Join Date: Dec 2008
i9 video review vs sansa's rockboxed
I recently bought an i9 when i already have a clipzip and fuze. "How many ears do you have?" says my wife... Zzzzz she just doesn't understand, you can never have too many DAPS
So why did i buy the i9 then?
Well... it's been a long time since i have played with a cowon product, previous players i have owned include the x5 and D2 (I had the O2 but returned it within a month).
So point being I am well aware how good the sound quality is on cowon players. I had some spare pocket money lying around and after using rockboxed sansa players for so long wanted to see just how close the sound quality (SQ) was between the devices, I wanted to see if cowon could beat the mighty sansa and replace them as my preferred player for work and gym.
But why the i9? why not a j3 or a c2 or i10? The answer is that i wanted a DAP first and foremost, not a pmp. Video was not important to me as when i am either at work or gym i use the player purely for music. I also needed the player to be as small and light, unnoticeable. Even with the fuze I can become aware of it being on my person (when at work for 6-7 hrs).
So i really narrowed the criteria down to;
c) good sound quality
d) build playlists on the go
e) decent battery
The i9 seemed to tick all these points.
As you will hear from the video below I was ok with a 16gb limit, so although for many this is a deal breaker for many it wasn't for me.
Anyway enjoy the video and pics to follow. Please skip to 4:50 to see the i9 in action (I wasn't aware i was rambling for so long to begin with).
The old 'stack the players on one another' pic
Lego dudes, the ultimate scale reference
Close up. The zip is far dimmer, especially outside.
The fuze holds its own for brightness, but resolution is far more pixelated.
Other interesting things to note that I forgot to mention in the video is that the D2 does favourites (or what it calls Dynamic Play List, DPL) even worse than the i9. Even in folder mode it is impossible to add whole albums or a collection of albums in one go. It gets worse, it seems to me that the only way to add a song to the DPL is during actual playback of teh song (from the now playing screen). I would love to hear if i am wrong on this, but i
tinkered with it for 10mins or so and it was the only way i could get the 'add to DPL' function to appear.
Another weird aspect is that the i9 3.5mm port is not accepting my Ultimate Ears Super fi 5 headphones properly. More information can be found here and thank you Walkgood for your help on this matter.
So a quick list of pros and cons;
weight (lighter than fuze, heavier than zip)
screen quality is best
sound quality is best
fairly decent shortcuts to EQ settings.
battery life is best
no clip (if that matters, either way DIY)
UI is cumbersome, awkward and definately a learning curve.
creating playlists/favourites is awkward
256 file limit for favourites/on the go playlist
some headphones might be incompatabile with it
no crossfade and other little useful tweaks found in rockbox
price is highest
lack of tactile buttons (tho hold feature is nice)
very good sound quality (tho not as good as cowon)
crossfade (as well as heaps of other nice features)
easy UI (even rockbox)
Creating playlists is easier/better, no limit file limit
expandable memory (even 64gb cards work)
fastest bootup (when using rockbox)
customisable themes/fonts/now playing screen
Price is cheaper than the i9
Better controls than i9
More tactile buttons
has a clip (zip only)
controls too cramped (on zip)
lcd poor quality (especially zip but better or fuze
brightness on zip is especially poot, but pretty good on fuze
battery life is less than i9 for both models
So where does the i9 fit in? Potentially it will become my main player, I will continue to use it for a couple of weeks to really try and break the learning curve so that the UI will become second nature.
If the following are important to you, this device probably can't be beat by ANY other player (yes that's a challenge);
1) Uncompromising Sound Quality
2) 16gb maximum is fine for your needs
3) You need the smallest and lightest device possible (whilst at same time still having decent battery life
4) You mainly listen to albums all the way through or play your entire collection in shuffle/all fashion i.e. building playlists via genre etc isn't a feature you care much for.
5) decent screen quality and brightest/most easily viewed in sunlight
I welcome further questions or comments.
HULK LIKE BEANS
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanks for the interesting comparison. I've been pretty impressed with the value and convenience of the Sansas so it's useful to see how they stack up with the i9. I have several Sansas and like them a lot, though I still use my D2 the most. I'd be interested to know if the i9 SQ is about the same as the D2. Also whether you think the Clip Zip is a significant improvement over the Clip+ if album art isn't important.
Join Date: Dec 2008
You might want to look at the responses to the same review over here. Apparently owners claim the d2 is not as good as the i9 when both are set in a non tweaked way (flat eq etc). But even then the i9 has some BBE things going on that the d2 doesn't including BBE Viva (I think).
I also have the clip+, i can honestly say i am disappointed with the zip, it should have a nicer screen, its one of the worst I have seen.
Other than swopping LED for LCD the zip is the same in everyway (when rockboxed). So i wouldn't recommend the upgrade, if album art is important I would recommend clip+ > fuze (tho NOT the fuze+) as an upgrade choice, its quite nice to see rockbox working properly on a larger better screen.
HULK LIKE BEANS
very very nice. i own a F2, D2+ and a S9. big fan of COWON. i might consider getting a i9 sometime soon and trying out some UCIs for it. nice of you to still have the original D2
o sure but only mainmenu ones which is fine. there's 1-2 that i haven't linked but go here http://www.mediafire.com/?9xkb44gkc73udji and you can try them out. i think a mod removed my UCI Thread which i don't know why? hmm. i will Link to what i can find
i updated the link and added some more mainmenu and i think there's 2 music UCI in there. the C2 mainmenu and the Shadow series looked the most interesting
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Last edited by WAI; 07-22-2012 at 00:38..
you can actually preview these with Internet Explorer via Flash Player as i did