Cowon D20: back to 2006…

D20 b 560x560 Cowon D20: back to 2006...

We were used to Cowon not innovating for almost 2 years now but now we’ll have to deal with Cowon re-releasing old players. Indeed, after the D2 in 2006 and the D2+ in 2009, here is the D20 in 2013! Is this the D2+ Plus?

The recipe is easy: take a D2+, keep exactly the same outdated design, just upgrade the CPU and improve battery life. Don’t forget to update it with the terrible C2 UI and there you have it, a fresh new product for almost no cost!

This is really disappointing in 2013. Not to mention the outdated 2.5″ LCD 320×240 touchscreen, most likely still using the resistive technology. Nothing much exciting except the very good battery life (up to 90hrs in audio and 13hrs in video) and the powerful output (29 mW/ch).

The Cowon D20 is available in 8, 16 and 32GB capacities featuring an SD slot for expansion. Unfortunately this is not a SDXC slot, so you will be stuck with 32GB cards officially and possibly 64GB (or more) cards unofficially. That’s if they follow SD version 3.0 and are reformatted FAT32. But do not expect it to support the upcoming SDXC cards with new SD version 4.0.

That’s also if there is no file number limit in firmware. Past Cowon firmwares have limited the number of files per memory so larger capacity SDXC cards may not be viable in any case.

The usual audio formats are supported, MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV and APE. The BBE+ sound effects are still present. There’s no mention of AAC support but that’s been unofficially present in other Cowons so there’s a good chance that will continue.

The video formats are AVI, WMV (codecs Xvid SP / ASP, WMV 7/8/9). Not quite as extensive as past Cowons but decent.

There’s also a FM tuner, a built-in speaker and a composite TV-out. Dimensions are 78 x 55,4 x 16,6 mm and weight is 86 g.

Strangely this device has been spotted on Cowon Russia website first but it should be released in other countries too. No prices have been announced yet.

[Cowon Russia via iAudiophile | Thanks to Kizune for the tip]

D20 560x560 Cowon D20: back to 2006...


Marvin the Martian on March 11, 2013 6:35 PM

I’m glad my X9 doesn’t have that C2 UI…lol

Bruce on March 11, 2013 6:54 PM

You can easily get around the C2 UI with custom UI, which then makes the player very usable and a joy to have.

BSR on March 11, 2013 11:53 PM

Are they just going through the motions, hoping to squeeze a few more pennies out of a dying market?

iRiver and Cowon used to be innovators who’s new releases I drooled over. The last few years there has been a steady parade of poorly conceived devices or last year’s technology. This is just sad….

Nick on March 12, 2013 6:11 AM

2 things
1) Was beginning to think this site was dead after nothing since November. What’s happen?
2) Cowon that’s pathetic. Your player is bad and you should feel bad.

Chef on March 12, 2013 6:11 PM

This could be reasonable, but only if they are selling them very cheap from parts they had left over. Definitely not worth over 100 bucks, but if all you need is a simple PMP, and your other options are all becoming 400 dollar phones, it might not be the worst possible idea.

I wonder if Cowon really will make the jump to the tablet / phone market. Maybe they are just trying to get rid of old stuff before they do. I’m not terrifically interested in smart phones, but I might by a tablet from cowon if it looked competent… Then again, they have a lot of catching up to do and have become notorious for hit and miss UIs. A tablet kind of lives and dies on its UI.

Roy on March 12, 2013 8:06 PM

I’m running fine with D2+ 8GB, Rockbox and 128 GB SDXC. So upgraded battery for 100+ bucks? Naah…

shawn on March 12, 2013 11:33 PM

So rockbox out of the box then right and same full size sd card slot? Makes me actually want one.

tds101 on March 13, 2013 11:17 PM

Since I lost my D2+, and this FINALLY goes to 32gb internal flash, I’m getting this. I can deal with the crappy UI as I know I can always find a Cowon fan who can replace what I don’t like via a great custom UCI. I’m on this!!!

George on March 14, 2013 3:49 AM

C2 looks more stylish…

paulr on March 14, 2013 6:20 AM

I also thought this was a welcome announcement, if for no other reason than it shows Cowon now recognizes that they’re messing up with their newer players. I still use my D2 daily and it’s a great player. For now those of us who only want music players and don’t care about video, as the saying goes, the D2 improved not only on its predecessors but also on its successors. I don’t see the D20 as pretending to be a new player. It’s just a re-introduction (slightly updated) of a perfectly good player that shouldn’t have been discontinued since people still liked it and wanted to buy it. I’ll certainly consider buying one if something happens to my D2. I don’t care about the lack of EXFAT since FAT-formatted SDXC cards should still work perfectly well in it. I just hope they fixed the 8000 file limit.

TC on March 14, 2013 9:07 AM

Bruce, and/or anyone,
Could you please give me a literal step-by-step instruction on where and how to download an improved Cowon C2 custom user interface. AND a step-by-step (every step of the way as I know next to nothing about doing this) of where to put the download on the C2 (what folder, etc). AND any other important details on how to get it installed and actually working. I hate the dopey UI that came with the C2. I just bought it yesterday. Many thanks! -TC

Mike on March 14, 2013 7:50 PM

Because the C2 isn’t sold in the Netherlands anymore, I really hope they will release this one here.

My C2 recently broke and I haven’t found a decent replacement yet, so I’ll definitely buy this one!

