66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
While the ipod Touch has wifi and games, its audio and video quality are mediocre. If you sincerely care about your music and videos, the Cowon S9 is superb at bringing out the best of both. Cowon's legendary sound quality is as one would expect from its latest media player, but the AMOLED screen is what made me decide to purchase this over the itouch. It is 1000x more responsive than LCD and has 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio improvement, making watching videos on this thing quite amazing. Everything is very sharp and high quality videos don't blur in movement. Best of all, there's no need to spend six or seven hours converting a 2 hour movie if it's in AVI or WMV, so it's much easier to enjoy videos. If you're more into music, the S9 supports FLAC and OGG for audiophiles, allowing you to enjoy your music the way it was meant to be listened to.
The UI is not THAT clumbsy. It's not as crystal smooth as the touch, but it's much better than a lot of touchscreens IMO. The UI takes some getting used to, but once you know all the shortcuts, you'll be handling it like a pro, easily getting to where you want to go. With a dual core 500mhz processor, it's more than capable of handling whatever you throw at it, so that's not what's causing the occasional lag, but rather some firmware bugs that will likely be resolved quickly.
Cowon loves the S9 and will be sure to improve it even further than it is now so that everyone can enjoy it. Already people are customizing the interface to how they see fit and soon programmers will fix issues and offer alternatives, so there's no reason not to buy the S9 if you're afraid of its interface being faulty.
The itouch is the jack of all trades, but the S9 is truly the ace of music and video performance. If you're looking for quality over quantity, the S9 is sure to please. If you find the lack of uselessly abundant features a turn off, then feel free to try something else.
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Cowon is famous for it's media players. Latest in the line is this beautiful S9 Curve. The first thing I look for when I get a new player is the latest firmware. Cowon is on the ball. Version 2.05 came out before mine arrived, and I ordered mine from Jetmall.net the first day they were available in the U.S.. Version 2.06 came out 12/24. We're already up to 2.30 and the S9 just keeps getting better. I've always thought Cowon's players were bulky and not very practical or portable. The S9 changes the rules. Clearly Cowon has noticed that beautiful, innovative looks can help sell players.
What they didn't do was forget it's a media player. Music is best is class. Video is amazing shown on it's 3.3" AMOLED widescreen. Photos follow suite. If you're old enough to need reading glasses the Zoom feature makes apps with text easier to read/see with a simple slide of your finger. File format support is broad. You can drag and drop media directly onto the S9, use Windows Media Player, or use the Jetaudio app that comes included to put media on it.
Now with 32gb capacity you'll have room for movies and photos worth watching on that beautiful screen. Get the inexpensive video output cable and serve up movies to your TV. You'll get up to 50 hours music and 10 hours video playback with one battery charge. Don't forget FLASH game/app support, FM radio with recording, voice recording, and Bluetooth for wireless headphones. There is no Wifi or what it brings, but it's also $100 less than the iPod Touch of the same memory capacity.
Be sure and keep the firmware updated. Cowon is sending updates out each month, and each one has brought significant improvement. Best touchscreen player of 2009 I'll predict.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Excellent Sound Quality
Amazing OLED screen
Infinity tweakable interface
Great codec support
Frequent firmware updates and new features provided by Cowon
Screen difficult to read in bright direct sunlight
Default user interface can be a bit un-intuitive
This is a great player. The screen is absolutely great, except in direct sunlight, which makes it pretty much unreadable. The price is great for the capacity, and the fact that you can run different user interfaces (UI) means that if you don't like the way it is by default (which isn't bad), you can just download one that you like. If you know how to program flash, you can make your own, because Cowon makes it really easy.
The greatest thing is that Cowon is constantly updating the firmware, about once a month. Each one brings new features, such as the latest (as of late July 2009) was gapless playback for many music formats. Just make sure that you rip your music properly.
The S9 has great video format support, including Xvid, DivX, and WMV. The videos look great on the screen, and playback is smooth.
