The Cowon S9, a touchscreen based PMP offered wide media format support, sleek design and a dazzling performance.
The Cowon S9 looks downright classy . It’s a bit smaller than the iPod touch but a bit thicker and weighs just about 76 grams. Build quality is decent. The matte finish at the back and sides keeps fingerprints at bay. The front has a 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen of 480x272 pixels resolution with 16 million colors. A 3.5mm jack port, a disappointing proprietary USB port and a power/hold switch buttons are located at the bottom.
It also has stellar audio quality which is bettered by the numerous and effective Cowon audio enhancements.
It has an internal flash memory of 16GB but no option for further memory expansion. It has extensive file format support including MP3/WMA/WAV/OGG/FLAC/APE formats for audio and Xvid/WMV formats for video. The flash media support means we could also play some flash games too. The player also has Bluetooth with a2DP and AVRCP profile support, but unfortunately Wi-fi support is absent. Other features include an FM radio with recording feature, voice recording, a text reader and supports for JPEG image playback.
Despite the lack of a multitouch screen, its capacitive screen is quite responsive and finger touch operation was easier than Cowon’s earlier touch-based PMPs. The interface design is still not outstanding with a slight learning curve involved. On the other hand, the built-in accelerometer worked responsively and is helpful during media playback. The physical control buttons aid smooth operation as well. Powered by a Pentium III 500Mhz processor, the player responded at a fair speed under most operations.
The 3.3-inch AMOLED screen performance is noteworthy. Video playback is superior, colorful reproduction with utmost sharpness and excellent contrast were spot on. It also has stellar audio quality which is bettered by the numerous and effective Cowon audio enhancements. From the tight bass to the sweet mids and highs, it was among the best we’ve heard from a PMP. However, we suggest you invest in a better pair of earphones to do justice to the s9’s true potential. FM has good reception and our voice recording came out clear but it was not top-notch. The non-removable Lithium- polymer battery lasted over an impressive 40 hours during our media playback test which is close to the rated 55 hours of audio playback. If you’re ready for a supreme audio/visual treat, the Cowon S9 deserves a look.
With a beautiful curved design, the S9 is a complete portable media player with exceptionally good audio and video playback quality.