Cowon A3 media player review

Today, the Cowon A3 seems a bit atypical. On the one hand, it belongs to the highest segment of portable media players: powerful video capabilities, high-quality and advanced display. And on the other hand, today's "high-end" from PMP, in addition to its original functions, offers additional functionality: wireless data transmission, touch displays, Internet access, digital TV reception, after all. At the same time, for their native Korea, the “Kovonovites” produce such devices that you will swing! How do you, for example, PMP on Windows CE with a touch screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, DVB-T, Bluetooth, HSDPA and a whole lot more? Meanwhile, this is not fiction, but a real-life Cowon Q5. True, it is not yet widely available, although they promised to “roll out” the device by autumn.

But back to A3. He has signs of both types of PMP at once, "ordinary" and "advanced". Apparently, Cowon simply does not want competition between two devices of their own production, or they are preparing something completely incredible, and A3 was chosen as a transitional model. The latter option is also supported by the fact that outwardly the A3 was left almost identical to its successful predecessor, the A2, but the functionality was somewhat expanded and a display worthy of the Q5 was installed, only without touch capabilities.

In a word, this PMP, in my opinion, was artificially limited to traditional functions, while bringing them to a level unattainable for competitors. That is, they made a device on which it is comfortable to watch videos of different formats and listen to music, and the “advanced” functions were left for other models, which was to be proved.

The A3's trump card is, of course, the display. He, with a diagonal of 4 inches, has a resolution of 800x480 pixels, there was simply nothing like this before, both in Cowon and competitors. To match the display and support for video formats: DivX / XviD in AVI, H.264, MJPEG and WMV containers, as well as DVD VOB format.

The rest of the A3 functionality is quite expected, these features can be found in almost any PMP: a 30 GB hard drive, wide support for audio formats, radio, text and image file viewing. True, there is also a direct video recording, which not every device can boast of. At one time, the A2 competed with the Archos AV series, but the French decided to forego direct video recording in their PMPs, now requiring an external dock.

In a word, Cowon's device turned out to be at least curious, and at most - the best of the "simple" PMPs for today. So let's see how far it went from minimum to maximum.

Body and design

The A3 has the most classic form factor, the device is made in the form of a rectangular "brick". Actually, it is precisely this form of body that is associated with RMP, so there is nothing criminal in the fact that it has become familiar for a long time.

The classic theme is developed by the material and color scheme of the case, everything here is just like a textbook: smooth plastic and a combination of silver and black. Well, a glossy front panel, of course. Behind this choice, one can see the desire of designers, on the one hand, to make it “in a modern way”, and on the other hand, not to scare away a conservative-minded audience. And, apparently, such a design in Cowon is considered very successful, if they did not change it for the new model. However, the same approach has already been used in the iAudio 6 and 7 models, apparently, the company takes care of the developments already made.

Due to its familiar appearance, the A3 looks rather boring from the outside, but the design of the device is universal, and its various elements have already been used in many other models, both from Cowon and other manufacturers. On the other hand, the versatility of the design should benefit sales, at least due to the fact that the appearance of the device, in theory, should not cause rejection at all, even for a young, even for an adult audience. It goes well with any style of clothing and will look equally at home when removed from an EastPak backpack or from a formal business briefcase.

In addition, in matters of design and appearance, sometimes there are small nuances that can radically change the perception of a particular device. A3 has such a nuance. The player looks strict and conservative only when turned off. As soon as you turn it on, you simply stop paying attention to the design, because everything is drawn to the display. However, about him a little lower.

Accordingly, Cowon made a joystick for their X5, not big and not small, but just normal. Well, they used it in A2 and then in A3. That's why I'm so glad to see him, because I noticed the convenience back in the X5. In a word, I think it is already clear that the A3 joystick is comfortable, has the right size and is well balanced in this sense. The finger does not slip on it, pressing is fixed accurately, there are practically no errors. There is also a click when pressed and decent feedback.

The rest of the controls, which is curious, are also not without surprises, despite the general "classic" of the device. Here, the intrigue is added by the fact that A2 did not get to us for testing at one time, so everything is new to me in A3, the novelty factor works. In general, for sure, in the A3 all the controls migrated unchanged. But I will consider them based on what I see for the first time. However, this should not leave a special imprint on the impression of management.

First of all, the line of buttons under the joystick is of interest. The buttons are fashionable, thin and oblong. Only now, at first glance, the signatures to them are somehow strange. One, the top one, is signed as Back, which is generally understandable - returning to the previous menu level, canceling an action, and so on. But below are three of the same buttons, signed with the letters A, B and C. It’s hard to figure out which one is for what, even with the traditional means of stimulating brain activity, that is, the notorious “half a liter”. But if you turn on the player, everything becomes clear without any instructions (especially since the tested sample was completely devoid of them, and they are not yet available on the network). The fact is that the functions of the buttons, if they work, are written at the bottom of the display. Something like this: A - call the menu, B - setting some parameter, C - hide the inscriptions. Comfortable and similar to mobile phones. Somewhere in the RMP, I already met a similar solution, but now, perhaps, I don’t remember, perhaps these were not RMPs at all.

Buttons, despite their design form, which makes it possible to suspect them of inconvenience, behave decently and work conscientiously. There is tangible feedback, clicks are fixed with a click, clearly and without repetition.

In addition to the joystick and buttons, the A3 also has one button and a sliding switch in stock. The button is located on the right side surface in a special recess, so that its surface is flush with the body surface. The decision is correct, so the button will not wipe off when worn, and, more importantly, the likelihood of accidentally turning the device on and off will be reduced.

Finally, an inconspicuous and flat sliding switch lurks on the lower side panel, it serves to switch the signal output to an external display and block the control. There are no complaints about the operation of the button and switch, they “do not shine” and easily carry the load.

