Pros: cowon sound
Cons: terrorists did the user interface
Summary at the end for lazy peeps.
- User interface and the frightening secrets behind the i10:
The navigation tree has obviously been made by secret terrorist cells who could never contact each others.
The brain whose cover job is designer at cowon, came up with the idea of "one action on each corner of the screen" on a non touch sensitive screen (when you re that messed up you get to be the boss with terrorists)
He also came up with the multi award winning design (true story) that makes sure you will drop it more than a wiimote on a drunk evening. Stuck back to back with an amp it looks and feels stupid, like trying to attach humpty dumpty to the wall with rubber bands.
On the bright side, it looks and feel good in your hand. too bad there is absolutely no reason for you to keep it in your hand. let's see why.
To go back in the menu, our terrorist cells entered obviously in action to make the world tremble in fear. Depending where you are in the menu tree, to go "back" you have either:
"back" binded on the lower right of the touch pad.
Or "home" binded on the lower left.
Or you go back with "backward" binded on the upper left.
Or just validate an option with the "play/pause" binded in the middle of the touch pad.
Need it be said you don't get to decide the one you use. they re terrorists! they randomly give you only 1 working bind to test your level of awareness and remind you they can strike anytime!
Now good stuff:
You got 3 physical buttons, hold/power (depending on the time you spend pressing it) and 2 for volume. When in hold mode, the volume buttons can be in hold, or set volume, or become forward and backward for the tracks.
So in your pocket you change tracks with the volume buttons and when you want to lower the volume the trick is to press hold, change volume and then double tap hold(1 press will "hold" and a second fast one will turn off the screen)
In the end the i10 works in your pocket, not in your hand ^_^
For everyday use it s ok.
- Sound quality:
I m talking flat EQ and no effect here.
-Those who know cowon sound and the trizillion effects, it s as good as usual.
-To those who never tried a cowon, i m no sound engineer and don't know the fancy lingo i read on head-fi. My feeling is that cowon does with sound what "auto levels" do on a picture in photoshop. It seems to take your sound and stretch it to all the available range. It s not much about cheating, and more about retrieving the full range of informations as your ear would get them, not as a microphone would get them. Giving you in the process the feeling of a better instrument separation through a bigger sound stage.
For example, to me a sansa clip+ is sounding flat and lacking a very little something in the bass. It gives a great analytic sound where you can make out all the instruments perfectly. at the cost in my opinion of sometimes losing the opportunity to enjoy the music as an 1 entity. Well it depends on what you are listening at.
So in that respect cowon gives a little feeling of magic as you keep the enjoyable integrity of the song with a friendly warm sound that will make you move at the tempo like an idiot more often than with the clip+. and at the same time you can physically pick any instrument thanks to a bigger soundstage. But only if you put your mind to it.
I can't get the same sound on the clip+ whatever setting i will use.
I can on my samsungs yp-p2 and yp-p3 using EQ, clarity and 3d a little, but at the cost of recessed vocals. And all that to get a flat cowon sound ....
So as long as only sound matters cowon is probably more enjoyable for everyday use. +the range of effects and EQ usually let you get the sound you really love in the end.
I wouldn't take a chance in a cowon vs sony sound as they re both good and warm. It would come down to individual tastes.
And about the expensive bricks this forum loves so much, i never swam in those waters because i can't get myself to put 800$ on something with not even 10h of battery life. So you ll have to ask people who got one about how good they are.
- Battery life:
They give 38h music and 6.5h video on Cowon website.
I would say around 15h on average, as you will probably EQ and effect abuse over flac.
Also it goes is sleep mod when OFF, so any idle period is slowly using the battery. (can turn it off with long push on both + and - volume buttons)
Thx to the terrorists you can get the best out of this battery, as you won't use the screen much:
No game, booby trapped UI, and the worst viewing angle i ve ever seen on a screen, too small to enjoy video anyway.
- Drive power:
might be a bit weak for voracious cans, but hey you got an amp for those cans anyway don't try to fool me here!
So more than often you will wonder why you can't go back directly to the playing track, or to the home page.
But almost wherever you are in the UI you can miss-clic and get the color background settings.
The idea is that light will affect your mood depending on the color, and that is about the truth.
Its impact on my brain is : "wtf that s the third time today that i go into the colorstuff menu, give me a break!"
Yes this little thing can change your mood and get you mad.
I wake up with a clock that brings light up step by step, i bought 2 lights with a remote to get whatever color you like in your room. So i m pretty much sold on that light and color therapy. and that feature on the i10 is idiotic! It s not just useless, it s a bother.
- Line out: troll
no line out :'(
you can get a line in cable to record from external devices, some will have use of this, for everybody else it s useless.
Latest driver is supposed to fix usb connection issues some experienced http://www.cowonglobal.com/zeroboard/zboard.php?id=C08&no=470
About this i suggest to use the wise and famous telling by Platon: "if it works don't f****ng touch it!"
+2physical buttons you set for volume or track switching in your pocket. (with a little use you do both)
+Sound is pleasant, with the usual cowon signature and army of effects.
+No hiss, i can't stand hissing. At any volume, or amped, i got something pretty clean with jh13 so you can relax. (edit: clean also with To Go! 334, cleanest low price dap I know)
+Pretty small and light in regard to post 2010 "bigger than tv" portable dap trend (terrorists are everywhere), yet not a clip+ or a nano.
+Battery is ok+, you can expect between 10 to 25hours depending on your use.
-Little audible "tic" on any physical action on the power/hold button, and also when volume passes from 0 to 1 or to 29 to 30 in both directions(max lvl is 40). most won't even notice, serial killer maniacs like me will go mad.
-100% terrorist made user interface.
-You get a music player, nothing else (it s pretty much a + if you want a dap for ... music)
-The J3 bests it in every aspect except for sound quality which based only on my memory was the same usual cowon sound. (you can kill me if i m wrong here)
-No memory card slot
-No line out