Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cowon D3 Review. Getting Better Daily.

My Cowon D3 arrived straight from Korea on Monday 1/31/2011. The D3 is the first device from Cowon running Android. At the moment it is running Android 2.1 (I think), although I'm hoping they'll upgrade it to 2.2 (or higher) eventually. I've actually seen no proof anywhere of what version Android is on the D3.  To distinguish their android devices Cowon has adopted Plenue for the class name. According to them it means "Create Pleasure".

Cowon is known for their media players, and the D3 has benefited from their media experience.  The standard Android media apps have been replaced by Cowon versions.  Nearly every available codec is supported, and so little or no transcoding will be needed to play your music and video files.

Hardware
-  Capacitive AMOLED 3.7" screen with 800 x 480 pixel resolution.
-  WiFi 802.11 b/g support.
-  FM radio, along with recording from FM.
-  Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, A2DP/AVRCP/OPP
-  Speaker
-  Microphone for audio recording.
-  G-Sensor
-  Multiple touch sensing.
-  Touch (haptic) feedback.
-  MicroSD-HC expansion slot.
-  Dimensions: 64.2mm x 116.4 x 11.8mm, 120g. or  2.53" x 4.58" x .465" thick, 4.233 ounces.

Include in the plain brown box was a proprietary USB sync cable, a Korean AC 220v Power supply, Cowon typical earbuds, and a quick guide (in Korean).   According to Cowons website  a manual CD should have been included.  It was not.
Right Edge

Bottom End













The D3 is capable of both HDMI and Composite video output, but it appears those will require separate custom cables from Cowon. I have not yet found a source for them.

Charging will take 7 hours over USB (with the screen OFF) and 3.5 hours with an AC Adapter.   You'll get an average of 21 hours music play or 10 hours video play on one battery charge.

Music: The D3 supports MP3/2/1, WMA, OGG, WAV, ASF, FLAC, APE, and M4A file formats. If you have lyrics in LDB format they can also be displayed. There are 35 JetEffect 3.0 EQ presets and 4 User configurable EQ settings available.  As with other Cowon players, a tap on the music icon takes you into the Now Playing screen. There is a big arrow in the upper right corner you can tap to take you back to the list of songs, which can be sorted by Album, Artist, Song, Folder, and Genre. The now playing screen itself has icon access to EQ presets, Shuffle and Repeat toggles, a Play ALL/1/Folder toggle, a playback speed setting that will speed up or slow down playback in 10% steps from 150% to 50% of normal speed.  Pitch doesn't change which is nice.
You also have the typical Play/Pause,  Next Track/FFwd and Previous Track/Rew buttons. Throw in a track position bar with total time and position time visible in fine print on the high resolution screen.  Songs that include the information will display their Title, Album, and Artist right below the album art. Tap on the album art to reveal Lyrics if any exist for the current song. Press down on the title, album, or artist, and after a few seconds the D3 has sorted through the entire song list for songs that match that item.
Lastly, When you tip the D3 on its side the display changes to a 3D-ish cover art arc. On this display you'll see the title of the current song, and your position number among the total number of albums. Tap on any visible cover to have it flip out and display the songs it contains (below). You can tap on any song you see listed to start playing it.  Tap the top bar of the list to flip back to the arc. Swipe left or right to rotate through all the albums.  You can turn this landscape display off in Preferences. When you do the Now Playing screen doesn't re-orient at all when the D3 is rotated.
This Music application is (almost) as thorough as the one on the J3. You can bookmark (press the D3's Menu button) any song from any list, and any position within a song.  The D3 doesn't do gapless playback.  I give Music an A-.  The sound quality is great when it isn't cutting out.  There is a need for on-board playlist/favorites creation or I'd give it an A+.

Video:  The D3 will play video formats including: AVI, WMV, ASF, MP4, MKV, MPG, DAT, TS, TP, TRP, and 3GP. Maximum resolution it will play is 1920x1080 (full High Definition), although not every resolution and audio and video codec combination up to that is guaranteed to play. It has played every video file I've thrown at it so far though. Those didn't include DAT, TP, or TRP files yet, as I have no sample files in those formats. VOB (DVD) files play if you change their extension from .VOB to .TS