In general, the control of the A3 is made, like the device itself, according to the classical canons, it is easy and simple to master and seems quite logical, there is no wandering in search of the desired button, everything is clear and immediately clear.

Display and Menu

Usually, each device that comes to me for a test (if it is, of course, not quite super-budget) has some kind of trump card - design, sound, or maybe some kind of control. It’s more fun to write about him, and the section, accordingly, turns out to be more detailed or interesting, it all depends on the trump card. So A3 has such a trump card, already known to everyone, since it has already been mentioned many times, both in the podcast, and in the introduction, and in the news all over the network. This is a display. At first glance, nothing special, this is not the AV700 from Archos, where at first glance it became clear that the device is serious, seven inches is no joke. And the A3 has the usual display diagonal of four inches, so at first glance you can’t determine the champion in it. True, the screen is widescreen, which may lead to suspicion, but still there is nothing really special about the appearance of the display.

Reinforces the impression of a "picture" on the display as a whole. In addition to good resolution, the A3 display can also please with good colors. The image looks really saturated, bright, while there is no colorization effect, when devices go too far with the brightness of colors, and the picture looks unnatural. Here everything is fine with the A3, with the help of the device it is pleasant to look at the photo and show it to others, in this parameter, I think, one can draw parallels between the Cowon A3 and portable photobanks from Epson.

The main menu of the device consists of eight sections, represented by large, well-drawn icons, which is nice, devoid of animation, in most cases completely stupid and useless. And without it, the interface looks much stricter and "mature", which is very important for devices designed for an adult audience. And not only for them. Recently, it seems that, contrary to the conviction of marketers, few people like the “fashionable” twitchy interface, without adjusting for age.

Menu contents: Movie, Music, Photo, Document, Browser, Mobile TV, Radio, Record, Recent Files, Setup.

Movie, Music, Photo, Document. Viewing video, listening to music, viewing photos and text files. Selecting partitions opens the corresponding folders on the player's hard drive.

Browser. View the contents of the hard drive.

Mobile TV. Section for working with an external TV receiver.

Radio. Switch to radio reception mode.

Record. Record. The section combines the items for recording from video and audio inputs, radio and built-in microphone, timer recording and recording from an external broadcast receiver.

Recent Files. Список недавно открытых файлов.

Setup. Раздел настроек, очень насыщенный отдельными пунктами, все настройки работы аппарата Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana сведены воедино.

The A3 menu is built logically and clearly, the architecture and location of the items are clear from the first minutes of use, and no special familiarity with portable technology is required for full and quick mastering.

It is worth noting and praising the item Recent Files. The idea is far from new and has long been implemented in many operating systems, so it is all the more strange that it is practically not found in portable technology, despite the ease of implementation. The Recent Files item, when selected, opens a list of files viewed or listened to recently. This greatly facilitates navigation, you do not have to search for a long time in the folders for an unwatched movie or an unheard mix. On the other hand, the Cowon A3 could use the Resume function, like the Archos devices. In any case, the A3 menu is implemented, in my opinion, in the best possible way. Its scheme has already been repeatedly tested on a mass of models from different manufacturers, and in Cowon, by common sense, apparently, they decided not to invent something invented long ago, but to use the most suitable of the already known.

Power and PC connection

In this area, A3's numbers are generally the same as A2's. The device is connected to the computer via USB as a removable drive, no drivers, software managers and dancing with a tambourine are required. Data is copied quickly, at speeds in the region of 10 MB per second or more, depending on the set of files. The connection cable is normal, so you don’t have to worry about breaking or losing it. Unfortunately, with all its advantages, the device is not without drawbacks: the battery is not supported by the bus. However, perhaps this is a feature of the test sample, and in versions intended for sale, this feature will appear. In its absence, charging is performed from the mains charger supplied in the kit. It takes not so much time to fully charge, three to four hours, although the declared figure is an hour more.

The device is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery of almost "laptop" capacity of 4300 mAh. The figures of work from one charge of the player are impressive, for PMP, of course, these are 10 and 18 hours of watching video and listening to audio, respectively. The real numbers are close to the declared ones, in the test the device played an HD video clip for about 9 hours.

Просмотр фото на качественном экране – дело приятное, здесь A3 также на высоте. Правда, к сожалению, матрицы миниатюр на дисплей не выводится. Вместо этого плеер демонстрирует список файлов, а в отдельном окне – информацию о них: разрешение, формат, цветность, выдержку, модель фотоаппарата и дату снимка, в общем, все метаданные из файла. Над этим окошком есть еще одно, по идее, предназначенное для миниатюр, но они почему-то не демонстрируются. В процессе просмотра фото можно слушать музыку, есть возможность создания слайд-шоу и фото-плей-листов. Плеер «понимает» файлы JPEG объемом до 6.5 Мбайт и, что встречается довольно редко, поддерживает Progressive JPEG, правда, на объем файла накладываются некоторые ограничения.

Text support is well implemented, unlike some other Cowon models, which for some reason do not understand Cyrillic in Unicode encoding. Files of the CSD format are also supported, this is something similar to PDF, to be honest, I didn’t have to meet them closely. Reading is facilitated by bookmarks and the ability to directly jump to the desired "percentage" of the text. Viewing impressions are predictable - it is very pleasant to read books on a good display, a lot of text is placed. The backlight is adjustable, so that lovers of long reading all the trump cards.

The sound of the A3 is "Kovonian" powerful, assertive, dynamic. The output power is traditionally high, in A3 it is 32 mW per channel, it is a pleasure to listen to the player in good headphones. There are a lot of sound settings, this is also typical for Cowon: there is an equalizer with fine manual adjustment for as many as 10 bands, as well as proprietary systems BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance and 3D Surround. In a word, the A3 sounds very worthy, there is little to describe with words, you need to listen to the player. In principle, the graphs and the evaluation of Rightmark Audio Analyzer will do the rest for me.

