Cowon D3 review:

Cowon D3

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Typical Price: £280.00
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2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

1.5 stars 1 user review

The Good Good sound quality; excellent video playback; impressive AMOLED screen; good range of features.

The Bad Expensive; buggy software.

The Bottom Line The Cowon D3 Plenue media player offers great video and audio quality. Unfortunately, its tweaked Android 2.3 Gingerbread software is buggy, making the device frustrating to use and difficult to recommend.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

5.5 Overall

Cowon's D3 Plenue media player runs the Android operating system, supports a tonne of audio and video file formats, packs 32GB of storage space, and offers Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can use it to access the Web. But, priced at around £280, it's slightly more expensive than Apple's 32GB iPod touch, which costs around £250, so is it worth the extra moolah?

Intelligent design?

The D3 looks more like an Android smart phone than a traditional MP3 player. Its all-black case is fairly dull, although Cowon has added a tapered edge at the bottom where the three touch-sensitive controls sit.

The front is dominated by the 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, but there are a few physical buttons around the edges, including three playback controls on the right-hand side that sit above a volume rocker switch. The left-hand edge houses a power button that doubles as a lock switch and, beneath this, there's a microSD card slot. This allows you to add up to another 32GB of storage on top of the built-in 32GB.

Annoyingly, the 3.5mm headphone jack is positioned on the bottom of the device, which makes it awkward to put the D3 in a pocket. The D3 also uses a proprietary USB port for syncing with a PC. It doesn't charge over USB, though, so you can't easily top it up from a laptop when you're travelling.

On the plus side, the proprietary USB port can be used to output video over HDMI if you purchase the optional adaptor lead, which costs £9 or so. Our model didn't come with this lead, so we couldn't test this feature out.

The 3.7-inch touchscreen has a resolution of 480x800 pixels. It uses AMOLED technology rather than the TFT LCD tech found on the likes of the iPod touch. AMOLED screens can be easier on battery life as they don't use a backlight. Instead the material itself is light-emitting.

The propriety USB port can double up as an HDMI output if you buy an optional adaptor cable.

The D3's screen is excellent. Colours look rich and natural, and the display doesn't suffer from the bluish tinge that afflicts some AMOLED screens we've seen on other devices. It also produces superbly deep black levels, which helps images to look suitably high-contrast and cinematic.

The device's video-format support is also impressive. Our sample had no problem playing a range of Xvid, DivX and HD MKV files.

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