Getting started with the Cowon D2 is a simple task on Windows XP. (The player also works with previous Windows versions back to 98, as well as Mac and Linux operating systems.) You can simply connect the player to your computer using the included USB cable and begin transferring content, either via drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer or by using Windows Media Player (WMP).
Cowon also includes a software CD that includes JetShell for transferring files and JetAudio for media playback and conversion. We prefer WMP to JetShell for syncing, but JetAudio is a worthwhile install -- and necessary if you want to convert video for playback on the D2. Transcoding takes time, but it proved easy to do in testing, and the resulting files played back flawlessly on the D2. We had to use drag-and-drop, however, to transfer it over -- WMP gave an error message.
As we've come to expect from Cowon players, the D2 sounds great when paired with a decent pair of headphones, such as the Shure E4c. You'll definitely want to replace the set that comes with the player -- they sound pretty awful.
The multitude of sound-adjustment options should help you find the perfect balance for your tastes. Overall, tunes sounded rich, warm and detailed with a thumping low-end to satisfy bass-freaks. The stellar sound quality remained consistent across all genres of music.
Photos looked crisp and detailed on the bright, colour screen, and it's cool to see the chunky, pixillated effect just before an image comes fully into focus.
Video playback also proved more than acceptable -- we wouldn't mind watching a 30-minute clip on the D2, though we still think the screen is too small for feature-length movie watching.
The rated battery life of 52 hours for audio and 10 hours for video is also nothing to scoff at -- indeed, it's very impressive, and we can't wait to see how it pans out in our CNET labs testing. Check back for those results.
This unit has a nice, high-quality feel to it and offers a beautiful touchscreen as well as loads of features, including DRM support. You can expect to pay a premium for this high-end MP3 player, though. At around £140 for the 2GB version and £180 for the 4GB model, the D2 costs more than the Creative Zen V Plus, which offers similar features but twice the memory for comparable prices.
Edited by Bonnie Cha
Additional editing by Kate Macefield