It supports both MSC (Mass storage, like a flash drive) and MTP (media transfer protocol, use Windows Media Player or equivalent to sync), so you can get the best of both worlds.
It's really a good player if you want a nice looking, touchscreen player,and you are moderately good with computers, but you don't want Wi-Fi and tons of other features you may not use. My thinking was that I would rather have something that does a few things really well, like the S9, rather than something that stretches itself too thin, like an unnamed Apple product.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Mark D. Schnittman
- Published on Amazon.com
Update: I have owned the S9 for a few weeks now. Here are my thoughts...
Great form factor. Battery life is amazing -- the unit can go about 2 weeks before the battery runs low. Stellar audio quality. The UI has it's quirks -- navigation for common tasks can require a few presses, but it's still a lot better than other units I've owned. I've been using Media Monkey to manage my music library and sync with the S9, and this has proved to be a winning combination. I splurged and purchased the Pro version. It will take me some time to fix the tags in my MP3 files, but Media Monkey does a pretty good job at most library management that I need, and I have a lot of music. I am very happy with this player, and would still give it 5 stars.
This is the 3rd MP3 player that I have owned. My first was an iRiver HP-120, which was absolutely awesome, but was getting a little technologically dated. I then made the mistake of buying a Zune 120 GB. The capacity, build quality, and form factor were awesome, but the walled garden of MS's terrible software eventually led me elsewhere. Furthermore, the sound quality was just OK (and no EQ settings!), and the battery life was way overstated by MS. The online 'social' was useless to me -- I'm a grown adult, and I own a vast music collection that I started when I was a kid. I purchased a Cowon i6 for my wife about 2 years ago, and she still loves and uses it everyday -- so I thought I would give the S9 a try. I read some encouraging reviews of it, and it's slim pickin's these days for a true MP3 player not aimed at the average teenager. I received it this morning, and let me tell you, this little device is awesome. The sound quality is truly impressive, as others have reported, which is one attribute that Cowon players are known for. The screen is also amazing -- the OLED technology really shows off it's stuff on this thing. The touch screen is actually quite nice, and responds well. Those with small or large fingers shouldn't have a problem here. The dedicated volume, track, play/pause buttons are welcome, and the build quality is high. The selection of materials, the fit in the hand, and the size and weight are perfect. I also purchased a Cowon leather case for mine, which fits like a glove, while allowing full access to all of the important bits. I'm still learning the UI and the various features, but it seems like almost every aspect of the device can be customized. The UI is great, fairly easy to navigate, and the device responds quickly. I can't comment on the battery life yet, but I'm sure that it will be as advertised. The unit charged initially for 2.5 hours on AC when unboxed, and I upgraded to the latest firmware before starting to use it.
In short, this MP3 player looks like a keeper. I feel like an idiot for not buying it sooner. I will post an update to this review as I continue to become familiar with it, but so far, this looks like the one for me. Check one out for yourself -- I think you'll agree.
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This review is for Cowon S9 16gb with 2.09 firmware - note that future firmware upgrades *may* change what I write here! I will also not comment on sound quality as it is entirely subjective (and depends on headphones).
The slim curved form of the player sure has gotten lots of hype - not undeserving - it feels great in the palm of my hand. The materials (though plastic) have good solid feel to them, as is the glass screen. Titanium color looks great and understated. There are however several issues: due to its curve, its thicker than lets say a P2, thus if you place it on an edge (of a stationary bike, etc) it is less stable. It is also impossible to operate the touch screen while the player is on a flat surface - it rocks back and forth. I actually prefer P2's form factor (though not its crappy build).
The touch interface is very nice - much better than P2, however the glass does not feel as smooth as I expect(maybe some scratch-resistant surface cover on it). Touch UI misfires sometimes, but overall it is acceptable. It is of course awesome that Cowon included hard buttons for all major operations of the player (volume, rev/ffw, pause/play, hold) - its awesome in the gym. Unfortunately the hold/power button is in a terrible position - right next to the phones jack - and if phones are plugged in, it is hard to access the power toggle at times (depends on the plug I guess).