And hooray for 90 hours battery life!

paulr on March 15, 2013 6:11 AM

TC, you can get info about C2 user interfaces in the C2 section of

Mike, you can order a C2 from (a big photo and electronics shop in New York) though the international shipping costs may be nontrivial.

TC on March 16, 2013 6:39 PM

Thanks, paulr, but I tried that and the instructions there weren’t very clear, at least for a beginner in this sort of thing. Do you or anyone have a direct link to some necessary files for an alternate user interface for the Cowon C2? Also any details I would need to know for installing and actually getting it to work on the unit? Are there different files for each aspect of the UI?

paulr on March 16, 2013 8:11 PM

Sorry, I don’t have a C2 myself. I suggest you join and post any specific questions to the C2 UCI forum there:

TC on March 16, 2013 9:08 PM

Thanks. I’ll try that.

But if anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it.


Stephen on March 19, 2013 2:46 AM

I though this was an obvious April Fools joke but it’s only mid March !

Bob B on March 19, 2013 10:41 AM

My D2+ has got a bit flakey recently, so I bought an i9. This isn’t a patch on the D2+. All I want is a player that will play my MP3′s etc, has decent battery life for when I’m travelling and has good sound. So, for me, this is a very welcome piece of news!!!

UberNe on March 26, 2013 3:35 PM

I honestly dont get what Iriver and Cowon are thinking now and days. They use to be the innovators of the media market. The Clix 2? Then they went to the crap that is the L player? You know at least Archos is trying with implementing the Android UI. If you arent going to give me wifi access, at least give me something thats sexy like the Clix 2 with expandable memory.

Lancewex on April 2, 2013 12:38 AM

I’d pay $300 for it if they got rid of the file & memory size limit. Maybe even more. I loved my D2 until I reached the limit (and I use the folder navigation and not ID3). The 64GB card was not worth it, it turned out. And Rockbox was so flaky.

chris keats on April 10, 2013 9:08 PM

I just lost my J3. it was awesome, so of course they wouldn’t continue making it. doesn’t anybody at cowon get it?

Rounder6 on April 13, 2013 11:30 PM

Found a price at which is €162 (a bit more than $210) for the 32GB-Version.
Apart from my still loved X5 and my J3, the D2+ is the one I use the most.
Technically it might be a bit “retro” and the UI might be strange for some of us and COWON might have upgraded the remaining spare parts – anyway – it is a great player with a wow-battary lifetime. I have more than enough COWONS (i10, U3, F2, M5) but maybe I buy this one as well :-)

Jonah on April 18, 2013 4:25 PM

I loved the D2 and D2+, and I have had them going literally daily since the I got my D2. With close to 2,300 days of daily use, I am not looking for innovation, a larger screen, or other features. Whatever Cowon’s flaws may be in satisfying their clients or critics, this model, sans-UI, is exactly what some of us are looking for. No frills, no BS, small and tested. I was preparing to go on eBay to look for another D2+, so the (up to) 90 hour playback on a new model is a godsend.

To those of you who believe Cowon doesn’t “get it”, this one isn’t about you. This is for those of us who know what we want in a player, found it some time ago and don’t want to give it up.

Dave on April 19, 2013 12:36 AM

Well, I just ordered mine, should have it Monday. My D2+ got stolen last week but to be honest it was getting a bit flakey. Hopefully I can customise the UI to be closer to the D2+, or better.

Chartres-Poezen on April 24, 2013 2:20 AM

I don’t understand why there is so much hate on the C2 layout. I find it quite nice to use. It’s not perfect, but pretty good, and looks pretty too.

Click mah nem :D

Jaroslav on April 29, 2013 9:58 AM

Hey there, what about some solid review? Did some of you actually get the D20?
Is there a file number limit? What about custom UI, better SD cards compatibility? Rockbox compatibility?
I am using D2+ regularly. To long I guess.. plastic part of power button broke 6 months ago, but the player itself is all right. Retro look suits me perfectly. Sound is great. D20 refined could be nice replacement.

utrack on May 2, 2013 11:17 AM

Number of files and folders recognizable
COWON D20: up to 12,000 folders / 12,000 files (music / video file: 8,000 + others: 4,000).
MicroSD card : up to 12,000 folders / 12,000 files (music / video file: 8,000 + others: 4,000).

~ official D20 manual.
Oh god, why they didn’t fixed that…

Mirador on June 22, 2013 8:47 AM

Buy in Japan in Yodobashi,about 165-175$./32G
In Hong Kong,what a shame!50$ more…

ZombyWoof on July 9, 2013 7:08 PM

I’m still using my D2 model. In fact I’m listening to it right now. I use it every day at work. I haven’t had a need to get a new one yet as it works just fine. But the D20 seems pointless when they have newer, better models to choose from.

Skid Mark on September 4, 2013 5:53 PM

Yay ! Glad to see an updated version of the D2.
This has always been my favorite player next to the J3, and I’ve gone through many.
All I use it for is playing music, have a phone for everything else, and music sounds bad on my phone. The D2 has a bit more power, but not too noticeable. Think this one is 29mW @16 ohms like the J3.
Now, just have to find where to buy one…..

Robert on October 27, 2013 1:59 PM

On sale at now. $189 for 32GB and $139 for 8GB

ALD on December 18, 2013 10:24 PM

my D2 just died, and my first inclination is to replace it with this; however, the Z2 looks so much more modernized in its features, but the only drawback for me is the microphone. does anyone know if the microphone for the D20 and the Z2 are the same quality?

Comments Closed. Please continue the discussion in the forums