Cowon iAudio 7: Just Powerfull Batery

Cowon latest flash-based portable media player certainly looks promising on the surface. Once the sexy black device's tiny, low-resolution screen lights up, though, its mystique quickly vanishes. Yes, it works, but it's frustrating to use and the display is a joke.

Menu navigation is no fun. Graphics look cheap and the interface is convoluted. Worse, buttons are easy to trigger accidentally, so on less you have the Hold switch on, simply moving the player to another hand or surface could make it skip to the next track.

The iAudio 7 can handle MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, and WAV music files, but there’s no AAC support, and the device screens only JPEG photo. Videos look especially bad: You must convert AVI, XviD, or MPEG-4 to a resized 160-by-120 MPEG-4 at 15 fps, using the included software.

My battery test yielded an impressive 51 hours 46 minutes, but the iAudio 7 is too much of a pain to navigate for this to really matter. If you're looking for a player with a great screen and a fun interface, spring the extra $30 for the iriver Clix gen 2.

Cowon iAudio 7: 4GB ($169.99), 8GB ($219.99)

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