The User Interface is mixed ... the music library browser is excellent, as is ability to zoom in almost any screen. However, I do not think Cowon used an actual usability designer - for example, when playing a track if I want to go back to list of artists, I have to press a soft-button on top left, then another button on bottom left (thus making it very hard to do this one-handed). Curiously there are NO customizations of the interface - NONE! Cannot even set a background! There are two sets of icons you can pick for the main interface that bounce into the main menu - but that bounce gets old real fast yet cannot be turned off. Note - there are now multiple themes available for download (not from Cowon - but from the user community) to address Cowon's shortcomings.
Playback is very good - we have access to file info (bit rate, file type), nice display of album art, and easy navigation. What is truly awesome is a 'bookmarking' feature that not only remembers your place in the file, but also pulls in entire playlist (which is great for mp3-based audiobooks). Unfortunately no dynamic playlists are available (only a single 'Favorites' list). There is also an odd - and extremely lame - coverflow feature. Besides being terribly slow, I have not ever figured out why its useful in a 16gb player. And of course there is no gapless playback (to disappoint fans of Pink Floyd I am sure).
Then there is the AMOLED screen - which is quiet spectacular. It is sharp and colorful, and is simply delight. The possibilities (if ever implemented by Cowon) are endless! The screen flips and rotates using a built-in accelerometer - a feature so annoying I wish there was a way to shut it off! . In reality its only useful for movies, text, and photo. I wish it was disabled in music mode (would be great for it to be a setting one can set: Disable G-Sensor in Music Mode: Yes/No). Update - Firmware 2.07 allows shutoff of the g-sensor in Music mode .
The radio is terrible. Probably worst I've ever heard (its related to the tuner I think - not to the sound quality). The UI for radio is ok, but sluggish 'analog' dial and a total lack of RDS support (that even P2 had!) is a shame.
Bluetooth audio quality is fantastic - and all sound enhancements are available via BT (unlike P2). Unfortunately performance goes downhill during BT streaming - especially in movies. Entire interface becomes extremely sluggish (generally not an issue except when watching movies). Unfortunately, no support for BT transfer is available. It may be slow, but in a pinch it would have been nice - especially transferring photos from cell phones.
So in summary,
- Beautiful Amoled screen.
- Great feel in hand, excellent build quality, and nice titanium/black color.
- Good sound quality and decent number of sound enhancements.
- Well implemented media library navigation.
- File Bookmarking which remembers the playlist.
- Decent electrostatic touch interface.
- Bluetooth with great sound quality (to me at least).
- Support for FLAC and OGG formats.
- Great battery life (I accidentally left it running overnight - it was playing for 10 hours straight and barely lost the juice.
Cons (in no particular order):
- No RDS support for the radio and poor radio tuning quality.
- No Gapless playback.
- No UI customization - not even setting a wallpaper (still nothing from Cowon, though community has fixed some of Cowon's blunders there).
- Somewhat thoughtless UI implementation (I didn't bother going into all the different issues in the review).
- A 20-pin data cable that is hard to find in the USA. May want to order an extra or two online just in case.
- No way to shut off accelerometer (Fixed for Music mode in Firmware 2.07)
- No accessories of any kind (armbands, etc). Update - some accessories are available now - but still no armbands.
- Only a single on-the-go playlist (P2 for example had 5).
- No support for standard playlist files (like .m3u). Playlists not supported in MSC (standard USB drive) mode.
- Performance lag when BT is streaming.
- No BT file transfer support to feed the player.
I sincerely hope that majority of the issues I listed will be fixed by later firmware - but I have my doubts. If they do take care of all this - which they can if they really try - S9 will be truly awesome!
Updated with a few more pros/cons.
Updated on 1/10/2009 due to release of 2.07 firmware.
Updated on 3/6/2009 for BT and a few minor comments.