There’s been quite some uncertainty and doubt regarding the international release date of the Plenue Z2, the successor to the D3, and Cowon’s second experiment with Google’s Android operating system. We’ve ranted about it as early as January.
This time it sure took Cowon a lot longer than usually to release a device outside of Korea, but it seems they’re almost there. According to Engadget, an “early May” release date should be possible. Apparently, the 16GB version of the Z2 will only come in white and will go for around $280, the 32GB version will only come in black and go for a slightly painful $320.
Those prices are quite a bit higher than, say, same-sized iPod Touch variants, and a lot more expensive than Samsung’s various Galaxy Players. But if you want BBE sound enhancements, many more tactile buttons than average Android devices offer, and a shnazzy S-AMOLED screen (hopefully a non-Pentile one), then you really don’t have a lot of alternatives. At least the Z2 should be snappy enough to be usable as an all-around Android device, contrary to its severely slow and laggy ancestor, the D3.
[via Engadget - thanks to Nathan for the tip]
About a year after their first foray into Android fields, Cowon released the Z2 Plenue in Korea – indirectly admitting the earlier D3 being a beta product… one that customers paid dear money for.
The Z2 is basically the exact same product as the D3 with a few hardware flaws ironed out. The Z2′s 1GHz Telechips Cortex-A8 processor isn’t quite as outdated as the D3′s 750Mhz ARM11 (although it’s still far from what’s usually built into Android devices nowadays), and it has 512MB Ram, which is quite a bit more useful than the D3′s paltry 170MB (usually 60MB free). Gone is also Cowon’s proprietary 32-pin port – the Z2 sports standard MicroUSB and MicroHDMI ports. While this is generally a great update, it might however mean the Z2 doesn’t do S/PDIF-out anymore, as found on the D3′s proprietary port.
The Z2′s screen is a 3.7″ 800 x 480 AMOLED one, just like the D3′s – let’s hope Cowon used one with a real RGB subpixel matrix this time, not an inferior Pentile one. I also hope they got hardware-accelerated video contrast ratio right this time – I’m still hoping for a fix for this glaring bug in the D3… Still available on the Z2 is one of the D3′s best features over almost all other Android devices out there – plenty of tactile buttons, making usability on the go quite a lot easier than touchscreen-only controls. Battery life on the Z2 still isn’t great – 22 hours for music, 8-9 hours for video. Let’s hope those synthetic benchmark numbers are somewhat close to real-life performance.
Many reviews have already been written about the Cowon D3. Mine’s certainly late to the party, but for good reason: after seeing the somewhat underwhelming performance of the D3 with its initial Android 2.1 firmware, I told myself to wait until the release of the inevitable 2.3 upgrade before I give the D3 a closer look.
Now that yummy ‘Gingerbread’ has arrived on Cowon’s first foray into the smartphone-without-a-phone realms, there’s no more holding back. Continue reading…