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Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB review



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Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB
  • Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB


Our Score:


For a relatively small company, Cowon has developed an awfully big reputation for its MP3 and PMP products. Its S9 is one of the most highly-regarded PMPs out there, while the company has won an enviable following amongst the audiophile crowd for the simple reason that it produces some of the best-sounding digital audio players on the market.

The subject of today's review - the iAudio D2+ - comes with some high expectations. It's the successor to one of Cowon's most popular efforts, the D2 which has, I'm told, sold over 500,000 units worldwide to date. That's chickenfeed for the likes of Apple or Sony, but not at all bad for a Korean brand that most people in the UK won't even have heard of.

Those of you who have may remember Jon's review of the original, which acclaimed it for its excellent sound quality but condemned it for its ropey DAB radio and its rather excessive price tag. The D2+ I'm looking at now no longer sports the former - a DAB version will be available later if you want to see if Cowon has fixed the issues - and as a result the latter has been cut back to a slightly more reasonable figure. Only ‘slightly more', mind you. At £99 for a 4GB version this is an expensive player, particularly when you can get 8GB versions of the Sony NWZ-S639 or Samsung YP-Q1 for £10 to £20 less.

To some extent, the high price is justified by the D2+'s feature set. Like the D2 before it, it's a credit-card sized touchscreen PMP based around a 2.5in TFT screen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution. What's more, it's one that comes with features like an SDHC expansion slot and comprehensive audio file support that, while irrelevant to some, are absolutely essential to a certain breed of audiophile. From the styling to the interface to the overall specification, there's a feeling with the D2+ that it's not about producing eye-candy or any kind of wow factor; it's a player that takes care of the business of media playback, and quality is very much the core concern.

This is certainly reflected in the physical design which is, if anything, even more stripped back than the already minimalist D2. It's all very black, very matt and very square-edged, and even the D2's meagre design frills - the silver Cowon badge and right-hand strip - have been dispensed with. Controls are limited to a two-way power/hold slider with up, down and menu buttons on the top, and the only other points of physical interest are the standard mini-USB connector and a proprietary AV output on the left-hand side, with an SDHC memory card slot at the bottom. This will take cards of up to 32GB in size, and as £30 will buy you 16GB these days that's a pretty affordable way to turn a 4GB device into a 20GB device in a matter of seconds. If you like your lossless audio, this is something you'll soon come to appreciate.

Jawad Mateen

April 26, 2009, 7:56 am

Nice review Hugo...

You were spot-on in saying that this is a DAC not for everyone. And by everyone I mean the iPod-buying masses. Still a 9 for sound is a bit of injustice. Nothin can compete with this little wonder as far as sound quality goes. I've got an S9 too and in many respects the D2+ even outshines this already revered PMP. The interface comes behind every othe major player and the video capabilities are just an additional feature to have... nothing major to get excited about. As Hugo said a 16Gb SDHC card is only 㿊 and added in a 16Gb player that's 32Gb of storage space plus industry-best sound quality

for under 𧶀.

Yeah these were my 2 pesas in an already great review that totally got to the point.


April 26, 2009, 3:26 pm

I loved my old D2, it was a fantastic little player, but personally i prefer the video capabilities of the S9 I now own and am willing to sacrifice a little in sound quality/storage for the screen and flash UCI.


April 26, 2009, 6:16 pm

I have the D2 and I hate it. Battery life and sound quailty are both great but the interface is the worst ive ever used. Its shocking and if artists names are even the tiniest bit different it puts them on their own. So for example 36 CrazyFists and 36 Crazyfists are handled as two different artists. I had to remove my chili peppers albums because it added about 20 artists. I hate it


April 26, 2009, 10:57 pm

How does it compare to the S-series Walkman?


April 27, 2009, 1:55 am

I have been using my D2 for 2+ years and absolutely love it. Battery life is excellent and so is the sound quality. I would like to add that I think cowon are very good with firmware updates, they have improved the D2 vastly with features such as using the volume buttons as next and previous buttons, adding flash, calculator and paint...

@Runadumb it sounds like you should fix your ID3 tags :)


April 27, 2009, 2:44 pm


I don't think you'd find the D2+ any improvement in this area. I've got a fairly standard playlist for testing which I alter and update with new music every few weeks. Most players import it without any problems and the filenames and folders update perfectly. On the D2+ however, a couple of albums are all over the place. I agree with laserlightning that I could probably fix this with some massaging of the ID3 tags, but if other players don't need this sort of treatment, why should the D2+?


It depends what you're looking for. I think the D2+ sounds at least as good, if not slightly better, than the S-Series, and the expandability is a really key factor in its favour. However, the S639F is just so much nicer to use, and I prefer the smaller, lighter form factor when I'm travelling around. At the moment, were I spending my own cash I'd live without the expansion slot and have a S639F or a Samsung YP-P3, but I appreciate that, for audiophiles who want to listen to uncompressed audio, the D2+ might be a better bet.


April 27, 2009, 6:37 pm

It's entirely possible to turn your existing D2 in to a D2+ as the only difference is a firmware update.



May 1, 2009, 5:48 pm

I just can't get past the name. It sounds like someone with a speech impediment (Pontius Pilate anyone?) saying Colon.


August 23, 2009, 9:15 am

I just sold my iPod Touch for a D2, and I'd just like to say that I'd never look back. Maybe for the games, perhaps, but the audio quality and battery life... :D

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