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Recent advances in technology allow the compression of enormous amounts of data into tiny packages, and the Cowon iAudio7 is testimony to the fact. Yes, here's a robust little player with a lot of storage space.
But does the iAudio7 provide you all that you desire from an MP3 / PMP / data storage device? That’s what I decided to find out.
Don’t let the pictures fool you. (They did fool me, by the way.) When I first saw the iAudio7 I was under the impression that it was a PMP, since it played movie files. So naturally, my first impression was that it would have a decently large screen.
Of course, when I read the specs I realized that wasn't so. The iAudio7 has only a small 1.3 inch screen with a resolution of 160x128 pixels sporting 256k colors. While clear enough, this is not good enough to watch movies – you’ll need a magnifying glass. Honestly, I’m not sure why they even included the feature.
The iAudio7 is extremely lightweight at just 60 grams. It’s also small enough with dimensions of 35.6 x 76.1 x 19 mm, so you carry it around quite easily. It has a 3.5mm earphone socket, so you can use your own earphones (not that you’ll need to). Alongside is a Line-In socket.
On the top are the mic, hold/slider for power, a menu key, and the volume keys. On the right is a flap that hides the USB port and reset key. The iAudio7 may look like a pudgy little player but it’s actually quite sleek, lightweight, and easy to use.
The player is a compact bundle of audio, video, radio, and recording. Packed with options to record from the integrated FM radio or through the built-in mic, the device can be used as a dictaphone as well. There are plenty of settings to please music connoisseurs as well.
EQ presets and a customizable 5-band graphic EQ are evident, as also 3D Surround, Mac 3 Bass options, panning and even an MP3 Enhance mode that really does enhance the sound quality.
Apart from viewing JPEGs to watching videos and listening to the FM radio and podcasts and even recording conversations, the iAudio7 lets you read documents via its .TXT reader. It reads MP3, OGG, WMA, ASF, FLAC, and WAV formats, and MPEG4 for video playback.
In a word, the iAudio7 is brilliant. It does everything it’s been designed to do with ease and offers not just adequate quality but goes a bit beyond. The bundled earphones are comfy and provide great sound.
The bad thing is the darn wire was just too short for my liking. Nevertheless, besides being clear it was loud enough to drown out ambient sounds when still a few bars shy of peak volume.
On the whole I could find nothing wrong with the kind of sound quality. The FM radio pickup was good and even the mic pickup was better than average. The battery life was simply great. I took it with me on a trip and didn’t need to charge it for seven days!
Now it’s not as if I was listening to music all the time, but after a whole audio book, over seven hours of flying time, a few hours in some airports, a few more hours here and there – and it still had some residual juice to last a little longer. Simply superb.
Transferring data to and from the device is quick and easy using mini USB 2.0.
Here’s the problem: the iAudio7 is priced at Rs 12,500 for the 8 GB and Rs 9,500 for the 4 GB model. This may seem frightfully high, but considering the device gives so much storage space, loud and clear sound, and many features, all in a small, lightweight, user-friendly package, I'd say it’s a steal. And let’s not forget the great battery life.
Now, if only they could find a way to support Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP compatibility (for the same price of course), I'd have given it a 5-star rating. But nothing's perfect... though this does come close.