Also worth noting is the support for the FLAC audio format, which provides lossless signal compression. Today it provides almost the highest level of sound quality, which brought him wide popularity in the narrow circles of "mobile purists". In addition to FLAC and traditional formats, OGG and APE formats are also supported, which are also popular among music lovers.

Sound testing in RightMark Audio Analyzer:

General results

< /tr>
Frequency flatness (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.08, -0.61Good
Noise level, dB(A): -77.0Medium
Dynamic range, dB(A): 77.0Medium
Harmonic distortion, %: 0.0055Very good
Intermodulation distortion + noise, %: 0.348Average
Channel Crosstalk, dB: -78.2Very good
Intermodulation at 10 kHz, %: 0.046Good

Overall rating: Good

Frequency response

Noise level

Conclusions and impressions

Unfortunately, we were unable to test the functions of recording and receiving TV. The first - because of the Spartan configuration of the test sample, after all, a factory sample, and the second - because of the absence (so far) in Russia of a special accessory sold separately. Perhaps, when all this reaches us, we will organize a comparison of the A3 with some fresh PMP, where we will also touch on these issues. I think that the work of these functions would not cause complaints, given the overall high level of performance of the device. In any case, as a personal media player Cowon A3 deserves the closest attention. In the device, everything is one to one, brick by brick: an advanced display, functionality, a powerful video subsystem, excellent sound quality and convenient control. It cannot be said that the model has no drawbacks: USB charging has not yet been implemented, and a more capacious drive in a rather voluminous case would come in handy. But, by and large, they are insignificant. The conclusion about the model is definitely positive, the company once again confirms its high reputation, remaining, perhaps, the only Korean manufacturer, except, of course, the giant Samsung, in the forefront of the industry. It is simply impossible to give an exact price estimate for the A3, since the model should only appear on sale in the coming months, but it should be borne in mind that the price in Moscow for its predecessor, the A2 model, is quite impressive and amounts to about 11 thousand rubles. It is from it that you need to build on when determining future prices for Cowon A3.

Cowon A3 media player review

Today, the Cowon A3 seems a bit atypical. On the one hand, it belongs to the highest segment of portable media players: powerful video capabilities, high-quality and advanced display. And on the other hand, today's "high-end" from PMP, in addition to its original functions, offers additional functionality: wireless data transmission, touch displays, Internet access, digital TV reception, after all. At the same time, for their native Korea, the “Kovonovites” produce such devices that you will swing! How do you, for example, PMP on Windows CE with a touch screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, DVB-T, Bluetooth, HSDPA and a whole lot more? Meanwhile, this is not fiction, but a real-life Cowon Q5. True, it is not yet widely available, although they promised to “roll out” the device by autumn.

But back to A3. He has signs of both types of PMP at once, "ordinary" and "advanced". Apparently, Cowon simply does not want competition between two devices of their own production, or they are preparing something completely incredible, and A3 was chosen as a transitional model. The latter option is also supported by the fact that outwardly the A3 was left almost identical to its successful predecessor, the A2, but the functionality was somewhat expanded and a display worthy of the Q5 was installed, only without touch capabilities.

In a word, this PMP, in my opinion, was artificially limited to traditional functions, while bringing them to a level unattainable for competitors. That is, they made a device on which it is comfortable to watch videos of different formats and listen to music, and the “advanced” functions were left for other models, which was to be proved.

The A3's trump card is, of course, the display. He, with a diagonal of 4 inches, has a resolution of 800x480 pixels, there was simply nothing like this before, both in Cowon and competitors. To match the display and support for video formats: DivX / XviD in AVI, H.264, MJPEG and WMV containers, as well as DVD VOB format.

The rest of the A3 functionality is quite expected, these features can be found in almost any PMP: a 30 GB hard drive, wide support for audio formats, radio, text and image file viewing. True, there is also a direct video recording, which not every device can boast of. At one time, the A2 competed with the Archos AV series, but the French decided to forego direct video recording in their PMPs, now requiring an external dock.

In a word, Cowon's device turned out to be at least curious, and at most - the best of the "simple" PMPs for today. So let's see how far it went from minimum to maximum.

Body and design

The A3 has the most classic form factor, the device is made in the form of a rectangular "brick". Actually, it is precisely this form of body that is associated with RMP, so there is nothing criminal in the fact that it has become familiar for a long time.

The classic theme is developed by the material and color scheme of the case, everything here is just like a textbook: smooth plastic and a combination of silver and black. Well, a glossy front panel, of course. Behind this choice, one can see the desire of designers, on the one hand, to make it “in a modern way”, and on the other hand, not to scare away a conservative-minded audience. And, apparently, such a design in Cowon is considered very successful, if they did not change it for the new model. However, the same approach has already been used in the iAudio 6 and 7 models, apparently, the company takes care of the developments already made.

Due to its familiar appearance, the A3 looks rather boring from the outside, but the design of the device is universal, and its various elements have already been used in many other models, both from Cowon and other manufacturers. On the other hand, the versatility of the design should benefit sales, at least due to the fact that the appearance of the device, in theory, should not cause rejection at all, even for a young, even for an adult audience. It goes well with any style of clothing and will look equally at home when removed from an EastPak backpack or from a formal business briefcase.

In addition, in matters of design and appearance, sometimes there are small nuances that can radically change the perception of a particular device. A3 has such a nuance. The player looks strict and conservative only when turned off. As soon as you turn it on, you simply stop paying attention to the design, because everything is drawn to the display. However, about him a little lower.

The arrangement of elements in A3 is familiar, as they say, to classical design - classical elements. Most of the front panel is occupied by the display, to the right of it there is a vertical line of a joystick and several control buttons.

The back side is traditionally empty, but the sides carry the load, every single one. The working openings of the microphone (in the center) and speakers (along the edges) are displayed on the upper side panel. There are two elements on the bottom panel, a forced reset hole (the reset is well known to everyone) and a tricky sliding switch that simultaneously works to switch the signal output from the built-in to an external display and control lock.

