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Cowon D3 (photos)

Take a closer look at the Cowon D3, an Android-based portable media player with a 3.7-inch OLED screen.

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Donald_Bell.jpg
Donald Bell
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
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Cowon D3

Cowon's latest, greatest portable media player--the D3--landed on my desk packaged like a tree-hugger's dream. The box is made from untreated cardboard, printed with soy-based inks, and uses recyclable plastic inserts.

Priced at $370, let's hope the D3 isn't destined for the garbage heap anytime soon.

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Cowon D3

Open the box, and you'll find the Cowon D3 (left), a printed manual (bottom), and a box filled with a wall charger, proprietary USB cable, software CD, and earbuds.
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Cowon D3

The D3's design is indistinguishable from most modern-day smartphones. It uses a 3.7-inch OLED touch-screen display, and runs a customized version of Google's Android 2.1 operating system.
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Cowon D3

Across the bottom of the D3's screen, you'll find tactile buttons for home, menu, and back, which are typical of all Android devices.
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Cowon D3

The left side of the Cowon D3 includes a power/hold button, along with a microSD memory card slot.
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Cowon D3

On the bottom of the Cowon D3, you'll find a headphone out(left), a dock connector (middle) for USB transfer or HDMI out (sold separately), and a port for the power adapter (right), which is necessary for recharging or any hope of playing an HD movie back to your TV without running out of juice.
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Cowon D3

There are a bunch of buttons on the right edge of the D3--too many, in fact. You get a pair of volume buttons (left) and three track control buttons for skip back, skip forward, and play/pause. The X-ray vision required to tell these buttons apart in the dark is not included.
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Cowon D3

One of the D3's most prized assets is its OLED screen, which provides crisp, vibrant colors, similar to the Microsoft Zune HD.
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Cowon D3

Booted up, you can see that Cowon did a lot of work to make the Android interface look unique. Even common Android interface gestures--such as swiping up to access the apps menu--have been changed (needlessly).
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Cowon D3

Of course, once you dig into the Cowon D3's collection of apps, it begins to sink in that there's no Android Market installed, and no hope of pushing the devices capabilities beyond its stock features--short of rooting the device and side-loading your own software.

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