While the majority of the consumers are running after every new multimedia phone that comes out in the market, there are devoted class of people who still prefer to use dedicated portable media players (PMPs). Cowon is a well-known brand among this class of people and its range of players are highly regarded in the PMP community. The latest player from its stable, the iAudio J3 is a flash-based PMP which is basically a refinement of the older iAudio S9 with more features and new design.
Overall sound reproduction is as good as what I heard from the Cowon S9 and much more neutral and natural than what I heard with the iPod Touch 64GB.
Following its tradition, Cowon has loaded up a healthy list of features in the iAudio J3. You will find all the S9’s features like a 3.3-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 480 x 272 pixels resolution, onboard storage of 16GB with 4GB and 8GB options also available, but unlike the S9, the J3 accepts microSD card up to 32GB.
The J3 does not support Wi-Fi connectivity like the iPod Touch, but there is Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP/AVRCP support. It has stereo FM with recording and also voice/line-in recording. The player’s maximum sound output via headphones-out is rated at 29mW + 29mW which seems lower than what was offered by the older Cowon D2+ ( 37mW + 37mW) but much in line with the new range of Cowon devices. In case you forgot, the S9 also has the same rated output wattage as the J3. The J3 also has TV-out function but a cable is not included.
Like any other iAudio player, the J3 plays MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, APE and WAV, but has no support for AAC. For videos, DivX, XviD and WMV are supported but it is disappointing to see no support for H.264 codec. Flash (SWF) files can be played though. The music player offers adding upto 256 files to favorites and bookmarking option. Browsing music files can be done based on folders, tracks, albums, genres, artist, title etc. The J3 has an accelerometer which enables shake-to-skip-track and landscape album-art view.
The video player also offers a variety features like synching subtitles and multiple bookmarking options which made the J3 video player a cut above the rest. As usual, Cowon has loaded the J3 with its JetEffect 3.0 , BBE+ and Stereo enhance feature which makes the J3 (and the other new Cowon players), the richest feature-packed players in terms of enhancements. Fans of Android or iOS devices would be disappointed as the J3 came only with basic apps like Notepad to read TXT files, Calculator, an accelerometer based game called Hunter, Typist, Stopwatch and Comix. So, if you look for a PMP to play games, install apps and let you browse the net, the J3 is not for you, but for the rest, it won’t disappoint.