Cowon's S9 is an iPod Touch-beater. Sort of...
This week I’ve been playing with one of the many pretenders to the iPod Touch’s portable music player crown – the Cowon S9 8GB. And by and large I’ve been very impressed, particularly when it comes to audio quality.
Plug in a decent pair of headphones and you’ll be staggered by the S9’s beautifully detailed soundstage – it’s certainly a couple of notches above the iPod’s sonic capabilities.
Another strength is its support for a huge range of file formats (including Ogg and the ultra-high quality FLAC lossless codec), not to mention a fantastic AMOLED screen and the ability to play hugely popular DivX videos – the iPod is much fussier about what it will play back.
That said, the S9 still can’t offer the all-round slick user experience of the iPod Touch. There’s no Wi-Fi, no web browsing and the touchscreen capabilities pale in comparison.
If Cowon can step up to match these in the future, then it might have a real iPod-killer on its hands. Of course, then there’s the whole question of competing with Apple’s multi-million dollar marketing campaigns – a slightly tougher prospect, methinks…
Take a look at the latest Web TV episode for a more in-depth first look at the S9.