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.
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.
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.
The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Last edited by Future Tomorrow; 11-24-2010 at 12:25 PM. Reason: a few grammatical edits
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