You can resize many videos to fit the screen with a press on the screen or two.  Doesn't work if the videos have their own black bars. You can find videos by Folder or Thumbnail images or Bookmarks you may have previously set. The Thumbnail list (image below) adds video length to the info presented.  A long press on any movie file pops up more info, with Add to Bookmarks, Delete, and Details options.  Details will include the file name, file size, and resolution of the video.
Controls on the video Now Playing screen include AB marking, a play speed option (50% to 150% of original speed), and the usual play/pause FFwd/REW-next/previous buttons. The video title is displayed on the top edge of the screen.  Press the android menu button and you get several more options. Direct links to the list, details, and Add to Bookmarks are there, as well as Screen capture, AV-Out, and screen/subtitle settings.  Video play on the D3 gets an A+.  Better than on the J3 thanks to the larger screen size, higher resolution, and added codec support.
Pictures: The D3 will display your JPG, PNG, GIF, and BMP photo files on its beautiful AMOLED screen. The Photo app is typical Cowon.  Tapping on it you begin with the last Photo that was displayed. It will tell you the total number and position within that number of the photos in the current folder.  The big arrow in the upper right corner will take you to your photo list(s). Photos can be separated into folders, and folders can be selected individually. There is a nice slideshow feature with transitions and transition time choices.  You can manually rotate photos to best fit the screen, and they will also rotate when the D3 is itself rotated from landscape to portrait view or back.  Two-finger pinch or spread can be used to zoom out or in on details, and a double tap on the photo will also zoom in on it in steps.
Pictures can be used as contact icons or Wallpaper. Tap the photo to bring up the controls if they are not already visible.  Then tap the bottom right icon to get a pop-up window for the choices.  Now if only the D3 had a camera that contact icon feature would have been great.  As it stands, the Pictures app is fine.  Nothing overwhelming.  I'll give Pictures a B+.

FM Radio: The radio app is a welcome addition to the D3.  So far this is the only android-based  player I've got with FM radio. You'll need to have headphones plugged in to serve as antenna, and the radio will not output over bluetooth.   Options include auto-scanning for channels, Preset List, Add Preset, Preset Off, Start Recording, and Settings.   Under Settings you can set your region, and turn stereo on or off.  You also get an OFF switch.  I'll give Radio a B, as there is no RDS feature.

User Interface:  Cowon has decided they need to improve on the standard Android interface. It starts with a bottom bar that shows the available memory and amount left on the D3, next to a slider to switch between the Apps page (image below) and the home page. The left side of the bottom bar toggles between displaying the free space available, the number of running apps, and the day/date. The rest of the interface is rather normal for Android, with widgets and shortcuts and bookmarks as icons spread over 5 possible pages. On start-up the D3 wants to scan for new media you might have added, and it warns you that the system may not be responsive until it is finished.  There have been four firmware updates since I started writing this blog post, and with each the screen response and fluidity has improved. I have no doubt that Cowon will keep working on the D3 until its interface performance is on par with the iPod Touch. It is very close right now.
One thing I find annoying is the lock screen Cowon insists on using for the D3. My Archos Android players don't have it, and swipe-to-unlock is an unnecessary extra step in an otherwise competent execution.
On the good side, the D3 has external buttons for power/hold (image below), and volume +/-, play/pause, and FFwd/Rev (right side).  There are off-screen touch buttons for Back, Menu, and Home.
You can almost completely control media play without touching the screen.  A single press of the PLAY button will usually start playing music without unlocking the screen.  The power button will lock the touchscreen with one tap, turn the screen OFF with a quick double-tap, and bring up the power OFF option with a two second hold.
Bluetooth: I had no trouble pairing the D3 with my bluetooth headphones. I was disappointed to discover there is no gapless playback using bluetooth. Controls worked fine from the headphones or the D3, including volume. Additionally, in the Music app's preferences, you can turn off the headphone's ability to control the D3.  I tried pairing a bluetooth keyboard to the D3 and although it paired it reported there was no support for keyboards.  The D3 does support file transfers over bluetooth, but my first few attempts (with my PC and an Archos 43)  have failed after downloads got past 80%. I have succeeded since.  I'll blame it on the earlier firmware.  At this point bluetooth for headphones is still a little buggy.  I had the occasional cut-out or momentary freeze while listening to music, and I've never experienced the same on any other player. As such, Bluetooth gets a C+.  Hopefully it will improve with firmware updates.

