Cowon X9




  • Good sound quality
  • Great battery life


  • A bit expensive
  • Feature-poor in some respects
  • Low-res screen
  • Clunky resistive touchscreen
  • Chunky body
  • Unintuitive music library navigation

Key Features

  • Review Price: £159.99
  • 16/32GB internal memory
  • microSD card slot
  • JetEffect 5 audio engine
  • 4.3in 272 x 480 pixel screen
  • Resistive touchscreen

These days, many people use a smartphone as their main music player. However, back when you were lucky if your phone had a colour screen, dedicated players like the Cowon X9 were big business. Now Cowon has to aim squarely at the audio enthusiast crowd to stay afloat. Consequently, sound quality is great but the X9 does feel a little expensive, and dated in parts.

Video Review

Cowon X9 Design
Cowon’s players are often on the chunky side. The Cowon A5 was positively gargantuan, but thankfully the latest Cowon X9 PMP has slimmed down a little from that blueprint. It’s around as thick as an iPod Classic, and a little larger thanks to the 4.3-inch screen.

Cowon X9 6

However, like the A5, the Cowon X9 still feels ungainly as – unlike the elder statesman iPod – this is a solid state memory gadget rather than a hard drive player. The 16GB (32GB also available) of internal memory here needn’t take up more space than a thumbnail, so there’s no real excuse for the chunk factor. Thanks to the generous bezel, it’s almost as wide as a Samsung Galaxy S3 too, which will be too large for smaller hands to hold comfortably.

Cowon X9 1

Aside from the dimensions, the Cowon X9 player is reasonably attractive-looking. Its body is all-plastic, but the white of the front and edges combined with the muted grey of the rear provide a relaxed look that has a clear sense of style. Cowon says it “expresses refinement and comfortability”, which is not only over-egging it a bit, but actually doesn’t make sense. However, its intentions aren’t too far off the results.

Cowon X9 Features

The Cowon X9 brings a feature or two you won’t find in every touchscreen-operated media player. It has physical playback buttons on the left edge, controlling which track plays, and acting as play/pause controls. Unfortunately, Cowon didn’t think to include a hold switch on the body, making accidental presses of these buttons a bit too easy.

Alongside these buttons is a plastic flap that hides the microSD memory card slot and the proprietary charge connector, which looks uncannily like a miniHDMI slot. It’s not one, however, and while a composite video output cable is available, it doesn’t come with the player.

Cowon X9 4

The Cowon X9 connectivity options are surprisingly poor, all told. There’s no Bluetooth, ruling-out being able to use wireless headphones, no Wi-Fi and no GPS. The one extra hardware bit is a G-sensor, which can tell the angle the device is being held at. But as it’s only useful in the one pre-installed game, we’d have rather had almost anything else.

Cowon X9 5

Like an iPod touch, the Cowon X9 has an inbuilt speaker on the rear, letting you play music without headphones. However, it is poor. It distorts way before reaching top volume and offers crude sound quality. Hardware-wise, the Cowon X9 is a disappointment. For a device as expensive and large as this, it’s quite feature-poor.

Cowon X9 Battery Life

The Cowon X9 does win back some points with its impressive-sounding 110-hour battery, however. It’s non-removable and we don’t know its actual mAh capacity figure, but it will offer greater stamina than something like an iPod Classic.

However, even this strong point is not without its weaknesses. Power management is not great, and after leaving the player sitting dormant for a few days, the battery had run itself down. It doesn’t seem to be as clever as a 2012 media player should be.

Cowon X9 Software and Screen

Unlike the Android-powered A5, the Cowon X9 uses a Cowon-developed interface that lays-out the player’s key features into two pages of panels. Although mostly grey and white rather than a dazzling explosion of colour, it looks stylish enough and is easy to use.

 Cowon X9

It’s here that you’ll find the few extra non-hardware features on offer in the Cowon X9. There’s an FM radio, a voice recorder (there’s an inbuilt microphone), a document reader, stopwatch, calendar and an extremely basic casual game called Hunter. This is certainly no iPod touch or Android powered Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi 4.2 device in terms of apps and games.

Flicking through the interface and your music library is hampered by the type of touchscreen used. Most people are used to fingering capacitive touchscreens, but the Cowon X9 uses a resistive screen, which was common in the dark ages of smartphone infancy. As it senses direct pressure, a firm prod is needed to get the player to respond, making using the thing feel sluggish and clumsy.

 Cowon X9 4

The interface’s chances of making a good impression are diminished by the low-quality screen too. At 4.3-inches across, it’s fairly big, but its resolution is extremely low at 272 x 480 pixels. Held at arm’s length you can still see the pixels. To put it into some form of context, the pixel density of the Cowon X9 is 128dpi. The pixel density of the 2011 iPod touch, 329dpi.

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’


Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors


Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer


These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3


Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones


It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites


New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money