Cowon X7 review

Andrew Williams



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Cowon X7
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  • X7 120GB Portable Media Player - Black


Our Score:



  • Huge Storage Capacity
  • Extensive format support
  • Superb sound quality


  • It's massive!
  • Screen quality isn't that great
  • Interface is a bit clunky
  • App support limited

Key Features

  • 120/160GB hard drive
  • 4.3in screen
  • JetEffect 3.0 audio engine
  • 103 hours music, 10 hours video battery
  • Divx video support
  • Manufacturer: Cowon
  • Review Price: £215.22

Discovering the Cowon X7 is like spotting a live dinosaur, roaming around Britain's green fields, battling for grazing room among the cows and sheep. It's a hard drive MP3 player in a market that has long been dominated by flash memory devices. The result is that this is one enormous beast - more a Brachiosaurus than an Iguanodon (to really stretch that metephor) - looking more like a PDA than a touchscreen smartphone or simple music player. It thankfully has a few tricks up its sleeve to justify this complete disregard for evolution.

The Cowon X7 seems huge next to almost all current portable devices. The 120GB internal hard drive makes sure it's not slim at 14.5mm, and the 4.3in screen is large even by today's giant touchscreen standards. The body stretches out beyond the screen too, with a generous bezel making the X7 significantly larger than the iPod Classic 160GB - the only big-name rival for this media player at present.Cowon X7

Yes, it's a biggie, but it doesn't feel that much heavier than the iPod Classic in-hand, even though at 212g it is aroun 50g more. What makes the Cowon X7 feel so grand, so oversized, is its width. At 78.6mm wide it'll fill even the largest mitt, and those with smaller hands will have trouble wrapping your digits comfortably around its body. Anyone thinking they're getting a svelte, ultra-pocketable media player with the X7 is clearly looking in the wrong place.Cowon X7

Build quality is great though, and the touchscreen removes the need for a set of design-diluting physical playback controls. There's a pair of volume controls on the left hand-side, a power button on the right and a menu button front and centre, but these are the only physical buttons on-show. On the Cowon X7's bottom are the 3.5mm headphone jack, power socket and a flap containing the connector port that doubles as a USB connection, video out and audio in - the last two requiring extra cables not included in the box.Cowon X7

A utilitarian workhorse, the Cowon X7's front also features a speaker, and there's a mic around the back, both of which are missing from the iPod Classic. The closer you look into the player, the more you see that its features start to justify its bulky body. It doesn't have the desirability of an iPod Touch. But it does have a few features that the Touch can't replace with its wealth of apps, and of course it has the advantage of it's all-too-rare huge storage.


April 28, 2011, 2:11 pm

So tempted, I'm looking for something to replace my ipod classic as I'm bored of the average sound quality...but this thing is just too big and clunky! Is there anything else on the market that people would recommend? I need space, preferably 120gb plus. Not interested in apps/bluetooth or any of that jazz as I have an HTC Desire


June 21, 2011, 8:05 am

With 120gb plus this is probably the only option with good sound quality. The J3 is much lighter ans smaller with up to 64gb (32+32, or more with more micro-sd card in your pocket). The hifiman 801 has good sound and more power to drive cans but is heavy, no internal memory (sd card slot only). Other MP3-Players playing in this league of sound quality?


January 28, 2012, 1:39 pm

I am absolutely disgusted by the X7. The product called Jet Audio is useless. It adds m4a files to the library which cause it to crash. It does not synch with the X7, and hangs for hours. It is impossible to add album covers to any format other than mp3, though it says WMA are ok. You cannot add album covers to albums, but only at a song level.
The player is so hard to use, with the touch screen needing a degree of skill not available to humans.
The support from Cowon is non existent. I tried to email for 6 weeks and got no reply.
Purchasing this device has been the most unpleasant purchase ever.


April 29, 2012, 2:17 pm

An audiophiles portable music player. Yeah it's clunky compared to something like a Touch but I bought this to play music - not Tunes.
Pros - Sound quality. Drives even tough headphones like AKG701 reasonably well but is heaven with Shure SE535's.
- huuuuge battery life, tough durable case (get the leather case accessory), storage capacity, no iTunes!! Plays FLAC natively. Good enough to connect directly to an amp or active speakers without a DAC.
Cons - no 24/96 support. Navigation is clunky if you flit from song to song (fine otherwise). Non standard (Korean) USB connection cable.

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