It may surprise you, but there's still a demand for MP3 players without photo and video playback features. Some people just want a compact device that plays music and makes exceptional work of it. For those users, there's the Cowon iAudio T2, a rectangular, black flash player available in 1GB and 2GB ($160) capacities. Sure, the T2 offers some nice extras, such as an FM tuner and a wearable, pendant-style design, but these don't distract from its main purpose: outputting great-sounding audio.
The iAudio T2 is tiny and light--2 by 1.1 by 0.5 inches, 0.86 ounces--as is required for a pendant-style MP3 player, but the tactile buttons that line the edges of the device are easy to operate and don't seem too crowded, though there is room for them to be a bit more spread out. On one side, you get play/pause and shuttle keys for track-skipping and menu selection, while the other side offers menu and volume controls. The bottom of the T2 holds the proprietary USB port and reset button, and the top contains the headphone jack. This can accommodate the included lanyard earbuds with a special locking mechanism, or you can simply use any standard pair of headphones. The front of the player sports a rather small four-line OLED screen, but its text is bright and easy to read.
As with other iAudio players, navigating the T2 is relatively simple but takes some practice. The main screen is the playback screen, which displays the time, track number, playback mode (shuffle, repeat, and so on), battery meter, levels meters, time elapsed/remaining, and scrolling song title. Although the player was set to show ID3 tag info, only the song title would appear; we couldn't figure out how to remedy this. One click of the Menu key brings you to the music navigation area, and you can view music by the usual categories (artist, album, and so on) or use folder browsing. The shuttle buttons shift through the levels of the music menu, while the +/- controls are used for scrolling. This is where navigating the menus or browsing for songs can get tricky since you need to use buttons on both the top and bottom to get the job done. It can be maddening at first, but you'll get used to it. Two clicks on the Menu button takes you to the top screen where you can select from Music, Settings, FM Radio, and Voice Recording.