On the right, there was a place for a large on-off button, but the left side panel, perhaps, designers like more than the others: as many as six connectors are displayed on it! True, four of them, the central ones, are covered with a special cover, so as not to shock the not too technically savvy users with their abundance.

The lid is plastic and fits snugly, stays in place like a glove: it may even take some effort to open it in the absence of long nails. Under it are audio and video input connectors mounted on 3.5 mm jacks, a USB connector and a USB-host connector. Well, on two sides of the cover, closer to the corners of the case, there are headphone jacks (it is closer to the top edge) and a power adapter (this one, respectively, at the bottom).

In principle, the layout is logical, there is no need to plug cables from different sides of the device, everything is clear and visible. The main thing is that the cables do not interfere with each other. Although, of course, hardly anyone will stick four pieces at once side by side. The microphone and speakers on the top panel can be praised, often they (especially the microphone) like to stick in some indigestible place.

Management

After all, following the traditions and using old developments is a good thing, and “respect and respect” can be expressed to the “Kovonites” for this. The fact is that they, without hesitation, appointed a five-position joystick as the main governing body of the A3. At the same time, as zealous owners, the designers took a joystick from the X5 model, or at least very similar to it, because it seemed suspiciously familiar to me even in the photo. So that you don’t wonder why there are so many emotions about some kind of joystick, I’ll explain. The fact is that it is very difficult to make a really successful joystick. If you make it small, your fingers will slide, the cursor will jump anywhere, but not where it is needed, and users, accordingly, will be frustrated (a good word, spied on by Sergey Kuzmin) or, to put it simply, they will become very annoyed up to player damage. And a large joystick is simply not installed in a portable device.

Accordingly, Cowon made a joystick for their X5, not big and not small, but just normal. Well, they used it in A2 and then in A3. That's why I'm so glad to see him, because I noticed the convenience back in the X5. In a word, I think it is already clear that the A3 joystick is comfortable, has the right size and is well balanced in this sense. The finger does not slip on it, pressing is fixed accurately, there are practically no errors. There is also a click when pressed and decent feedback.

The rest of the controls, which is curious, are also not without surprises, despite the general "classic" of the device. Here, the intrigue is added by the fact that A2 did not get to us for testing at one time, so everything is new to me in A3, the novelty factor works. In general, for sure, in the A3 all the controls migrated unchanged. But I will consider them based on what I see for the first time. However, this should not leave a special imprint on the impression of management.

First of all, the line of buttons under the joystick is of interest. The buttons are fashionable, thin and oblong. Only now, at first glance, the signatures to them are somehow strange. One, the top one, is signed as Back, which is generally understandable - returning to the previous menu level, canceling an action, and so on. But below are three of the same buttons, signed with the letters A, B and C. It’s hard to figure out which one is for what, even with the traditional means of stimulating brain activity, that is, the notorious “half a liter”. But if you turn on the player, everything becomes clear without any instructions (especially since the tested sample was completely devoid of them, and they are not yet available on the network). The fact is that the functions of the buttons, if they work, are written at the bottom of the display. Something like this: A - call the menu, B - setting some parameter, C - hide the inscriptions. Comfortable and similar to mobile phones. Somewhere in the RMP, I already met a similar solution, but now, perhaps, I don’t remember, perhaps these were not RMPs at all.

Buttons, despite their design form, which makes it possible to suspect them of inconvenience, behave decently and work conscientiously. There is a tangible feedback, clicks are fixed with a click, clearly and without repetition.

In addition to the joystick and buttons, the A3 also has one button and a sliding switch in stock. The button is located on the right side surface in a special recess, so that its surface is flush with the body surface. The decision is correct, so the button will not wipe off when worn, and, more importantly, the likelihood of accidentally turning the device on and off will be reduced.

Finally, an inconspicuous and flat sliding switch lurks on the lower side panel, it serves to switch the signal output to an external display and block the control. There are no complaints about the operation of the button and the switch, they “do not shine” and easily carry the load.

In general, the control of the A3 is made, like the device itself, according to the classical canons, it is easy and simple to master and seems quite logical, there is no wandering in search of the desired button, everything is clear and immediately clear.

Display and Menu

Usually, each device that comes to me for a test (if it is, of course, not quite super-budget) has some kind of trump card - design, sound, or maybe some kind of control. It’s more fun to write about him, and the section, accordingly, turns out to be more detailed or interesting, it all depends on the trump card. So A3 has such a trump card, already known to everyone, since it has already been mentioned many times, both in the podcast, and in the introduction, and in the news all over the network. This is a display. At first glance, nothing special, this is not the AV700 from Archos, where at first glance it became clear that the device is serious, seven inches is no joke. And the A3 has the usual display diagonal of four inches, so at first glance you can’t determine the champion in it. True, the screen is widescreen, which may lead to suspicion, but still there is nothing really special about the appearance of the display.

Reinforces the impression of a "picture" on the display as a whole. In addition to good resolution, the A3 display can also please with good colors. The image looks really saturated, bright, while there is no colorization effect, when devices go too far with the brightness of colors, and the picture looks unnatural. Here everything is fine with the A3, with the help of the device it is pleasant to look at the photo and show it to others, in this parameter, I think, one can draw parallels between the Cowon A3 and portable photobanks from Epson.

The main menu of the device consists of eight sections, represented by large, well-drawn icons, which is nice, devoid of animation, in most cases completely stupid and useless. And without it, the interface looks much stricter and "mature", which is very important for devices designed for an adult audience. And not only for them. Recently, it seems that, contrary to the conviction of marketers, few people like the “fashionable” twitchy interface, without adjusting for age.

Menu contents: Movie, Music, Photo, Document, Browser, Mobile TV, Radio, Record, Recent Files, Setup.

