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on 7 May 2011
If you want something which just looks cool, buy an iPod. If you want truly awesome, outstanding sound quality, buy a Cowon X7. I bought this because my iPod was getting on my nerves (volume limiter, poor sound quality), and I don't regret it at all. The controls take a bit of getting used to, but play around with it for a couple of hours and it's fairly straightforward really!
The real selling point is the sound quality, though: it makes listening to music a real pleasure, and you'll hear things you never even knew existed in songs you've listened to loads of times before. With 120 or 160 Gb of storage, you can afford to rip MP3s at 320kb for added clarity too. And, although you get a CD with the player, you don't actually need any special software to transfer music files, you can do it via RealPlayer, Winamp or simply drag'n'drop with windows explorer.
Forget your iPods; get one of these. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 October 2012
Within the family we have one each of the 120GB model and the 160GB. Although both are regularly used, they have not been thrashed to death and are probably under-used as they are not in daily or necessarily even weekly use. After 9 months, the 120GB model has totally failed, and will neither power up or charge. The chargers are fine because interchanging them in the one now working unit, it charges with both.

It may well be a failed battery which, if user accessible, could feasibly be replaced but as it is contained within the factory-sealed unit, that is an impossibility. However, the fault may lie within its control card which in other hard-drive-based equipment is commonplace - that card is often cheaply made of poor components and is the weakest point of the system.

Cowon products are not cheap and have a high reputation. Their audio quality is unsurpassed but they may have hardware issues that need investigation as I have heard/read of a variety of issues that surround almost every one of their several models. When or if I am in the market for a replacement, I am not certain that I would again choose the brand.
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on 15 January 2011
I bought this player basically because I have become sick of itunes and the lack of flexiblity my ipod touch then ipod classic gave me in organising my ever increasing music library, lack of music file formats, sound reproduction etc. I also wanted a player with better sound quality. The X7 is a large device, but still fits in the pocket, it feels solid in the hand, in the box you get a seperate charger, proprietory usb cable, lanyard, software disc. The device has an external speaker, external volume, power and a single menu button. There are two views to choose from when using the device, their is one with widgets and one with a list view which I currently use. If you only have used itunes to organise your music this will be a wake up call of sorts but personally I have always kept my original folders organised a certain way and I have mirrored that exact file structure on the X7 by dragging and dropping the files onto the device. Their are plenty of media players you can download to help with organising your library, mediamonkey, winamp,windows media player and the included jetaudio software. You cannot make on the fly playlists apart from using the favorites option, you can create them using jetaudio (which gives no instructions how to in the user guide) I found a step by step guide to creating playlists on the X7 at (...)

The UI is not intuitive but I quickly got the hang of it, you can view your files in album, artist genre etc and their is a folder view. Album art is supported but appears on the device enlarged, personally I like how it looks but i have read reviews were some dont like it. The strongest selling point of this device is the sound and the multitude of options to sdjust the sound to your taste, this is a big big plus!!

I haven't really viewed much video on the device but the screen is clear and bright with excellent viewing angles not the highest screen resolution out there but viewing is fine, the touch panal is resisitive which means its activated by preassure and it is suprisingly responsive. Jumping around menus is snappy with no lag.

In short if you are and audiophile and need over 64Gb of space what are you waiting for?!

Update: The best media software to use is mediamonkey which is where i create playlists. Their are simple instructions how to do this on various forums. Again it is not as simple as itunes but personally its an inconvenience I can live with.
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on 17 January 2012
I own a Cowon S9 and have been looking for a while on an upgrade and I have not been disappointed in the X7. The first thing which hit me when it arrived was how chunky it is. My Cowon S9 was the size of a cigerette packet and I could easily hook it onto my my belt; but with the X7 it is more like the size of my Galaxy S but thicker...yes "chunkier" as everybody is saying. I have no complaints, it just means I have to re-think were I carry my mp3 player on myself. It is too heavy in my opinion to strap to my belt and my trouser pockets will not accomadate the X7 and everything else I carry in my pockets...so I carry my X7 in my shirt pocket which seems quite safe.

I basically use my mp3 player to play my music files so although I am sure all the other features like a video player and fm radio are quite useful, my review is soully on the music player. I have had the player for about a week and although I was a bit lost with all the buttons at first...after a couple of hours of experimenting and referring to the manual I got the X7 to act like my old S9. Something which I found quite annoying was the new sleep mode which because of the battery life that you do not really need to switch the player off but when sleep mode is turned on you can not tell whether the X7 has just gone into sleep mode or has actually turned itself off when you press the power button...my solution was just to turn the sleep mode off.

The battery life is really good because in effect you get like a weeks charge which miles better than any of the competition but the main reason I bought the X7 is because Cowon make good mp3 players. If you are anything like me and are something of an audiophile, I would definitely suggest you put any of the Cowon mp3 players on your short list. There are too many features to mention in this review but for example you can tailor how you listen to your music through BBE and Jet Audio software...as for me I usually like my music "clean" so I left all the controls alone.

