I recently got a “Thanks for all your good work!” bonus from one of my contracts as I was eased out the door, and couldn’t wait to spend it on something. So, being a gadget fiend, I had to spend some of it on a gadget, of course.
As folks who read here regularly may know, I’m a totally obsessed fanatic about viewing movies on portable devices–Windows Mobile devices, Palm devices, what have you. Recently, there has been a lot of development in the portable media player (PMP) area, where the devices are getting more and more sophisticated, and there’s a lot of movement towards PDA functionality. For example, the Creative Zen Vision W is supposedly just a PMP, but it also has personal information management (PIM) capability. The Archos 604 WiFi is a PMP, but it has wifi built-in, and comes with the Opera browser pre-installed, so you can web surf and–if you’ve converted them to HTML or text–read your eBooks on it. (I am on “the list” for an evaluation unit of the Archos, but I probably won’t see it very soon.)
I may be alone in the world on this, but I’m getting a little excited by these devices. All of them–and I’m looking at about four or five right now–retail for between $250 and $500, provide 20-60GB of hard disk space, some kind of basic (hacked, usually) operating system such as Linux or Windows XP, and some expansion slots. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to look at the Archos 604 wifi and think of it with PIM added, giving you a very nice convergent device with a lot of memory for a lot less money than the UMPC currently being marketed under the Origami umbrella.
Anyway, in the meantime, I decided to pick up the Cowon. Here are the basic specs:
- Cowon A2, retailing for about $325 on Amazon.com
- 10.5 oz (298 g)
- 4.3″, 480×272 pixel TFT screen (portrait mode, ‘natch)
- built-in FM radio
I will get into all the other spec details in my full review in a couple of weeks.
(Note: I find it very interesting that for PDAs and phones, manufacturers totally brag on CPU speed, onboard RAM, and the like, but getting information like that on these PMPs is like trying to pull energy committee meeting minutes out of the Bush Administration. But I digress.)
There’s a “slip-on” package over the main package.
There’s the main interior box, fully removed from the slip-cover (which you can see to the left).
Looking down as you open the package, the first thing you see is, well, a white piece of cardboard. This is actually a box (which displays the “Cowon” logo when you flip it over) that contains the doc, warnings, warranties, and software CD. In this photo, I’ve put it on the folded-out top cover of the box.
Just underneath it, you can see the hero of the hour, the Cowon A2, nestled in a form-fitting platic case underneath a hard plastic cover. I put the plastic cover aside and set the device on the edge of the box. It is very small for a movie player; almost exactly the same size and weight as my HTC Universal; a little bigger and heavier than my Tapwave Zodiac (and a *lot* bigger than my wife’s Treo 650); comparison photos and the like in the full review.
The plastic case that holds the A2 in the box covers another interior box below, which contains all the accessories.
The A2 is plugged in to one of my house’s nine-hundred seventy-two power strips right now, and is merrily charging away. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, you should see a review of the device itself.