Internet:  I had no trouble connecting to my home or work Wifi. The web browser works reasonably well, and multitouch zooming is greatly appreciated.  There is a slight response delay after tapping on any on-screen link. It is as if the screen sensor has to think for a second before responding.  Side-by-side with my iPod Touch the difference is notable. Scrolls are just a bit choppy on the D3 where they are smooth on the Touch.  The D3 will show more info on a screen than the iPod Touch as the Touch adds an options bar on every web screen.  The 800 x 480 screen is good, but not as crisp in detail as the Touch's 960 x 640 Retina display.  Many web pages recognize the Touch and reformat to a Mobile view for it.  The D3 usually gets a more typical PC page view on the same pages.  Double-tap and finger-spead to zoom both work as expected.   The web browser experience is better than on any lower resolution device, and better than any device without multitouch. It still isn't up to the standard set by Safari on an iPod Touch or iPhone, so Internet gets a B from me.

Apps:  No app store on the D3.  I've been able to side-load applications to my D3, and most have installed with no problem, the lack of an on-board market is a serious shortcoming Cowon needs to address.  Out of the box the D3 includes your typical music, video, pictures, and radio media apps.  You get email, web browser, YouTube, calculator (including simple and scientific versions), task manager, document (.txt) viewer, alarm clock, paint, voice recorder, calendar, contacts, comix, and twitter too. There are a few more apps on the Korean version of the D3 that disappeared when I installed the North American firmware.  Until either Cowon or hackers get a Market app working on the D3 I have to give it a C B for Apps.

Update 3/23/2011: Amazon.com has opened their Android Appstore now, and although the number of apps available is small you can expect it to grow exponentially. Easy to add their app to the D3.

Conclusions:  The D3 is a nice package with decent hardware and great potential. It has the power to drive my large Sennhieser headphones with authority. Music and Video codec support is the best you'll find. There are two reasons I won't recommend the D3 right now:  Price and maturity.  Amazon.com lists the D3 with 32gb of memory for $358.  A 32gb iPod Touch is $275. The new D3 is NOT $83 better than a new Touch.  The price is too high, even if every feature worked perfectly.   As I stated previously, Cowon has updated the D3 Firmware 4 times since I received it. It still exhibits random freezes, audio cut-outs, slow touch response, and no easy access to Android apps.   I assume Cowon will eventually resolve these issues, but right now the D3 performs worse than my old HTC Hero Android phone. Cowon needs more experience with Android.  Hopefully they are learning fast, as the D3 is not quite ready for prime time.

2/10 EDIT:  Cowon updated the firmware on 2/10/2011 to version x.27.  I've installed 3.27 on my D3, and the audio cut-outs I mentioned seem to have been eliminated.   Still no gapless playback, and no apps store.

4D.

P.S.  If you appreciate my blog, please consider clicking on one of the ads.   Thanks! 

83 comments:

  1. That looks like a really nice media player. However, at that price, I'm in no hurry to buy it haha. Great review! Very detailed and informative.

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  2. this maybe the review that cements my choice for the archos 43. thanks so much!

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  3. Thanks for the review. I won't quit my J3 just yet.

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  4. Does it have a pentile screen?

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  5. Not that I know of, Anonymous. No mention of PenTile in the specs or on Cowon's website.

    4D

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  6. Greetings, so you don't the Cowon superior audio quality is worth the additionals dollars, everything else equal?

    Sebastian

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  7. Good question, Sebastian.

    Cowon audio quality is indeed worth something over the audio output of a Touch. The problem is still with "everything else". My D3 audio cuts-out. There is no App store on the D3. The UI is less responsive than on the Touch. Etc..

    Cowon has a long way to go to get to "everything else is equal". At this point it is too expensive for what it does. A firmware update could fix that, and if it does I'll update my review.

    4D

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  8. Any updates on the D3? Is it any better with firmware updates. What do you think wait ... buy ... do not buy? It's between this and the X7 right now.

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  9. Skoog: Nothing new from Cowon so far. I'm running the latest (as of 2/10/2011) Korean 1.27 firmware. The audio cut-out is still there an no app store has shown up yet.

    As for an X7, I don't have one. You'll have to find some other reviews for that one.

    4D

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  10. hmmm ... does not sound too promising.

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  11. Great review. I'm more of an audiophile so I'm going to more than likely pick one up. I've heard that the audio on this one is even better than compared with the J3. Is it true?

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  12. Not sure about the "truth" of what you heard. To my old ears they sound the same, and the D3 doesn't do gapless playback (yet).

    4D

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  13. Hi 4DThinker. Awesome review; I was thinking about buying the Cowon D3 until I read it. Since you reviewed the D3 and the Archos 43 and 32 I was wondering if you can do a side-by-side comparison? I don't need an Android phone but would like a PMP with it just don't know which to get. Any insights would be appreciated.

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  14. I've got a 43 vs D3 showdown in the works, but want to see how good the D3 can get with a few more updates before posting it. As it is right now the D3 has a prettier screen by far, but is also far buggier than the 43. It is also too expensive given those bugs.

