Apple), but Zune, Sony, Samsung, and Creative have all seen the light on AAC, and Cowon should too.
Another complaint I had of the Cowon S9 that I'll lay on the D2+ is support for h.264 videos. In the two years since the original D2, the worlds of online-video downloads and podcasts have exploded, and much of the content uses the iPod-compatible h.264 video format as a standard. If you could drag and drop this content onto the D2+ without tedious conversion, life would be sweet. For what it's worth, I was able to natively play the small-format XVID files offered over at Revision3.
The third thing I noticed that I'm a little bummed about is that Cowon left off the metal accents that made the original D2 feel so classy and durable. Instead, the D2+ uses an all-plastic design that, frankly, feels just a little cheaper than the original D2. To make up for it, though, Cowon is selling a kit of metallic stickers (sold separately) to give your D2+ a little added *bling.* The decals are a fun idea (kinda), but it sure ain't metal.
I'll have more thoughts to share next week. Until then, take a look at.