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Old 11-12-2010, 11:12 AM
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Default COWON X7...this was supposed to be an unboxing and happy times

Please keep in mind I have had this device for less than 18hrs and even less than that with it functioning 100%

My X7 arrived 11/10/2010 to much excitement. My heart did sink a little when I realized that the X7 is using the same method of initializing and updating new files placed on the device as the J3, which has given me countless issues with my 32GB model. My 16GB still remains unaffected by the repeated transfer issues the 32GB J3 suffers from, regardless of what files I put on it. So I was skeptical to begin with about how file transfers would go with the X7.

I loaded up the X7 with about 12gigs of music initially and was able to enjoy some time with the player even while being unhappy with a few things I was noticing now that I was seeing the device up close and personal. Before transferring any files to the player I did however notice that even under Parallels, immediately connecting the X7 to an Apple computer creates several ghost folders in the top level directory .Spotlight, .Trashes and .DS_Store. At first I thought the player came with this "junk" on it but realized shortly after that this was highly unlikely.

This may be why the exportprive.com service personnel over GTalk told me they advice never ever connecting the X7 or J3 to an Apple computer. He was the most polite and curious about my question as to why the products are being advertised as being compatible with MAC OS X when indeed they are not.

*Please note - my devices are not connected directly under MAC OSX. They are connected under a virtual PC environment(Parallels) which apparently can still transfer ghost files from a MAC. Bootcampers I think ye is safe not.

After a little tweaking and already getting that awesome COWON sound I decided to add about 30GB's of music on the device and that was when the "no fun allowed here" police showed up in full uniform. Like my 32GB J3, the device now loads up to a certain % and then just sticks there(see last photo) On the X7, you can see the 3 dots underneath the progress bar being cycled through forever but never resolving, nor does the progress bar move.

I even did a reinstall of windows 98 under a virtual machine to see if I could talk COWON's language but the device doesn't connect the same way it does under Win XP64 and Win 7 and seems to not even show up in Device Manager. Under no OS does it show up under "My Computer " and the device is connected virtually to Win 7, never MAC OSX(except for the exception made below to see if the drive would show up in Disk Utility on MAC.

So I've tried Win 7, Win XP64, Win 98 and MAC OSX(10.5.8) and none of these see the flash rom or HDD. MAC OSX and Win 98 fail to even register anything has been connected. After going over the problem with Export Prive and COWON the device is being sent back and I am opting to receive a refund.

Why a refund and not an exchange? A few brief observations about the X7 beyond the ooh la la of it's SQ and large capacity offering.

1. Due to the awkwardly wide design of this device and the placement of it's buttons I could not help the constant feeling that I was going to drop this quite a bit. It's just not a very good design for one handed use and even two hands feel unnatural because of the size and placement of the buttons. It's also a device whose main strengths are not utilized by turning it horizontal(except for videos) so "awkward" springs to mind before "convenient".

I "think" COWON was aware of this and I noticed there were some options under system I had not gotten around to playing with that seems like it might give the device the ability to be touchscreen only. It was "Touch Screen" and "Touch Screen(can't remember the rest)". If this is the case and you buy an X7, you'll soon realize why the option is there. If it's not for this function and COWON actually thinks this can be controlled with one hand someone may want to remind them humans do not have suckers on their fingers.

2. The X7 feels a little sluggish and some things are not as easy to control as you'd imagine given the larger screen size.

3. I can't really see myself watching movies on this and being happy knowing what things look like on my other devices. I think the screen resolution is a bigger deal breaker than some realize once you're holding in person. Some of you got this from just the specs. I didn't buy this for video though.

4. Why is COWON using an outdated OS, that Microsoft will no longer support? If you click on the article keep in mind the date. Four years later COWON is still pushing Win 98 on devices.
I've decided to get a replacement and try this again but in a windows only environment. I'm too attracted by the size of the players HDD to give up on this just yet.

COWON's X7 UI -

As with many a COWON UI, consistency and a complete top level, integrated feel is severely lacking and goes from good to bad to fairly awful at a fairly uncomfortable speed. At the devices resolution, the icons feel horsey and in no way makes me think about bringing sexy back but anyone looking for an easier time navigating the device due to poor eye site or otherwise may actually find the horsey icons rather useful and a relief.