    4D

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  15. Hey 4D, First; thanks for the review and the time to answer questions. Second, Have you tried or had any luck side loading the android store on the D3 yet? (gappinstaller, iirc)

    Thanks

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  16. Cowon dropped the ball again first with the J3 now with the D3..

    Cowon should just shut down.

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  17. Anonymous: Yes, I've tried several ways to add the Market and so far all have failed. The D3 may be too expensive for XDA devs to pick up on, and it may unfortunately take such a devoted hacker to get the market installed on it.

    Ultrimate: You might be right. They've dropped this D3 ball, but are still dribbling it around. If they keep up the current firmware update pace I can see the last release being all net; Three Points!

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  18. i was leaning toward the d3 because of the hardware buttons. I can't image using a button free player, but your review of the 42 was convincing.

    Money is not the problem but i was hoping the d3 had a few games or apps and i see the other one does. i don't need a app store but it would be nice since its running android

    I was wondering if the price were lower on the d3 which would you buy.

    I heard that the d3 is very laggy, i don't know if the updates have fixed that. i have about 600 songs and 200 videos and can't have a slow player.

    do you do video reviews or know a good one of the d3

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  19. The D3 will need a few more firmware updates to fix the music app bugs as well as speed up the UI. I don't recommend it at the current price and condition. I don't shoot video, but you could search Youtube for "Cowon D3" for some.

    4D

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  20. What do you think about the comparison between the J3 and D3? The J3 seems to have rave reviews. Is there much of a difference if all you are looking for is quality sound and a decent screen to watch movies. I am not sure if the price difference is worth it. I don't really care about android or not .. just sound and video.

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  21. D3: Larger, higher resolution screen. Better for video. Still has bugs.
    J3: Still a great media player. Nearly perfect with no bugs.

    Right now, the D3 isn't worth the price difference over the J3 if all you want is a Music/Video player.

    4D

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  22. Well I had a chance to play around with the D3 at one of the big Yodabashi Camera stores in Akihabara today. They had the X7, J3, D3 and others. I have to say it was a disappointment. I see what you mean about the lag time. And the price for what you get is not worth it yet.

    The D3 is great looking, great screen and sound, but the price and lag is a big drag.

    I see that there is a 1.29 firmware update. I am wondering how that will fix the issues.

    I will patiently wait until the price drops and they fix everything. The J3 screen is too small for me.

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  23. Howz the D3 with the most recent firmware 1.29?

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  24. 1.29 added a few new features. Music app a little more stable. Email app crashes often for some reason. Price has dropped $10 at Amazon and jetmall.

    4D

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  25. So maybe another couple of months before everything is worked out and the price drops to a reasonable price.

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  26. You bet, Skoog. They might even have it all fixed in less time, given how often they are pushing out updates. You can bet they are serious about it given the firmware activity.

    4D

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  27. Hello
    I have been searching lately for a new music player and in the end found two good product : the cowon d3 and the archos 43. both are android based devices and play a broad range of music format including flac support.
    I read a lot of review concerning these two devices, what I found out was that the d3 is still work in progress as an android device. I found that cowon is though to have a good audio quality and shoud beat archos on this point. I read your reviews and know that you have the two, and therefore would like to know your opinion concerning the audio quality of both of them.

    My old music player cost me 100$ when I bought it. I don't know if the audio quality is good and I am probably not an audiophile. What I would like to know is, at my current level, will the audio quality of the archos will be quite good ?
    Also, there seems to be a hype on cowon audio quality. Is there really sooooo much difference between the audio of archos and the audio of the j3 or the d3 ? I am ready to try a cowon if it's 3 times as good as others but if it's just 1.05... It's gonna be difficult to answer this question frankly for a fan of cowon like you but do your best :)

    Also, should I expect a better audio quality on the archos than on my little player ? Most probably but I ask just in case.

    I read on a review that the cowon D3 is first a music player and then an android device. It has a capacitive screen compared to the archos but is running on a less powered hardware and has an older version of android. Being an android second means that it may lag and my not be as good while using many applications like an android device. I don't know about android device, but is the device so much underpowered by the cpu ? Would it hurt to use it 50%/50% for audio and as an smart device ?

    Ho, and sorry for the so many questions and a wall of text. I am just enjoying your knowledge with the two devices and your apparent interest of sound quality.

