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Christmas Gift Guide

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

Cowon D3

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.

Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
The left side of the Cowon D3 includes a power/hold button, along with a microSD memory card slot.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
One of the D3's most prized assets is its OLED screen, which provides crisp, vibrant colors, similar to the Microsoft Zune HD.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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).
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Donald Bell/CNET
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