CNET First Look
Cowon iAudio E2In the world of supertiny MP3 players, the Cowon E2 delivers great sound, in spite of a confusing design.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Donald Bell: Hey there, I'm Donald Bell, Senior Editor for digital audio and mp3, and this is a first look at the Cohen [assumed spelling] E2. This is a super-small mp3 player with four gigabytes of memory that sells for around $65. Now, just like the Apple iPod Shuffle, the E2 is a deliberately bare-bones music player. There's no FM radio and no screen, but you do get these small buttons on each side to control volume, shuffle mode, power and track skip. There's also a headphone jack on the bottom that doubles as a USB connector when you use the included adapter. One of the more unique features here is the solid metal ring that's integrated into the top of the player. Cohen doesn't exactly spell out what they expect you to do with the ring, but it's sturdy enough to attach to your keychain or connect to a necklace. Now, we have our complaints about the iPod Shuffle, but in this case, the Shuffle still has the E2 beat in nearly every possible way. The Shuffle can announce song information, navigate playlist and offers great support for podcast and audiobooks. It also comes in more colors, whereas the US version of the E2 is only available in black. Not exactly thrilled at the navigation controls on either player, but the E2's small, poorly-labeled buttons offer no practical advantage over the shuffle's headphone remote. On the upside, the Cohen E2 supports formats such as FLAK, AUG and W-made [phonetic] that won't play on the iPod Shuffle, and you also get eight built-in EQ presents that go a long way to improve sound quality. If sound is all you care about, this really does sound better than the iPod Shuffle. Also, if you're just someone who's into gadgets with a minimal design, E2 will probably turn a few more heads than the iPod Shuffle, which is practically invisible. Still, as a public service to anyone considering either the iPod Shuffle or the Cohen E2, I feel compelled to mention the Editor's Choice Award-winning SanDisk Sansa Clip, which you can pick up in the same capacity for around $45. It's arguably not as stylish, but it's infinitely more practical than both of these players and large enough not to end up in the washing machine. For cnet.com, I'm Donald Bell, and that was a first look at the Cohen E2 mp3 player. ^M00:02:09 [ Music ]