Movie, Music, Photo, Document. Viewing video, listening to music, viewing photos and text files. Selecting partitions opens the corresponding folders on the player's hard drive.

Browser. View the contents of the hard drive.

Mobile TV. Section for working with an external TV receiver.

Radio. Switch to radio reception mode.

Record. Record. The section combines the items for recording from video and audio inputs, radio and built-in microphone, timer recording and recording from an external broadcast receiver.

Recent Files. Список недавно открытых файлов.

Setup. Раздел настроек, очень насыщенный отдельными пунктами, все настройки работы аппарата Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana сведены воедино.

The A3 menu is built logically and clearly, the architecture and location of the items are clear from the first minutes of use, and no special familiarity with portable technology is required for full and quick mastering.

It is worth noting and praising the item Recent Files. The idea is far from new and has long been implemented in many operating systems, so it is all the more strange that it is practically not found in portable technology, despite the ease of implementation. The Recent Files item, when selected, opens a list of files viewed or listened to recently. This greatly facilitates navigation, you do not have to search for a long time in the folders for an unwatched movie or an unheard mix. On the other hand, the Cowon A3 could use the Resume function, like the Archos devices. In any case, the A3 menu is implemented, in my opinion, in the best possible way. Its scheme has already been repeatedly tested on a mass of models from different manufacturers, and in Cowon, by common sense, apparently, they decided not to invent something invented long ago, but to use the most suitable of the already known.

Power and PC connection

In this area, A3's numbers are generally the same as A2's. The device is connected to the computer via USB as a removable drive, no drivers, software managers and dancing with a tambourine are required. Data is copied quickly, at speeds in the region of 10 MB per second or more, depending on the set of files. The cable for connection is ordinary, so you don’t have to worry about its breakage or loss. Unfortunately, with all its advantages, the device is not without drawbacks: the battery is not supported by the bus. However, perhaps this is a feature of the test sample, and in versions intended for sale, this feature will appear. In its absence, charging is carried out from the mains charger supplied in the kit. It takes not so much time to fully charge, three to four hours, although the declared figure is an hour more.

The device is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery of almost "laptop" capacity of 4300 mAh. The figures of work from one charge of the player are impressive, for PMP, of course, these are 10 and 18 hours of watching video and listening to audio, respectively. The real numbers are close to the declared ones, in the test the device played an HD video clip for about 9 hours.

Video, photo, text

The main task, watching the video, is performed by the player with a bang, which, in fact, there was no doubt from the very beginning: they would hardly put a good screen and a weak video system into the device, cutlets separately - flies separately. Downloading videos is done in a matter of seconds, almost regardless of the size of the files. Playback is very smooth, soft, the screen looks almost smeared with honey. The most favorable impression is made on unprepared people, the device arouses genuine interest. In most cases, there are no slowdowns or desynchronizations. But HD-resolution videos, in this particular case - 1280x720 pixels, slow down, and the picture slows down, and the audio sequence is instantly synchronized with jumps. What does it say? It's not that the video processing of the device is weak. On the contrary, the A3 platform is very powerful and easily “eats” extremely serious files. According to "operational data", the device is built on the DaVinci platform manufactured by Texas Instruments. But the power reserve "for a fool" is not designed. It's one thing to play the usual 720x480 videos, which are perfect for a display and have a wonderful picture, and another thing is to puff up, decoding videos that are obviously not designed for portable systems in any way. With all normal videos, say, movies downloaded from the network (only for informational purposes), the player works with terrible force: everything starts at the moment, it plays perfectly, it sounds very pleasant. Here is a verdict, quite, however, expected. The capacity of the hard drive, which is not too large today, is more than enough for a couple of dozen films and a good portion of music. I will also mention support for VOB files, this allows you to copy movies to A3 directly from DVD, without additional conversion. The function is generally useful, but rather an emergency when you need to quickly copy a movie and run, if only because of the large size of the files.

Просмотр фото на качественном экране – дело приятное, здесь A3 также на высоте. Правда, к сожалению, матрицы миниатюр на дисплей не выводится. Вместо этого плеер демонстрирует список файлов, а в отдельном окне – информацию о них: разрешение, формат, цветность, выдержку, модель фотоаппарата и дату снимка, в общем, все метаданные из файла. Над этим окошком есть еще одно, по идее, предназначенное для миниатюр, но они почему-то не демонстрируются. В процессе просмотра фото можно слушать музыку, есть возможность создания слайд-шоу и фото-плей-листов. Плеер «понимает» файлы JPEG объемом до 6.5 Мбайт и, что встречается довольно редко, поддерживает Progressive JPEG, правда, на объем файла накладываются некоторые ограничения.

Text support is well implemented, unlike some other Cowon models, which for some reason do not understand Cyrillic in Unicode encoding. Files of the CSD format are also supported, this is something similar to PDF, to be honest, I didn’t have to meet them tightly. Reading is facilitated by bookmarks and the ability to directly jump to the desired "percentage" of the text. Viewing impressions are predictable - it is very pleasant to read books on a good display, a lot of text is placed. The backlight is adjustable, so that lovers of long reading all the trump cards.

The sound of the A3 is "Kovonian" powerful, assertive, dynamic. The output power is traditionally high, in A3 it is 32 mW per channel, it is a pleasure to listen to the player in good headphones. There are a lot of sound settings, this is also typical for Cowon: there is an equalizer with fine manual adjustment for as many as 10 bands, as well as proprietary systems BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance and 3D Surround. In a word, the A3 sounds very worthy, there is little to describe with words, you need to listen to the player. In principle, the graphs and the evaluation of Rightmark Audio Analyzer will do the rest for me.

Also worth noting is the support for the FLAC audio format, which provides lossless signal compression. Today it provides almost the highest level of sound quality, which brought him wide popularity in the narrow circles of "mobile purists". In addition to FLAC and traditional formats, OGG and APE formats are also supported, which are also popular among music lovers.