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  28. Kevin,

    If you only use the headphones included with both devices, there won't be much difference to your ears. If you have great headphones and have excellent hearing, then the Cowons (J3 and D3) both stand out for their clarity, less channel crossover, better signal/noise ratios, etc..

    As for the android features, the Archos 43 would be the one I'd recommend. No app store at all on the Cowon D3, and less system memory for apps as far as I can tell. Both will get your email and web browsing if you have WiFi access. Both have big screens. The D3 benefits from the AMOLED screen and multi-touch. It also costs considerably more than the 43.

    At some point (after a few more D3 firmware updates) I'll probably do a side-by-side showdown between them. You might consider the Archos 32 as an entry point to android. Its music capabilities are the same as the 43.

    4D

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  29. Do you know if they ship it to Canada?

    Great review. I think I'm going to get it. Hopefully they will fix the problems soon.

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  30. hello sir,
    Cowon has released the new firmware upgrade "COWON D3 Firmware V x.31" for D3 could you please review it .. ? :) planning to buy a Music player from my 1st salary :) also could you suggest great music players with large storage capacity. I have a music collection of 80 gigs . ..

    Thanks & Regards,
    Puneeth N
    India.

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  31. @Puneeth: Thanks for visiting my blog. Firmware 3.31 has resolved the music app error, although it hasn't added gapless playback. The price (in the U.S.) for a 32gb D3 is still higher than a 32gb iPod Touch with better capabilities. There is still no apps store on the D3. The media database still wants to insist on updating every time the D3 is turned on. Angry Birds still plays with graphic flaws.

    If you want an android device consider the Archos 43. Cowon has missed the mark with its D3 in my opinion.

    4D

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  32. @Pouria: I have no way to know if any source will ship a D3 to Canada. Sorry.

    4D

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  33. Puneeth: The Cowon X7 is 160gb. The iPod Classic also is 160gb. If size doesn't matter Archos make a 5" tablet with 500gb.

    4D

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  34. Thanks for your review. I was looking for a music player which has balance between sound - video quality and extra functions such as internet surfing via wifi and applications. After reading your review, I decided to get a D3 rather than an iTouch: Cowon has gained great reputation for sound quality of their products; a 800x480 AMOLED display ensures a good video playback (well, maybe not as good as iTouch's Retina, but not to be considered bad). iTouch is better in other non-music-and-video things, but D3's more-than-basic wifi access and Android experience are enough for me. There are various ways to get *.apk files from the internet. Though there are still problems with its performance currently, I think it would be improved with future firmware updates.
    Many people say it's ridiculous that a D3 costs more than an iTouch in US, but have they considered taxes and fees that are applied to D3 imported to US and to iTouch imported to other countries? In Korea, an 8gb iTouch is 319,000 Korea Won while an 8gb D3 is KRW289,000. iTouch also costs more than D3 in my country.
    Well, hope I can have my D3 next week when my friend come back from Korea :D

    Best regards,
    Khanh T. Pham ^^

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  35. Is this true that device that is shipped from Amazon.com does not look like a "Factory Sealed" box? Cause I was reading the comments and one of them said that it does not
    "Don't expect the box to have the appearance of something that's been 'Factory Sealed'"

    So it is true? and If it is, then how can I know if it is new?

    Thanks for you review again, it was really unbiased.

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  36. @Pouria: Cowon is just being creative with the packaging. Scroll to the bottom of the link page below...

    http://www.cowonglobal.com/product_wide/COWOND3/product_page_3.php

    A new D3 has a film over the screen, the cables are neatly wrapped, etc... You'll be able to tell.

    4D

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  37. @4DThinker: Oh i see! Interesting! Thank you so much.
    I think I should place my order on Amazon.com then! :D

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  38. Hey 4DTHinker I have just purchased a Cowon D3 device based on your great review of it. I have had some trouble installing apps onto it though, and by having trouble I mean i really don't know how to, and there's no information anywhere on how to. I would be very grateful if you could help this poor ignorant person here.

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  39. There is an APK folder you can see on your D3 when it is plugged into and mounted on your PC. Copy any *.APK files you find on the web to that folder. When the D3 is ejected/unmounted from the PC it will see them and offer to install them. A Google Search for "free android apps" should locate a few sources.

    4D

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  40. Hello, I was just looking through Rockbox apps for android but I don't know which one to download that would work well on my D3 could you please suggest a link?

    Thanks, Anonymous

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  41. The version I have on my D3 came from here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/538735/the-official-rockbox-for-android-registry#post_7263746.

    Look for the version for 800 x 480 resolution.

    4D

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  42. Just confirming, the D3 will indeed play m4a (Apple Lossless)?

