We’ve already covered the Cowon X7’s top features – the excellent audio and video capabilities – but if you’re still teetering on the balance there are a few more goodies to cover. It supports Bluetooth, features an FM radio and can be used as a Dictaphone and audio recorder.
We tried out a set of Bluetooth earphones with the X7 and had no trouble connecting. Doing so is very simple too. There’s a separate Bluetooth menu within the main Settings menu, which lists all of your devices. A tap on one will attempt to make the connection.
The FM radio also has its own menu spot, this time on the main menu within the iPod-style interface. Like most FM radios within media players, the headphone cable is used as the antenna. You can record the radio signal with the press of a button and there’s a huge 24 station presets to fill up. It is, however, one of the elements that suffers from the resistive touchscreen’s lack of sensitivity the most – the frequency selector being a bit too small and fiddly to control without the occasional frustrating moment.
Audio recording from the built-in microphone is versatile, giving you control over the quality of the recording, 32kbps to 256kbps, and volume. To unleash the X7’s potential as a higher-quality recording device, you’ll need the optional line-in cable, available from Advanced MP3 Players for around ten pounds. This offers the same settings as microphone recordings, but won’t be held back by the quality limitations of a tiny pinhole microphone.
The Cowon X7 is the kind of device we didn’t expect to see at this point. It’s big, too big for many, and offers features rarely seen in a portable media player these days. An iPod Classic is simpler to use, but also lacks many of its best bits without selling for that much less money. They’re not all features for techy nuts who spend their evenings tinkering with motherboards either – we can imagine using the X7 frequently as a video player, especially when that 120GB hard drive has enough room for more than a hundred movies, or more than a thousand albums.
Cowon has carved out a niche within a niche with the X7. It offers better sound quality and superior video capabilities than an iPod Classic, but it’s also much bigger. The sheer size of the player is a tricky issue to scale, but if you can it offers surprisingly good value – with far greater storage than its series rivals, like the J3, at a similar price.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 9