Be forewarned I did notice the font size in many areas still remains at what looks like 9pt typography but the icons themselves are definitely bigger. An RSS feed icon as the radio button? Really COWON? Maybe that and the "browser" icon is what set Engadget off on a rant about not having wi-fi. As an advertising professional and someone who has dabbled in icon design in the past I'd have to say don't get hung up on the UI because it's one of the worse I've seen in awhile. Consistency between various sections seem like an odd mismatch in true COWON fashion.

X7 Sound Quality -

You'll get the same expected COWON SQ you've come to love though I'm not crazy about the EQ and User settings UI. I found the EQ controls rather difficult to adjust and I can't remember a COWON EQ that I had to work so hard to get just right. I think whoever designed the some of the UI's either used a stylus or was told the device might be supplied with one.


X7 Responsiveness - UPDATED 11/24/2010

I did not change any settings relative to the touch screen or calibration settings but it did feel slower and more sluggish when browsing than my J3. I would like to point out that the X7 on it's own merits when not compared to another device is not sluggish. Far from it. Just when compared to a quick side by side with my J3 that was my initial take.

Initial thoughts -

If I had not run into this transfer problem I would have kept the device. My initial reactions and thoughts would probably remain unchanged and the X7 would be a device where shuffle starts and I never look at it again. It's just to awkwardly sized and designed to use it in a truly portable manner and I didn't even bother mentioning the screen resolution and videos because I was so underwhelmed by what I saw after looking at their demo videos.

UCI's will eventually be created and if you need a large capacity player and do not use a MAC, this maybe what you've been waiting for. If you buy this expecting it to replace something more current and you plan to moan all day about why it doesn't have this or have that, close the COWON X7 page now and forget they even made this device.

--The End--

As with true exportprive.com service, I did not order the items in the first photo. They were all gifts that will now be returned with the device.






















If you see the above screen on a COWON device and it hasn't moved for more than 5 minutes you can proceed with screams of anguish. Forget that bit about grown men don't cry *sniffle.

What's next?

I'll keep you guys updated but I don't know if I can go through a similar process of sending a brand new device back and forth to be repaired every time it bricks, this time to Korea. I still have not received my 32GB J3 back from JetAudio and now I'm returning a bricked X7 back to Korea.
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Last edited by Future Tomorrow; 11-24-2010 at 11:25 AM. Reason: a few grammatical edits
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2010, 11:42 AM
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I have not been a cowon fan for many years , it just seems they have been going backwards in usability and such. I do however enjoy your photos , nice depth of field and nice ambient lighting and such.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
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I have not been a cowon fan for many years , it just seems they have been going backwards in usability and such. I do however enjoy your photos , nice depth of field and nice ambient lighting and such.
Glad you like the photos Yuki. Thank you. I'm not sure what their problem is but they continually seem to take 3 good steps forward and then take 10 backwards.

After my IM conversation about my 32GB J3 yesterday with JetAudio I'm fairly certain I'm done with COWON as a company.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:16 AM
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@FT: Wow, thanks for the hands on feedback. Hope TDS is paying attention here. Glad you opted with ExportPrive - very nice folks there as I recall.

A shame - but again very much enjoyed reading your saga! And yes, great photos. Only thing I would suggest is maybe adding some kind of thing to indicate size/scale in some shots. You know, like a US quarter or something or like a Bic lighter which would be more universal.

Thanks again for the great read...
-les
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:23 AM
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@FT, great review/photos. hmm... when i sent my S9 for repair it came back to me within a week and a half! i was shocked. they repaired my screen from that one scratch which i never even mentioned! my S9 got bricked by trying to install J3 Firmware *HA!

wonder what made your X7 brick? hmm...
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:35 AM
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That's pretty much what I expected the X7 to be (except the usual Mac-Autodestroy for anything that isn't an iPod). Thanks for confirming my suspicions, Future Tomorrow.

Not everything is a step backwards with Cowon, though. The J3, S9, and i9 are very nice players for what they are - but it seems the X7 was developed by the team that is responsible for Cowon's idiotic backward PMPs, such as the O2 and V5.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestatar View Post
@FT: Wow, thanks for the hands on feedback. Hope TDS is paying attention here. Glad you opted with ExportPrive - very nice folks there as I recall.