Sound testing in RightMark Audio Analyzer:

General results

< /tr>
Frequency flatness (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.08, -0.61Good
Noise level, dB(A): -77.0Medium
Dynamic range, dB(A): 77.0Medium
Harmonic distortion, %: 0.0055Very good
Intermodulation distortion + noise, %: 0.348Average
Channel Crosstalk, dB: -78.2Very good
Intermodulation at 10 kHz, %: 0.046Good

Overall rating: Good

Frequency response

Noise level

Conclusions and impressions

Unfortunately, we were unable to test the functions of recording and receiving TV. The first - because of the Spartan configuration of the test sample, after all, a factory sample, and the second - because of the absence (so far) in Russia of a special accessory sold separately. Perhaps, when all this reaches us, we will organize a comparison of the A3 with some fresh PMP, where we will also touch on these issues. I think that the work of these functions would not cause complaints, given the overall high level of performance of the device. In any case, as a personal media player Cowon A3 deserves the closest attention. In the device, everything is one to one, brick by brick: an advanced display, functionality, a powerful video subsystem, excellent sound quality and convenient control. It cannot be said that the model has no drawbacks: USB charging has not yet been implemented, and a more capacious drive in a rather voluminous case would come in handy. But, by and large, they are insignificant. The conclusion about the model is definitely positive, the company once again confirms its high reputation, remaining, perhaps, the only Korean manufacturer, except, of course, the giant Samsung, in the forefront of the industry. It is simply impossible to give an exact price estimate for the A3, since the model should only appear on sale in the coming months, but it should be borne in mind that the price in Moscow for its predecessor, the A2 model, is quite impressive and amounts to about 11 thousand rubles. It is from it that you need to build on when determining future prices for Cowon A3.

Cowon A3 media player review

Today, the Cowon A3 seems a bit atypical. On the one hand, it belongs to the highest segment of portable media players: powerful video capabilities, high-quality and advanced display. And on the other hand, today's "high-end" from PMP, in addition to its original functions, offers additional functionality: wireless data transmission, touch displays, Internet access, digital TV reception, after all. At the same time, for their native Korea, the “Kovonovites” produce such devices that you will swing! How do you, for example, PMP on Windows CE with a touch screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, DVB-T, Bluetooth, HSDPA and a whole lot more? Meanwhile, this is not fiction, but a real-life Cowon Q5. True, it is not yet widely available, although they promised to “roll out” the device by autumn.

But back to A3. He has signs of both types of PMP at once, "ordinary" and "advanced". Apparently, Cowon simply does not want competition between two devices of their own production, or they are preparing something completely incredible, and A3 was chosen as a transitional model. The latter option is also supported by the fact that outwardly the A3 was left almost identical to its successful predecessor, the A2, but the functionality was somewhat expanded and a display worthy of the Q5 was installed, only without touch capabilities.

In a word, this PMP, in my opinion, was artificially limited to traditional functions, while bringing them to a level unattainable for competitors. That is, they made a device on which it is comfortable to watch videos of different formats and listen to music, and the “advanced” functions were left for other models, which was to be proved.

The A3's trump card is, of course, the display. He, with a diagonal of 4 inches, has a resolution of 800x480 pixels, there was simply nothing like this before, both in Cowon and competitors. To match the display and support for video formats: DivX / XviD in AVI, H.264, MJPEG and WMV containers, as well as DVD VOB format.

The rest of the A3 functionality is quite expected, these features can be found in almost any PMP: a 30 GB hard drive, wide support for audio formats, radio, text and image file viewing. True, there is also a direct video recording, which not every device can boast of. At one time, the A2 competed with the Archos AV series, but the French decided to forego direct video recording in their PMPs, now requiring an external dock.

In a word, Cowon's device turned out to be at least curious, and at most - the best of the "simple" PMPs for today. So let's see how far it went from minimum to maximum.

Body and design

The A3 has the most classic form factor, the device is made in the form of a rectangular "brick". Actually, it is precisely this form of body that is associated with RMP, so there is nothing criminal in the fact that it has become familiar for a long time.

The classic theme is developed by the material and color scheme of the case, everything here is just like a textbook: smooth plastic and a combination of silver and black. Well, a glossy front panel, of course. Behind this choice, one can see the desire of designers, on the one hand, to make it “in a modern way”, and on the other hand, not to scare away a conservative-minded audience. And, apparently, such a design in Cowon is considered very successful, if they did not change it for the new model. However, the same approach has already been used in the iAudio 6 and 7 models, apparently, the company takes care of the developments already made.

Due to its familiar appearance, the A3 looks rather boring from the outside, but the design of the device is universal, and its various elements have already been used in many other models, both from Cowon and other manufacturers. On the other hand, the versatility of the design should benefit sales, at least due to the fact that the appearance of the device, in theory, should not cause rejection at all, even for a young, even for an adult audience. It goes well with any style of clothing and will look equally at home when removed from an EastPak backpack or from a formal business briefcase.

In addition, in matters of design and appearance, sometimes there are small nuances that can radically change the perception of a particular device. A3 has such a nuance. The player looks strict and conservative only when turned off. As soon as you turn it on, you simply stop paying attention to the design, because everything is drawn to the display. However, about him a little lower.

The arrangement of elements in A3 is familiar, as they say, to classical design - classical elements. Most of the front panel is occupied by the display, to the right of it there is a vertical ruler of a joystick and several control buttons.

The back side is traditionally empty, but the sides carry the load, every single one. The working openings of the microphone (in the center) and speakers (at the edges) are displayed on the upper side panel. There are two elements on the bottom panel, a forced reset hole (the reset is well known to everyone) and a tricky sliding switch that simultaneously works to switch the signal output from the built-in to an external display and control lock.

On the right, there was a place for a large on-off button, but the left side panel, perhaps, designers like more than the others: as many as six connectors are displayed on it! True, four of them, the central ones, are covered with a special cover, so as not to shock the not too technically savvy users with their abundance.