On the whole, this review may seem a little negative but like anything new, you have to get to know all its features. Now I love my X7 as much as I used to love my S9!!
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on 2 July 2013
If you’re after an MP3 player with large capacity (>64 GB) to store all your music, there are precious few options out there. I believe (and I could be wrong here), you are currently limited to the Cowon X7 or the iPod Classic 160GB (at June 2013).

I have an absolute loathing of iTunes. I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t stand it. I don’t want to synch my music with my PC. And I don’t want Apple to have anything to do with my music files. I simply want to drag and drop. Also my music is ripped to WMA Variable Bit Rate (max quality setting) and I don’t want to have to convert 100GB of content to AAC. So that rules out the iPod. Hence the X7 seemed the obvious (in fact the only) choice.

I went for the 120GB as I don’t think you can get the 160GB model in the UK any longer. No-one (including Amazon) seems to have the 160GB ones in stock. Also, I couldn’t get hold of a white one, so I “chose” black.

Anyway here are my impressions:

TOUCHSCREEN: The touchscreen is quite simply god-awful. If you’re used to a tablet PC to easily swipe through lists, forget it. It’s more tricky on the X7. Usually you end up accidentally selecting something rather than swiping through a list as you intended. It’s extremely frustrating trying to find albums, artists or songs by scrollbar or swipe. Using the scrollbar on the far left is an exercise in frustration. The sensitivity is awful – you often have to press twice for it to work. Often you end up accidentally clicking the wrong thing. Items on the edge of the touchscreen are particularly difficult to select. Yes, I know you can calibrate the touchscreen, but it doesn’t make much difference. Nevertheless you do get used to it after a while …or rather you just learn to live with it.

SCREEN itself: The screen itself has pretty poor resolution (it’s like going back in time technology wise). Photos and videos look mediocre at best compared to the other mobile devices you’re likely to have in your pocket these days.

INTERFACE: The interface is rather counter-intuitive and it takes a bit of playing around with to get it sussed. There’s some obvious functionality missing. For example, if you’re playing all songs on shuffle, and you want to check which album the currently-playing song is on, and jump to that album, it’s impossible to do so. The Search functionality (to find a particular track or artist by typing the name in) suffers horribly because of the awful touchscreen sensitivity. And the hopeless touchscreen sensitivity compounds the deficiencies of the interface. Begrudgingly tho’, you do eventually learn to live with it.

Other bad things:
It uses a proprietary USB cable which is a nuisance. The unit is physically big and heavy (I could happily live with that if the screen and interface were much better). Because of the size and weight, it’s never gonna be particularly mobile. To be fair tho’, I don’t think it’s intended to be. No MP3 player with a hard disk is ever going to be suitable for jogging. The dodgy interface is another reason why I wouldn’t call this a “mobile” MP3 player – you can’t skip and pause particularly easily without fishing it out your pocket. [In fact I bought a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ (with a 32GB card) for when I want to listen to music whilst browsing round the shops, walking to work, jogging, etc. The X9 just isn’t the job for that]. The X9 is more suited for listening to tunes whilst working at your desk or on a long plane journey where you can easily put it on the table or on your lap.

The good things:
You can drag and drop your music files onto the device. Bluetooth works well, so I can connect it to my hi-fi amp (via a Bluetooth receiver) no problem. Plus there’s plenty of space for a largish music collection. Battery life is very good. Build quality is excellent – the X7 is very solid.

BUT HERE’S THE THING: Music on this thing is awesome – simply beautiful! You start noticing detail in your music that you never noticed before. If you rip your music at highest quality, you’ll particularly benefit. It’s so good that you really look forward to sitting at your desk and listening to your collection. The JetEffect engine allows you to adjust the sound to suit the earphones you’re wearing. In terms of audio quality, the X9 takes some beating. It’s the best I’ve heard to date.

SUMMARY:
This could have been a legendary product. If only Cowon had put a decent touchscreen in it and had put the effort into developing a good user-interface. Alas, they didn’t. What a shame.

RATING:
How you rate this product will depend on what you want from it. If you’re not 100% sure about what you want from an MP3 player, the X7 is probably not for you. You could spend a lot of cash and be very disappointed. If sound quality is your first and only consideration, then the X7 is just the job.

I can’t bring myself to give it 3 stars because of the sinfully bad touchscreen and the lack of effort on Cowon’s behalf with the user interface.