    Sebastian

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  43. 320kbps or less M4As I had played fine, but when I ripped a new CD in Apple Lossless using the latest iTunes for win7 the only app on my D3 that would play them was Rockbox. Winamp wouldn't. The stock music player wouldn't either. So the answer is yes or no, but yes with rockbox.

    4D

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  44. hello i want a player that has the best sound quality, i dont care about videos but a screen for album art and easy file browsing is needed
    any suggestion please?
    P.S larger than 8 gb in size is prefferable

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  45. Consider the Cowon J3. It take a short while to get used to it, but is both the best sounding player I have as well as the easiest to use for finding the music on it I want to hear. Available in 8gb, 16gb, and 32gb versions, and all support a microSD card up to another 32gb.

    4D

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  46. Thank you for a very helpful review. I'm currently considering Cowon D3 as a replacement for my Zen X-Fi. I got my eyes on J3 before, but I wanted a Wi-Fi capable Cowon PMP. Thank God they made the D3. Though I've read a lot of negative reviews regarding its reaction time with its touch screen interface but did it really improved a lot since the first release? I couldn't find a video with an updated firmware of it to compare so I couldn't tell.

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  47. @Pink: Yes, the frequent updates have gone a long way toward making the D3 a more responsive and better player than it was when it first came out. You have to give it a couple of minutes to scan for media and load processes on boot-up, but after that it will start responding as well as any other android device I have. Use the Task Manager to turn OFF unused apps to keep things running quickly. It could still be better, but Cowon is demonstrating that they WANT it to be the best it can be, so I don't think you'll be disappointed. Keep your receipt just in case though.

    4D

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  48. Hey 4D.
    From the comment you put up there it seems like the J3 is a better sounding player than the D3,is that in general or is it because it can do gapless and last longer?

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  49. @Anonymous: Gapless and longer playing...yes. Sound quality is about the same on both (at least to my ears).

    4D

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  50. I got some questions again. Does the portrait to landscape transition still have lag like the ones i saw in some videos? Also, for the songs placed in the microSD card, are they included in the song list? Because with my zen x-fi, they have a different list for the SD songs. And lastly, what do you mean by gapless? I apologize for the questions, but I really want to know the product before i buy one. Thank you.

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  51. Hello, 4d, ive been keeping up with your posts on the d3 and other news about it in general, because i am still tossing up between a j3 or a d3. Frankly i dont care about android because i already have an android phone, htc legend and i prefer older styles of music players to escape the whole apps deal and also to escape lag issues.
    At the moment the only thing that is stopping me from buying the j3 is probably the bigger screen and resolution; in general the video capabilities. Of course i want the best music quality, but if its as you say and there is not much difference between the j3 and d3 then i dont mind either. I decided that if i get the j3 i would get a 32gb, and if i get a d3, then id get a 16gb, so price isnt the issue.
    also i noted that the j3 has a bigger battery life which is goo.
    so my question is, what would you recommend based on my preferences? is it worth waiting a few more months to wait for the d3 to get better, or is the j3 still going to be better?
    thanks and sorry for my long post

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  52. @Pink: The D3 still needs a minute or two to finish up it's startup task when first turned on. After that how well it reacts depends on how many processes are loaded in the background. The UI itself doesn't turn, but in the photo or browser a switch from landscape to portrait or back doesn't seem to take any longer than it does on my iPod Touch. About a one-count. I suppose the photo app might take longer with huge photos than it does with small files. You HAVE to give the D3 a chance to get warmed up though. No instant-on and running from startup.

    Song from SD and internal memory are combined in the music database. You can also browse by folder and find them seperately if you want.

    Gapless is where consecutive songs an a concert album, when the applause or chatter crosses over between tracks is played without a silent break that interrupts the audio flow.

    4D

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  53. @Anonymous: The J3 has been getting tiny fixes lately, but nothing major will be coming to improve it. The D3 is expecting a significant android update this month or next. If you don't care about apps then get the J3 right now. Enjoy the greater capacity you'll get for your money. If you want what WiFi and android can bring to the table, then I'd wait until the next update and new reviews that follow. No guarantee Cowon can make the D3 a perfect device, even with an update.

    4D

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  54. I see. Because I saw on alot of videos that the transition from protrait to landscape while viewing pictures, took about more or less 5 seconds. And there's a point where it looks somewhat stuck. Another question, you said in your answer on the previous question that "The D3 is expecting a significant android update this month or next", does that mean that Cowon will release a newer version of D3? And if I already bought one now, I won't be able to update? Or I could get the Android update even if I buy now?Sorry, I'm just a little confused. Thank you.

