It’s been about a month since the Cowon X9 was announced, and if anyone has actually been holding out for one since then, then today is their lucky day. For $230 the 32GB model can be yours, while the 8GB and 16GB models are notably absent.
To recap, the X9 is a player that’s something along the lines of the old O2 and the hard drive based X7. The 4.3-inch touchscreen dominates the front, but with a resolution of a ridiculously low (these days) 480 x 272 pixels, it would be an insult to other players to call this a video-centric device. That of course begs the question of why someone would use a 4.3-inch device for music, but the X9 does have some neat features in that regard. Tactile buttons, 110 hours of (manufacturer rated) battery life, and microSD support are all nice features to have on an audio player. There’s also the usual “Cowon package” of format support and sound enhancement features, the latter of which is suddenly harder to come by again after it was removed from the JetAudio Android software.
[Amazon via Engadget]
Cowon announced the X9 – nicknamed “Super Player” – which would make sense as a logical upgrade/sidestep to last year’s X7. But actually it’s more of a rehash of the ancient O2 PMP, released four years ago, in 2008 (ignoring the newer V5′s existence in several aspects).
The X7 is a 80-160GB HDD player with Bluetooth capabilites, the new X9 is a flash memory player without Bluetooth, but a MicroSD slot instead. Internal capacities of the X9 go up to 32GB – same as the ancient O2. Both the X7 and X9 have embarrassingly bad screen resolutions of 480×272 at 4.3″ – same as the ancient O2. Seems Cowon had a few old resistive touch screens left over to recycle (the slightly less ancient V5 HD in comparison had a much more reasonable 800×480 resolution at 4.7″, but by today’s standards that is the extreme lower limit for comparable screen sizes as well).
Additional tactile buttons for FFWD/REW/skip might make the X9 a more desirable player for on the go than the X7, which only had a unified menu/play/pause and two volume buttons. Cowon claims a battery life of up to 110 hours for audio and 13 hours for video on the X9. If real-life usage comes close to these synthetic benchmarks, it would be quite amazing for nomads and globetrotters. Cowon’s usual plethora of supported file formats and BBE sound enhancements are of course not missing from the X9. An additional annoyance is Cowon’s use of a proprietary USB connector instead of a standard mini/microUSB port.
iAudiophile moderator Kizune posted a comparison chart of the X7′s and X9′s differences, for your perusal.
[Cowon Korea via iAudiophile]