A shame - but again very much enjoyed reading your saga! And yes, great photos. Only thing I would suggest is maybe adding some kind of thing to indicate size/scale in some shots. You know, like a US quarter or something or like a Bic lighter which would be more universal.

Thanks again for the great read...
-les
It was at my suggestion FT posted this thread, as we BOTH feel everyone should know of the continuing issues that Cowon players seem to have w/other OS's besides Windows. I'm just sorry FT can't get to enjoy it.

All in all I'm disappointed w/Cowon, as I was hoping for more from this player. I'm staying away, since I might break and run for the Creative ZiiO 7" tablet - android games on it look quite good for resistive. I just hope the battery life is half-decent when I can get my hands on 1. Damn, I might go Archos 43 now as well, since BOTH seem like better options than the X7.

FT: Glad to see you posted this, since people need to be informed of the possible probs w/a MAC OS device.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:30 PM
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@The Darkside, i was too looking at the Acrhos 43s. can't beat those but the SQ probably sucks. though a DAP with Wifi of that size is awesome to me
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:48 PM
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@les

Great suggestion on the Bic lighter Les! Just took a few shots and will either update the pics above or add a new one below. Export Prive is definitely taking care of me and their tech support had even called the evening of to see what we could make happen over the phone. I'll definitely be ordering from them again and wanted to do an exchange before a return but they don't have anything I like and I see no Galaxy 50.

@FURR

Thx FURR. When I sent my 32GB J3 in the first time I received it back very quickly and it was comparable to the week and a half you mentioned. Instead of fixing the raised glass and initialize issue they just gave me a new device that had neither problem but this clearly did not answer my question about file corruption or MAC compatibility.

In my case what's made the X7 and J3(only affects my 32GB model J3...weird right?) brick is either corrupted files being put on the player or being connected to a MAC or Parallels where ghost folders and files are being placed on the device. However without hard data and a complete read of the devices "bricked" state from Cowon or JetAudio I doubt any one person can answer this question with 100% certainty.

And I'm less enthusiastic about keeping up with COWON/JetAudio when they send me the following emails after having my device in hand for almost 3 full weeks - 11/12/2010 -

Quote:
Dear Customer,

Based on our service technicians notes, they do not have a clearcut explanation on why or how this problem is occuring. The only thing that we can relate to this problem is the database being corrupted somehow. What operating system and files are you loading into the J3? Also, we updated the firmware to the latest and so far all is well with your device. It will ship out by next week.
This means the J3 will most probably be bricked once again and so will the X7 if replaced because COWON/JetAudio cannot tell me how to avoid this repeated event beyond their vendors saying "don't plug the device into a mac." That's not a solution, it's a cop out and MAC users need to know whether they can reliably connect and use these devices on their platform of choice as advertised by the manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
snipped...
Not everything is a step backwards with Cowon, though. The J3, S9, and i9 are very nice players for what they are - but it seems the X7 was developed by the team that is responsible for Cowon's idiotic backward PMPs, such as the O2 and V5.
Agreed. I definitely generalized there and COWON does make good players notably the ones you mentioned and I'd also throw in my D2 in the mix as well. I think when all is said and done however, the X7 will not be favorably looked at painfully because of what it is and lacks vs what it could have been within reason. It didn't have to be the next "big thing" or have wi-fi(can't say it wouldn't have been nice though) but after the J3 this doesn't feel like a company with clear direction into where the market is or may be heading.

I really wanted this device to be awesome despite the worrisome specs because it was mainly going to be a large capacity MP3 player but I couldn't have imagined it would have felt so wrong and brick on me within less than 12hrs of ownership.

The tech at Export Prive did mention they had one other issue on file since they started shipping the X7 and it was a MAC user as well.

I have noticed though that after bricking a COWON device, somehow Disk Utility on MAC and Win 7 will recognize the device one last time. I reformatted and saved 2 J3's like this before and could have saved the X7 under OS X but had so many devices connected I didn't realize until it was to late that the X7 was indeed "Disk 6"(HDD) and "Disk 6"(Flash memory)and the reformat button in Disk Utility was clickable.