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  55. @Pink: Not a new D3, but new firmware for the D3. There is always the possibility Cowon will release a better D3 in the future, but any D3 you buy now will be capable of the upcoming update coming this month or next.

    4D

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  56. Hello 4D thinker, I have a really important question I feel only you would bother to answer. I have a D3 and every time I'm viewing pictures or reading articles or watching films, if there is the slightest vibration i start seeing lines all across the screen, they're very subtle but still noticeable. I was wondering if that happened with all D3 or is mine just defective? I already posted this on iaudiophile but no one seemed to care. Thanks for any help you can give.
    Mawnz
    P.s. clicked on a few ads like you said

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  57. @Anonymous: My D3 doesn't show any lines when bumped or moved. My guess is that their is a weak connection between your screen and the video controller. If you have Cowon's HDMI cable for the D3 you could see if the same thing happens when hooked to an HDTV. If the TV looks fine when you bump the D3 then your problem will indeed be between the screen and the motherboard.

    Give the place you ordered your from and see if they'll replace yours under warranty. It is NOT a symptom I've heard anyone else complain about, so it seem yours is defective.

    4D

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  58. Hi, it's me again..finally got my hands on a D3. it's quite expensive from where I bought it in singapore but, I guess it's alright since I really wanted it.

    I'm having no problems with it other than white blocks while playing some games, but it's alright since I bought it for the music and wifi anyway. I also read in some forums and blogs that it's just a problem with the game and firmware rendering incompatibility and it could be fixed soon.

    Overall, I'm very satisfied with my D3 and I find it worth the price. I already installed some apps with the help of Android's Mobile Market and some other markets since Amazon's Android Market is only available in the US and Google's Android Market isn't compatible with D3. I honestly think that the D3 isn't as smooth as I imagined it would be.

    Lastly, thank you so much for answering our questions. It really helped me with my decision. More powers to you and your posts.

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  59. What is the sound quality like? Does it color the sound at all or does it leave it neutral?

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  60. @Dan: The D3 does a better job of playing my audio files than any other player I've owned except Cowon's J3. My ears don't hear any coloring of the output when listening through my best Sennheiser headset. Just crisp, clear expression of every detail in the song.

    Your ears may disagree though. Best to listen for yourself. ;)

    4D

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  61. Hi guys,

    I just bought the D3, and upgraded to the latest x.33 firmware. It's my first time using an android device, and while I did buy this just for the high sound quality I've come to expect from Cowon, I also want to use some 3rd party apps. Anyone here has apps to recommend? I'm definitely not going to play games on this baby, it's just for the music.

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  62. Hey guys, I made a move from Cowon J3 (16GBs) to D3 (32GBs) a few days ago and my impressions are... under-satisfactory. I get the feeling D3 sounds A LOT warmer than the J3. I'm actually using the beta 1.52 firmware from the Korean site and I must report that it is very stable. Although there are some small bugs here and there with one freeze so far (due to performance).

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  63. hey 4D thinker, I was just wondering. Have you updated the D3 with the latest update? I was reading somewhere that it now has Android 2.3. Have you seen any improvements with it? Anything new?

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  64. Yes, I put the Korean beta 1.52 (android 2.3) on my D3. Still buggy (email doesn't work) and I haven't seen any updates to an official version since. I recommend waiting for an official non-beta release.

    4D

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  65. Is the power supply a 2-pin or 3-pin?

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  66. On the device end it's got two contacts. outside and in. On the Wall end also two prongs. Hope that helps.

    4D

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  67. I am impressed with your review and how you have kept up with all the comments over the time.

    I am hemming and hawing between the J3 and the D3. I dont have a device with wifi other then my laptop so it is very attractive. I can live without wifi though, technology addiction aside.

    But my actual question is related to the new android update for the device (Gingerbread) what are your opinions on it? Has it made everything smooth now that it isnt beta?

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  68. The Gingerbread update add some new needed features, but didn't add gapless playback, and didn't speed up the processor enough for challenging android games. The UI is smooth once booted up and database updated. Takes a minute or two. The D3 sounds as good as the J3, and what WiFi brings is a great addition. Personally I leave my J3 at home when taking a player with me and take my D3 because I can check email, the web, the weather, etc..

