"Fantastic sound quality with amazing durability."5.0 starson by sacramentobon
Pros: -Sound Quality is the best I've heard personally from a portable music player.
-The video quality from the AMOLED screen is amazing.
-Strong but light.
-CORNING GORILLA GLASS covers the screen, not plastic. Incredibly strong
Cons: -Default user interface is poor in places (coverflow, but that can be disabled now) and good in others. However, there are many user interfaces being made by owners and designers already, so they can be changed.
Summary: First off, the looks.
Looks really nice, it's light. Now some people have said it is too light for it's size, I find it fine. It's all plastic(apart from screen), though I like it quite a bit. The back is this curved dark brown/black matte finish which is pleasant looking, it features the reset button and the microphone hole. The sides are also curved titanium looking finish. And if you haven't seen the front, it is an extremely attractive looking device, the 3.3" screen fits flush with the rest of the body. Bottom left is the hidden USB connection, bottom right, is your ON/OFF, HOLD buttons and in between these is your headphone jack. Top right is your skip track buttons, and top left is your dedicated volume buttons which are all very welcome in this design.
Dedicated buttons are a huge plus since you can disable touch screen controls when it's in your pocket and simply skip songs using the tactile ones without taking it out. The top middle protrusion acts as a pause/play button, very nice touch.
Next up, the interface.
There has been a huge amount of complaining in some reviews about the UI. I can see some of their points, but only if your a complete novice to the device, after that, it's very easy to navigate and I find myself flying through Artists, albums and songs in seconds flat. The double tap works just fine and takes very little time to get used to.
The look of the interface when browsing files is simple but effective, though it's not mind blowing. One of my favorite things about this PMP, is the "Now Playing" Screen. I have album art on all my songs, and the such is the quality of the AMOLED screen, that they really jump out at you if you've used a high quality picture. There are many ways of skipping through tracks, all of them easy to do and very nicely planned, except the cover flow, which I have disabled (I'll come back to that). My favourite is the swipe left or right over the album art to skip songs, it works very well.
The way people are complaining about the interface gets to me a bit. The main complaint seems to come down to the fact that it doesn't mimic the Apple Touch's UI in every way. If you want to compare it to the touch, fine, but realize that the Cowon gives better sound and plays video more clearly, I have put them side by side, same video, same music, using the earphones that came with each of them. Cowon wins in that department.
The sound and equalizers are hands down, the best of any mp3 player or pmp I've used. Now I work in a place that sells Ipods, Creatives, Samsung, Sandisk, Archos etc, you name it, we got it (except for Cowon players). I've used them all. The sound on the Cowon S9 genuinely out performs all the ones I've used in my shop. The BBE equaliser setting are especially recommended. I use the BBE Mach3Bass currently. And for those who want to know how loud it goes. I put a song onto an Ipod touch (Go with the flow by Qotsa) and the same one onto the S9. I could listen to it on full volume on the Apple, but 36 out of 40 on the S9 is the most I could bear. Now that's a comparison! Use high quality music on your player. I'm a fan of 320kbps on mp3 or wmv. Or I sometimes have some FLAC too.
The video is of such a high quality. Most of my videos are Avi (Divx), so they all went straight on, no conversion needed. The video screen as the player is upright shows the video near the top, with the bitrate and quality info and equalizer settings underneath it. Flip it on its side, and it's fullscreen and widescreen. The quality must be seen to be believed, as clear as a bell. It's the framerate that impressed me so much though, no blurring. Incredibly smooth. I knew it would be good, just not that good!
Radio. This is something I've struggled to understand about some reviews since I got the player. I would have been forgiven in thinking that it would be useless based on them. However, I used it while travelling from Clonsilla to Maynooth (in Ireland, by no means a fantastic reception area) on the train and it scanned and stored all the stations just fine. It is clearer than my Zen Vision :M (R.I.P) and my Samsung YP-k3. So where did all the negativity come from about the radio? The interface for it is so cool, the virtual dial is so much fun it actually makes me use the radio more than I usually would.
Coverflow, I promised to get back to this, now I will. When on the "Now playing" screen in music, if you flip it on it's side, (given that you have this function enabled) it will go into cover flow mode. Now it is utterly pointless in my view, and poorly done. It doesn't do coverflow between different albums, it does it between all the songs in the album you have currently selected! I have no idea why they did this. Since the picture is just the same for all songs in an album, however it does give the song name. I disabled the accelorometer in music mode. It's just pointless. Once I disabled it though, I didn't need to worry about it.