The lid is plastic and fits snugly, stays in place like a glove: it may even take some effort to open it in the absence of long nails. Under it are audio and video input connectors mounted on 3.5 mm jacks, a USB connector and a USB-host connector. Well, on two sides of the cover, closer to the corners of the case, there are headphone jacks (it is closer to the top edge) and a power adapter (this one, respectively, at the bottom).

In principle, the layout is logical, there is no need to plug cables from different sides of the device, everything is clear and visible. The main thing is that the cables do not interfere with each other. Although, of course, hardly anyone will stick four pieces at once side by side. The microphone and speakers on the top panel can be praised, often they (especially the microphone) like to stick in some indigestible place.

Management

After all, following the traditions and using old developments is a good thing, and “respect and respect” can be expressed to the “Kovonites” for this. The fact is that they, without hesitation, appointed a five-position joystick as the main governing body of the A3. At the same time, as zealous owners, the designers took a joystick from the X5 model, or at least very similar to it, because it seemed suspiciously familiar to me even in the photo. So that you don’t wonder why there are so many emotions about some kind of joystick, I’ll explain. The fact is that it is very difficult to make a really successful joystick. If you make it small, your fingers will slide, the cursor will jump anywhere, but not where it is needed, and users, accordingly, will be frustrated (a good word, spied on by Sergey Kuzmin) or, to put it simply, they will become very annoyed up to player damage. And a large joystick is simply not installed in a portable device.

Accordingly, Cowon made a joystick for their X5, not big and not small, but just normal. Well, they used it in A2 and then in A3. That's why I'm so glad to see him, because I noticed the convenience back in the X5. In a word, I think it is already clear that the A3 joystick is comfortable, has the right size and is well balanced in this sense. The finger does not slip on it, pressing is fixed accurately, there are practically no errors. There is also a click when pressed and decent feedback.

The rest of the controls, which is curious, are also not without surprises, despite the general "classic" of the device. Here, the intrigue is added by the fact that A2 did not get to us for testing at one time, so everything is new to me in A3, the novelty factor works. In general, for sure, in the A3 all the controls migrated unchanged. But I will consider them based on what I see for the first time. However, this should not leave a special imprint on the impression of management.

First of all, the line of buttons under the joystick is of interest. The buttons are fashionable, thin and oblong. Only now, at first glance, the signatures to them are somehow strange. One, the top one, is signed as Back, which is generally understandable - returning to the previous menu level, canceling an action, and so on. But below are three of the same buttons, signed with the letters A, B and C. It’s hard to figure out which one is for what, even with the traditional means of stimulating brain activity, that is, the notorious “half a liter”. But if you turn on the player, everything becomes clear without any instructions (especially since the tested sample was completely devoid of them, and they are not yet available on the network). The fact is that the functions of the buttons, if they work, are written at the bottom of the display. Something like this: A - call the menu, B - setting some parameter, C - hide the inscriptions. Comfortable and similar to mobile phones. Somewhere in the RMP, I already met a similar solution, but now, perhaps, I don’t remember, perhaps these were not RMPs at all.

Buttons, despite their design form, which makes it possible to suspect them of inconvenience, behave decently and work conscientiously. There is a tangible feedback, clicks are fixed with a click, clearly and without repetition.

In addition to the joystick and buttons, the A3 also has one button and a sliding switch in stock. The button is located on the right side surface in a special recess, so that its surface is flush with the body surface. The decision is correct, so the button will not wipe off when worn, and, more importantly, the likelihood of accidentally turning the device on and off will be reduced.

Finally, an inconspicuous and flat sliding switch lurks on the lower side panel, it serves to switch the signal output to an external display and block the control. There are no complaints about the operation of the button and switch, they “do not shine” and easily carry the load.

In general, the control of the A3 is made, like the device itself, according to the classical canons, it is easy and simple to master and seems quite logical, there is no wandering in search of the desired button, everything is clear and immediately clear.

Display and Menu

Usually, each device that comes to me for a test (if it is, of course, not quite super-budget) has some kind of trump card - design, sound, or maybe some kind of control. It’s more fun to write about him, and the section, accordingly, turns out to be more detailed or interesting, it all depends on the trump card. So A3 has such a trump card, already known to everyone, since it has already been mentioned many times, both in the podcast, and in the introduction, and in the news all over the network. This is a display. At first glance, nothing special, this is not the AV700 from Archos, where at first glance it became clear that the device is serious, seven inches is no joke. And the A3 has the usual display diagonal of four inches, so at first glance you can’t determine the champion in it. True, the screen is widescreen, which may lead to suspicion, but still there is nothing really special about the appearance of the display.

On the other hand, the included A3 display gives a completely different impression. Not to say, of course, that everyone around will gasp when they see the switched on device, but in any case it makes an impressive impression. First of all, permission. The fact is that for their new device Cowon managed to get displays, so far unprecedented in the PMP segment, with a resolution of 800x480 pixels with a diagonal of only four inches or ten and a half centimeters. True, Toshiba has already released a communicator with a three-inch display of this resolution, but this does not count, there are already completely different goals and values.

In general, the A3 displays all the images in great detail and precision, from menu icons to photos. An additional effect is provided by the fact that the display is relatively small, but fine details are preserved due to the high resolution. This, in fact, is the main wow-effect of the display, when all small images look very clear. For example, the main menu has two types: large icons in two rows over the entire display area or a concise row of small icons at the bottom of the display. Here in the second option, just first of all, you pay attention to the fact that the icons are very small, but the details are not hidden. Well, the “wallpaper” with different curls and small elements, of course, contributes to the impression.

