Music and video with touch control
Cowon's O2 is a portable music and video player with a 4.3in touch-sensitive display.
The basic but tidy design is available in a range of colours and capacities, with internal storage that can be expanded using the SD memory card slot on the side. We looked at the 16GB version, which costs £200 – it's an extra £50 for the 32GB version, or the same amount less for the 8GB edition.
Files can be copied to the player using Windows and Cowon supplies a conversion program to use if you encounter any formats that aren't supported by the player, though in truth few people should need to use it. The range of formats supported is extremely impressive and it can play high-definition video (up to 720p resolution).
Cowon uses a technology it calls Jeteffect to enhance audio and, together with a decent set of headphones to replace the rather poor ones supplied, this made for superb performance in this area. Video didn't fare quite as well and though perfectly enjoyable we have seen more capable displays, specifically in terms of sharpness and colour accuracy.
The range of settings available to customise both the behaviour of the device itself and to fine-tune the experience is very comprehensive, with control over aspect ratio, zoom, subtitles and slideshows, plus of course a range of sound enhancements.
In addition to standard media playback there's also a document viewer, voice recorder and some other utilities, and the internal speaker means users can enjoy video or audio without a set of earphones, though this is predictably tinny and doesn't make good use of the O2's excellent audio potential.
Overall this is an impressive player with strengths that include the wide range of format support and media control, as well as excellent audio performance.
We've seen better displays for video playback on handheld devices, and the small controls made touch-screen operation a little fiddly at times, but these faults aren't nearly serious enough to ruin the experience and for viewing video and listening to music on the move the O2 is an extremely appealing device.
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The O2 offers some clear advantages over the competition Good points Great format support; superb audio; excellent media control Bad points No wireless; display could have been better
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