So, heavy-heartedly, I can only stretch to 2 stars. It’s only saving grace is its sensational audio quality.
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on 14 May 2012
I was looking for a new PMP that combined large storage capability with excellent sound quality. I have always been a fan of Sony in the past, and their products are excellent, but having moved on to lossless audio file formats then even 64GB players quickly fill up. After doing some research, I discovered the X7 and decided to take the chance. My initial assessment is that this really does live up to all the review comments. The plus side is that 120GB is plenty of space, especially when using FLAC files, and the sound is simply stunning. However, the instruction manual is very poor and, even though this is a large device with a large screen, some of the display icons are very small and close together so that hitting the right command is a bit hit and miss. Despite a comment that the player does not work with Windows 7 64-bit, it does on my computer, and drag and drop from file explorer is a simple way to load the player (good news as some media players, including Windows, do not recognise FLAC files). This has met my expectations, as I buy my players for their SQ, but some people might regard the user interface and instruction issues to be a prolem, hence the 4 stars. There is a lot of good advice on various web-based forums and so I expect that I will soon fill in the gaps in my knowledge that the instructions have created!
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on 30 December 2012
I bought this for my DJ partner who previously had been using an old I river he kept bringing back to life replacing the battery and hard drive. He hates iPods and wants a machine that allows him to store big music files in uncompressed format, allows him to freely drag and drop the files instead of using a sync program. He wants to create his own folders, not using the indexing in alphabetical order. Of course also he wants sound to be special too. Soooo, this huge brick of a machine comes in from korea! I had read it was the best sounding and apparently, after a few tweaks such as going round the volume limiter and installing a different operating system to make the user interface more efficient, I have made the right choice, because he truly has been loving this player! It's big and the screen resolution isn't up to scratch even with a smartphone, but to the true audiophiles out there, this is a gift of the gods. The cons are that the USB cable provided is unconventional and it seems to have issues to be used with Mac OS. Plus it's truly huge and easy to drop. The pros : with the right cable, you can record in digital, it has built in speakers too, and the sound is mind blowing when playing the FLAC files he uses.
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on 9 April 2013
Haing read the reviews of MP3 players this one seemed the obvious audiophiles choice. Bought with the understanding that they can be a bit tempremental at times. It duly arrived and I loaded Bjork - Hidden Place the sounds on that track were amazing. I knew right then and there this was a quality piece of hi fi equipment. 2 days later I was in pieces the batterty had gone flat and somehow and the thing had locked itself. The well known problem had occured. The only thing I could do was power it up using the USB cable and the power point. Not so good if you are on the move. The reset button next to the USBV lead didn't have any effect. Sent back to Amazon who replaced the machine at the drop of a hat. Now on my second one downloaded 110GB of tracks FLAC uncompressed and again I am truly amazed by the quality of the sound. Kosheen - Bella Donna sounds sooooo good on this machine. If they can sort out the hardward issues this would be the only bit of portable stereo equipment you'd ever need.
Would highly recommend just DON'T LET THE BATTERY GO FLAT
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on 21 May 2013
On NO account select EU countries option when you set it up as this will slug the headphone output so much that you won't be able to use a decent pair of cans!

The sound quality is superb and the large capacity allows several hundred cd's worth of flac lossless files. At full volume its just about right for a large pair of HIFI headphones without having to use an amplifier.

Unit has a nice heavy solid feel to it, not for joggers, and the user interface, for which Cowon attracts much criticism, seems perfectly straight forward to me.

Pleased to find it allows gapless playback.

Notes for linux users...

HDD and flash memory is recognised without any problem (its a fat32 file system). Make sure your ripping software (I use soundKonverter) is set to produce file names compatible with fat32, otherwise you will probably not be able to download them to the player.

Enjoy
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on 19 November 2010
Having reviewed the 160GB version which I have, I thought it may be a good idea to post the same review for the 120GB version as many buyers would look at this as the preferred buying option.
I had checked out all the available pictures but I still wasn't prepared for the size of this little beast. A chunky unit indeed but it is the price we have to pay for a screen on which videos are watchable. It would have been a perfect screen to have wifi but there is no such thing on this. A music, video and picture player in essence.
At 120GB and another 1.5GB on a flash drive within, this player is for the serious media collector or people who like their music encoded at 320 for Mp3 or Flac. Considering how legendary the sound quality is of the Cowon, it would be a shame to encode MP3s at less than 320 to play on this. Having played around with both S9 and J3, I can say that sound quality on this matches both of those.
Video resolution 480x272 is not great but okay and as I said earlier, watching videos on this is a pleasure because of screen size. Photos appear to take a bit of time to load and shift but again quite adequate. It is a surprise though that Cowon have released one with such low resolution having had the awesome amoled screen on the S9 and J3.
I know Cowon are very good with their firmware upgrades and I fear this needs quite a few. The touchscreen can at times be a bit unresponsive and although it doesn't need much pressure on the screen, at times I have had to press several times before it responded. The Bluetooth is good and has a good range without breaking up as was the case with the Cowon S9. Scanning for Bluetooth speakers and then pairing is straightforward and quick. Volume control is on two buttons on the left and respond well. The X7 has its own speakers and comes out with pretty decent volume.
There are rumours going round that this unit has problems transferring a large amount of files with Macs but has worked very well with a PC. However it did take about 5 hours to transfer 100GB of data. Once done, it shouldn't need to be done again.
A big problem appears on album art. It doesn't seem to resize the picture to fit within the screen. I wonder if this can be fixed by Cowon.
It has the usual FM radio, recorder, calculator, flash, notepad and stopwatch. None of them all that useful but these things seem to come as standard.
The deal breaker is the claimed 103 hours of music it plays on one full charge. Pretty sure this was calculated on Mp3s at 128 but even three quarters of that would be phenomenal. It claims 11 hours of continuous video.
Unusually these days, the X7 comes with its own mains charger and is supposed to be fully charged in 2 to 3 hours which isn't bad at all.
The 160GB version is also available. The spec is the same.
The manual is available on Cowon's website.
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