Since removing the device I have been unable to get it to reappear in Disk Utility, Disk Warrior or Tech Tool Pro and under MAC OS X 10.5.8 and Win 7 it's only recognized as a "composite device".
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:55 PM
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If the X7 uses a Telechips SOC like most other Cowons, it might be possible to unbrick it with TCCtool (as long as someone finds out the correct SDCGF value).
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:17 PM
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For scale:



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Old 11-14-2010, 03:25 PM
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If the X7 uses a Telechips SOC like most other Cowons, it might be possible to unbrick it with TCCtool (as long as someone finds out the correct SDCGF value).


A Telechips it is but I wouldn't know where to begin in obtaining the correct SDCGF value.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:28 PM
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PID 0xb057 means it's a Telechips TCC7901 - same chip as the S9 and J3. So the correct SDCFG for the X7 might already be available, and unbricking it might actually be possible already (since both the S9 and J3 can be unbricked with the same settings).

Either 0xa1102800 or 0xaaac7800 might work.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:46 PM
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@FT, i'm sorry to hear about your issue. DFKT might be right. i would go over to iAudiophile and to THIS Thread. i think one of the users maybe able to help you.

Here's the Link for Sticky for How-To recover S9/J3
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:34 PM
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Sorry to hear your issues! Your topics are quite informing, though.

No one has had these sort of problems on Windows?
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:28 PM
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Well, I did receive a a bricked S9 (USED) from Cowon via Amazon awhile back, and I used the info I found on iAudiophile to unbrick it - I never had an issue w/it afterward. Just saying, but not everyone has success - YMMV.
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:41 PM
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I own a Macbook Pro... I bricked an S9 a few months back when attempting to load it with a large amount of mp3s. Totally gave up and took it back. Ive never had a problem with my D2+ when loading mp3s in the same manner. Im fearing similar problems will happen with X7 if I were to get it. Is the D2+ system somewhat different from the S9 somehow, that it can handle files S9 cant? Wanted a hi capacity mp3 player, hate the ipod sound and itunes requirement so had to pass on the Classic. Was hoping the X7 would fit the bill, but who needs the brick possibility always looming?
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:26 AM
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I own a Macbook Pro... I bricked an S9 a few months back when attempting to load it with a large amount of mp3s. Totally gave up and took it back. Ive never had a problem with my D2+ when loading mp3s in the same manner. Im fearing similar problems will happen with X7 if I were to get it. Is the D2+ system somewhat different from the S9 somehow, that it can handle files S9 cant? Wanted a hi capacity mp3 player, hate the ipod sound and itunes requirement so had to pass on the Classic. Was hoping the X7 would fit the bill, but who needs the brick possibility always looming?
Thank you for verifying "when attempting to load it with large amounts of mp3s". This and nothing more is what I have been doing every single time all J3's brick on me and now the X7 the same thing. I load a little bit and everything is fine, then I go for gold and load several items simultaneously or large folders with 14gb or 22gb of music, safely eject and the device is bricked. Every single time. It doesn't matter what set of folders/genres/mp3's or flac once it's a large transfer, I can be guaranteed the device will brick. Like you, my D2 has no problem transferring any amounts of files at any time of day and my A2 definitely had no issues.

I personally plan to hold off, send COWON strongly worded letters and not buy their products until this is resolved. It's absolutely ridiculous and it's not like their players are cheap either.
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
PID 0xb057 means it's a Telechips TCC7901 - same chip as the S9 and J3. So the correct SDCFG for the X7 might already be available, and unbricking it might actually be possible already (since both the S9 and J3 can be unbricked with the same settings).

Either 0xa1102800 or 0xaaac7800 might work.
Thanks a million for providing these dfkt! Unfortunately no cigar here for me and I'm all out of energy for the night.

@FURR. Thanks for the link. It was one of the first places I checked yesterday but couldn't get that to work. The X7 is not letting me replace the driver with the one in Tcctools. No matter how I try I'm continually being told the latest driver is installed for my device and cannot be updated due to an unsigned error. If I uninstall the driver, disconnect and then reconnect so that the driver installation can do a fresh install it fails as well and I'm back to square one.

Got it to work 11/15/2010 under win XP64 pro - the above was win 7
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Last edited by Future Tomorrow; 11-15-2010 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:16 AM
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@FT: thanks a ton and yes, great thread, though sadly some issues.

dfkt, wg: perhaps sticky this one for a while?
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