"Just Received Cowon A2 30GB, and VERY satisfied!!"5.0 starson by Peau
Pros: All the features that you want
Cons: Interface not for the easilly frustrated
Summary: First off, you CAN purchase this from cowon's website at cowonamerica.com
The below is a reposted review seen in the 30gb review section, with some updates***
I'll start with my con. I have no complaints about this awesome PVP, except that if you are easily frustrated trying to get all functions to work, you might become frustrated. The included manual is trite on explaination, but once you see the player in action, nothing matters.
**One thing I forgot to mention is that after watching a few dvd movies on the a2 (while waiting in line to get an xbox360!)the player died at close to ten hours. That's straight video hours! But the bad thing is that it took me awhile to figure out how to recharge it, as I only had a laptop. It can charge throught the usb when connected to a computer/laptop, but it is very very slow. After a couple hours of charging from the laptop, I was able to almost finish watching Narnia, but it died again so we had to finish it on the laptop. The point is that the a2 needs the wall charger to charge quickly (when I got home it took about half and hour to charge it fully). And when the unit is drained, it will stay drained, so dont get frustrated trying to revive it with the usb, just plug it into the wall.
Also mentionable is that I researched over 25+ hours on what type of PVP I wanted, starting at the ipod video (piece of junk), and finally the cowon a2, which is inches from me playing a full length dvd.
Archos AV700: too big (7 inch screen!!) bad video quality.
Creative Zen Vision: has a PDA screen on it...meaning that you have to hold one hand away from the other to view it, and forget about showing it to others, the viewing angle is VERY small.
Archos AV500: a good unit, screen smaller than A2, bulky cables to record video.
MobiNote DVX-POD 7010: poor sound quality.
There are more bad things in the forums, so if you are thinking other than the A2 then check them, but I have saved you the hassle, so trust me.
Now for the good stuff:
The screen is a 4 inch diagonal screen, 16:9 ratio, and a TFT. It is bright even in direct sunlight. The buttons are all strongly built, have a durable feel to them. The buttons on the right, below the joystick, are as follow: back, a, b,and c. The a, b, c buttons are different for each section of the unit, and you are told what each one does on the bottom of the screen.
The menu's background is customizable (meaning you can turn any picture into a background). The menu icons have a sort of mac feel, being large and cartoonish.
The unit includes a cd with loaded software that has a video convertor that can easy convert most video formats (i.e. ripped dvds)and put them onto the a2. It also includes a very nice case, that doubles as a good stand. I've found it does a good job at protecting it while it's in my pocket, such as at work. It is also small enough and light enough (to a point) that sometimes I forget it's there.
The A2 is very smartly built on a file system. Basically if you have a movie, you stick it in the movie folder. And when you go to movies in the A2's menu, there are your movies. There are lots of codexes supported for the player, check their website for a list of them. Also it has a USB host abilty so you can sinc your camera up to it and transfer files to the A2 and free up memory card. The pictures viewed on the screen can be set-up as a slideshow, and look very crisp.
Another neat thing it can do is record tv in mpeg4. Unlike the Archos machines, the A2 doesnt require any tv convetor unit, all it needs is a standard 3.5mm to RCA composite video cable. It can also turn itself on when you set an alarm and it will record whatever you hook it up to.
Also it can export to a Tv. Ive tried this with Finding Nemo (720x480) and the quality does a good job on the 50 inch plasma that I tested it on. (Think of digitized vhs)
The sound output is very good too. I love hooking it up to my car stereo and listening to movies through the car speakers. It sounds so nice, it's hard not to want to watch it also while driving, but that's way to dangerous for me.
If you already have converted movies, or know how, this unit is for you. As mentioned above, the screen is BEAUTIFUL!!! I forget that I'm watching it on something so small, because the quality is so great. This unit is great for kids in the back seat, because it is strongly built and even if it's dropped will probably be fine.
*****Now, more than a month of using the a2, I can say that this player is AMAZING. I currently have more than 25 full length movies converted on it, along with movie trailers already converted found at divx.com. Though in the beginning I tried to convert personal dvds using dvd shrink and jetaudio (the video converter that comes with the a2), I have turned more towards subscribing to a downloading site (usenext.com) and paying a monthly fee to download already conveted movies. These movies are usually lower resolution than if I converted them myself, but this doesnt mean they look different on the a2, only if viewed on another screen that supports a higher resolution.
My unit, after tax and shipping (3 day) cost me $495, for the 30gb version straight from cowonamerica.com (the only place to get one when I bought mine).
If you are thinking of getting one, spent the extra money and get the 30gb; you may not think you'll need the extra space, but when movies are commonly 700MB-1.5GB, the more space means more media.
I have already answered over 30 emailer's questions as of the first of the year, so if you have ANY questions that need answering, I will try my best and show you that if you are going to spend the money, spend it on something that does the job you expect it to.
Prices: 20GB=$400 30GB=$450
Any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org