Pros: Sound quality; size; battery life
I bought this player to complement my larger Cowon players and on the strength of some of the opinions written elsewhere on this site. When I saw it for £70 on Ebay I decided to take the plunge.
Boy am I glad I did!
The unit comes nicely packaged but my initial impressions were not too positive as the unit needed a firmware upgrade and immediately froze. I could not operate any of the controls and it just sat, blinking at me. Luckily some good advice from fellow enthusiasts helped me sort the problem and the unit does not appear to have suffered any long term ill effects.
So now I could get to playing some music on it. It is simply stunning. I have a RoCoo P (reviewed elsewhere) and this stood as the best player I had heard to date. However the C3 shades it in just about every area. The background is dark and hiss free, the vocals emerge from the silence with breathtaking clarity, the instruments are further back but each has its own space. Dead Can Dance rise through the ether with all the mystic glory their music can evoke. Try some DIY krautrock from Amon Duul and the band have never sounded so together.
Unlike the RoCoo I do think the C3 benefits from amping, there is clearly not as much power behind it although I would not suggest for a second that it is weak in this area. It is just that the RoCoo has so much welly.
Downsides? Well the screen is small but remarkably clear, the touch screen gets a lot of paw prints and the UI is clunky. But really, none of this matters once the music starts to flow.
I was sold on the RoCoo until I heard the C3. Now I tend to find I reach for the C3 first if I want to listen to something I have on the MicroSD card. And more music seems to be finding its way onto MicroSD card!
Can I ask for anything more than that for £70?