The iAudio 9 comes in a unique, cone-shaped plastic package.

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The base of the package offers ideas on how to re-purpose the container as a flower pot. I suppose this makes up for the fact that it's not exactly clear if the packaging is recycleable.

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The iAudio 9 measures 3.5 inches long. Most of the face is covered with acrylic, with the exception of a slightly raised space near the bottom for the built-in speaker.

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The bottom of the player is relatively featureless, except for a loop hole near the bottom (left) and a few pieces of text.

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The right side of the iAudio 9 includes a menu button and a power button that pulls double duty as a hold switch.

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On the bottom edge you have a headphone jack right at the center, with a loop hole at its left and a covered micro USB jack on the right.

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The left edge includes a rocker switch for volume control and a pinhole microphone.

Learn more about the Cowon iAudio 9.
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In this close-up shot, you can see the grille for the internal speaker, as well as the backlit capacitive navigation controls.

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Music playback includes full-screen album artwork and a progress bar across the bottom indicating elapsed time.

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Main menu icons are displayed in a diagonal line, reflecting the equally diagonal navigation control strip below the screen. From left to right, icons represent: music; video; photos; text; FM radio; voice recorder; Flash media; and settings.

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The Cowon iAudio 9 is up against some steep competition with the Apple iPod Nano. The iAudio 9 is slightly less expensive, but doesn't share the Nano's video camera, radio pausing/tagging, pedometer, integrated podcast management, or video rental capabilities.

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Although the iAudio 9 is much thinner than the iAudio 7 that preceded it, it still can't compare with the slim design of the Apple iPod Nano.

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The packaging of the iAudio 9 is specially designed to snap together to form a vase, making it somewhat less likely to go directly into a landfill.

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