    4D

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  69. hey i was looking to buy the d3 but I had a few questions first:

    1.is there an app store yet? and also if there is, is there a wide selection of games/apps available yet?
    2. is the touch screen response as good as an iPod Touch or iPhone yet?
    3. when you put music on the microsd, and after the d3 reads it and sees new music, do all the music files from the d3 hard drive and microsd hard drive all show up in the same place? for example, say i have 500 songs on the d3 and 500 on the microsd...will the music library show 500 or all 1000?

    i really want a cowon because of the music sq but i dont want the j3 because the main reason why i have an ipod touch is for the wide selection of apps, so im hoping as they continue to update the firmware it will eventually almost be like an iPod Touch but a lot better sq

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  70. 1. Doesn't come with an app store, but you can add the amazon appstore as well as a few other's out there.
    2. The touch screen response is quick, as long as the D3 has had time to boot up and checked it's database for new media.
    3. All 1000.

    4D

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  71. ahh thanks! cleared some questions up...if you don't mind...could I ask a couple more?

    people said you could find the app .apk file i think it was called and load that onto the d3...do you know if there are a lot of those available? like i said im a big app fan hence why I have an ipod touch

    and how much better do you think the firmware updates will make the d3? like what changes do you think might happen? and do you think they will add an app store of their own?

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  72. *.apk files are program files you can install on android devices. Yes, there are several sources for them. Google search for "apk downloads" to start.

    I'm not sure we'll see any more improvement for the D3. It is nearly a year old and has been updated several times already. If they haven't added an app store by now, I doubt we'll see one. Maybe on the next android device Cowon might bring out.

    4D

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  73. i heard that some apps have problems running with the d3 because the d3's OS isn't pure android and was altered for the d3. is this true? do you know what kinds of problems people might be having?

    and also do you know when maybe a d3+ might come out?

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  74. Justin,
    The latest firmware has resolved the problems from when it first came out. All they altered were the media apps, and to improve them over the standard android media apps. More codecs supported etc..

    As for a new android device from Cowon, only Cowon knows.

    4D

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  75. Hello 4D,

    I just read that the D3 now officially supports all Apple codecs, including Apple Lossless. Can you confirm please?

    Sebastian

    Anonymous said...
    Just confirming, the D3 will indeed play m4a (Apple Lossless)?

    Sebastian

    March 30, 2011 6:13 PM
    4DThinker said...
    320kbps or less M4As I had played fine, but when I ripped a new CD in Apple Lossless using the latest iTunes for win7 the only app on my D3 that would play them was Rockbox. Winamp wouldn't. The stock music player wouldn't either. So the answer is yes or no, but yes with rockbox.

    4D

    March 30, 2011 7:46 PM

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  76. Hey 4d,
    I have been sulking as of now , almost all across web. There is just one single question i have.
    Cowon J3 or Cowon D3 ? the only priority is sound quality .
    - Sun

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  77. Between the J3 and the D3, I'd get the J3 if Audio Quality/Performance is your only measure. Why? Gapless playback on the J3 that isn't on the D3.

    4D

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  78. Hey ! Thanks for the reply , but actually gapless
    playback is not a priority , since i would play tracks of length >= 1 hour , the only thing which matters is how they sound comes in my in-ears(westone 4).
    the other reason is i am buying from india.

    Cowon J3 32GB : 17,836 Rupees
    Cowon D3 32GB : 18,418 Rupees

    if there is no compromise in how sound comes ,
    i would like to go for D3.
    -Sun

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  79. Hey, I'm not sure if you noticed, but on Amazon the price has now dropped to $219.99, which in my mind is a great price, all things considering.

    Out of curiosity, I notice that your main gripe has always been gapless playback with the thing, which I assume means there is a pause between tracks (Forgive me, I'm not so much an audiophile as someone who just enjoys having good tech on hand). Is the "gap" between songs excessive (>1sec), or is it simply noticeable?

    Also, I must ask about the installation of applications (I have never had an android based device, and I've been using MP3 players for too long not have a decent one in my book). You mention side loading apps. The term is somewhat lost to me; Do you mean you put the installation data onto the D3 yourself, then run the install from there?

    Thanks for your help.

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  80. Music gap is noticable. Side loading simply means copying apps from your PC to the device for install rather then over WiFi from an app store.

    Have a look at the Samsung 4" and 5" Android players. They are the most current devices available in the U.S. at the moment. Cowon has their Z2 available in Europe, and even Sony has a new Android player coming out.

    4D

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  81. I've been wanting to want this very badly. But I've decided I'm not buying another mp3 player that doesn't have reasonable playlist management on board. Of course, given that android pmps are starting to show up; that may mean I have to write the thing myself.

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