COWON J3 32 GB Portable Media Player (Black)

General Information

3.3-inch 16:9 Wide AMOLED, 16 million colors, res. 480x272, ultra portable. Play all your digital entertainment: movies, TV shows, photos and music. Touch sensitive interface. Bluetooth, Voice recorder with internal microphone, FM radio and TV-out supporting composite connections. Maximum 11 hours of video playback and maximum 64 hours of audio playback. Standard microSD card slot and built-in speaker.

Latest reviews

Pros: everything is great from this player
Cons: the only issue, is the recharging cable..
IMO, the Cowon J3 is the company's best device/price. It offers an excellent sound and compatibility with almost any file you want to play on it. It's also capable of driving all but the most obscure headphones to satisfying levels of loudness, and relatively excellent battery life. However if you're just looking for a device that does one thing -- play music really and extremely well -- then the Cowon J3 is an excellent option.
But its not as good as the Plenue D IMHO :)
Pros: Very clean sound. Beautiful and abundant custom themes and UIs. The player's design
Cons: Thin, cold and lifeless sound. Bass is shallow , sibilant mids. EQ makes sound even worse than the default (mainly squeeze the mid-range)
I used the J3 with vsonic gr07, sony ex1000 and don't think it is a very good sounding PMP.
Pros: battery life, great screen, physical buttons,fast interface,lot's of sound settings
Cons: sound quality at default settings
I owned a J3 32GB player for 2 or three years, so I got to know all it's advantages and disadvantages.
The good
This thing has much more output power than most non-audiophile players around. I never maxed it out, and the sound remained controlled at most volume levels. The battery life is simply outstanding, about 50 hours with that magnificent OLED screen. Also, the video playback and SWF's played smoothly. There are a lot of audio-enhancements, millions of sound settings combinations to choose. 
The bad
The sound at default settings (without using equalizer and the various enhancements) is pretty much dead, lifeless with undefined bass, and highs not very defined. It improves a lot after proper equalizing, but at the end you end up with non-realistic sound that you can like, but feels too plastic. It's a shame, because is a ~30$ Clip can sound good, no reason for premium product to fail in such a basic thing as play unequalized music.
Bottom line
I would consider it only if fantastic battery life is needed. For any other purpose there are other players that cost less and deliver more.
jon parker
jon parker
Ive also had this player for a few years now and agree with your points. The default sound is indeed quite dead sounding although for some critical listening with sensative earphones this can on occasion be useful.
I do have a bit of a hate /love relationship with them. With the BBE enhancement ON the sound can be dramatically improved. Sometimes even sounding like a good DAP can sound and this is where the love/hate comes. I strive for the best possible sound by using the 'best' DAC chips married with Opamp & quality iems. So even though the J3 can sound very good . . . it gets that sound by 'cheating'
Anyway, with it s huge battery life it is great for burning in Headphones & is perfect for taking travelling when you dont want to take your best gear with you.
One thing you didnt mention is how good the J3 is for reading from! If you have reasonable eyesight you can put a load of books on it in txt format and read from it although the screen light is the biggest battery drainer! 
As a travel companion this player gets 10/10
For sound quality it gets 10/10 for its BBE & MP technology but maybe 2/10 for the chip's bare sound :)


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