Reinforces the impression of a "picture" on the display as a whole. In addition to good resolution, the A3 display can also please with good colors. The image looks really saturated, bright, while there is no colorization effect, when devices go too far with the brightness of colors, and the picture looks unnatural. Here everything is fine with the A3, with the help of the device it is pleasant to look at a photo and show it to others, in this parameter, I think, one can draw parallels between the Cowon A3 and portable photobanks from Epson.

The main menu of the device consists of eight sections, represented by large, well-drawn icons, which is nice, devoid of animation, in most cases completely stupid and useless. And without it, the interface looks much stricter and "mature", which is very important for devices designed for an adult audience. And not only for them. Recently, it seems that, contrary to the conviction of marketers, few people like the “fashionable” twitchy interface, without adjusting for age.

Menu contents: Movie, Music, Photo, Document, Browser, Mobile TV, Radio, Record, Recent Files, Setup.

Movie, Music, Photo, Document. Viewing video, listening to music, viewing photos and text files. Selecting partitions opens the corresponding folders on the player's hard drive.

Browser. View the contents of the hard drive.

Mobile TV. Section for working with an external TV receiver.

Radio. Switch to radio reception mode.

Record. Record. The section combines the items for recording from video and audio inputs, radio and built-in microphone, timer recording and recording from an external broadcast receiver.

Recent Files. Список недавно открытых файлов.

Setup. Раздел настроек, очень насыщенный отдельными пунктами, все настройки работы аппарата Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana сведены воедино.

The A3 menu is built logically and clearly, the architecture and location of the items are clear from the first minutes of use, and no special familiarity with portable technology is required for full and quick mastering.

It is worth noting and praising the item Recent Files. The idea is far from new and has long been implemented in many operating systems, so it is all the more strange that it is practically not found in portable technology, despite the ease of implementation. The Recent Files item, when selected, opens a list of files viewed or listened to recently. This greatly facilitates navigation, you do not have to search for a long time in the folders for an unwatched movie or an unheard mix. On the other hand, the Cowon A3 could use the Resume function, like the Archos devices. In any case, the A3 menu is implemented, in my opinion, in the best possible way. Its scheme has already been repeatedly tested on a mass of models from different manufacturers, and in Cowon, by common sense, apparently, they decided not to invent something invented long ago, but to use the most suitable of the already known.

Power and PC connection

In this area, A3's numbers are generally the same as A2's. The device is connected to the computer via USB as a removable drive, no drivers, software managers and dancing with a tambourine are required. Data is copied quickly, at speeds in the region of 10 MB per second or more, depending on the set of files. The connection cable is normal, so you don’t have to worry about breaking or losing it. Unfortunately, with all its advantages, the device is not without drawbacks: the battery is not supported by the bus. However, perhaps this is a feature of the test sample, and in versions intended for sale, this feature will appear. In its absence, charging is performed from the mains charger supplied in the kit. It takes not so much time to fully charge, three to four hours, although the declared figure is an hour more.

The device is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery of almost "laptop" capacity of 4300 mAh. The figures of work from one charge of the player are impressive, for PMP, of course, these are 10 and 18 hours of watching video and listening to audio, respectively. The real numbers are close to the declared ones, in the test the device played an HD video clip for about 9 hours.

Video, photo, text

The main task, watching the video, is performed by the player with a bang, which, in fact, there was no doubt from the very beginning: they would hardly put a good screen and a weak video system into the device, cutlets separately - flies separately. Downloading videos is done in a matter of seconds, almost regardless of the size of the files. Playback is very smooth, soft, the screen looks almost smeared with honey. The most favorable impression is made on unprepared people, the device arouses genuine interest. In most cases, there are no slowdowns or desynchronizations. But HD-resolution videos, in this particular case - 1280x720 pixels, slow down, and the picture slows down, and the audio sequence is instantly synchronized with jumps. What does it say? It's not that the video processing of the device is weak. On the contrary, the A3 platform is very powerful and easily “eats” extremely serious files. According to "operational data", the device is built on the DaVinci platform manufactured by Texas Instruments. But the power reserve "for a fool" is not designed. It's one thing to play the usual 720x480 videos, which are perfect for a display and have a wonderful picture, and another thing is to puff up, decoding videos that are obviously not designed for portable systems in any way. With all normal videos, say, movies downloaded from the network (only for informational purposes), the player works with terrible force: everything starts at the moment, it plays perfectly, it sounds very pleasant. Here is a verdict, quite, however, expected. The capacity of the hard drive, which is not too large today, is more than enough for a couple of dozen films and a good portion of music. I will also mention support for VOB files, this allows you to copy movies to A3 directly from DVD, without additional conversion. The function is generally useful, but rather an emergency when you need to quickly copy a movie and run, if only because of the large size of the files.

Просмотр фото на качественном экране – дело приятное, здесь A3 также на высоте. Правда, к сожалению, матрицы миниатюр на дисплей не выводится. Вместо этого плеер демонстрирует список файлов, а в отдельном окне – информацию о них: разрешение, формат, цветность, выдержку, модель фотоаппарата и дату снимка, в общем, все метаданные из файла. Над этим окошком есть еще одно, по идее, предназначенное для миниатюр, но они почему-то не демонстрируются. В процессе просмотра фото можно слушать музыку, есть возможность создания слайд-шоу и фото-плей-листов. Плеер «понимает» файлы JPEG объемом до 6.5 Мбайт и, что встречается довольно редко, поддерживает Progressive JPEG, правда, на объем файла накладываются некоторые ограничения.

Text support is well implemented, unlike some other Cowon models, which for some reason do not understand Cyrillic in Unicode encoding. Files of the CSD format are also supported, this is something similar to PDF, to be honest, I didn’t have to meet them closely. Reading is facilitated by bookmarks and the ability to directly jump to the desired "percentage" of the text. Viewing impressions are predictable - it is very pleasant to read books on a good display, a lot of text is placed. The backlight is adjustable, so that lovers of long reading all the trump cards.

The sound of the A3 is "Kovonian" powerful, assertive, dynamic. The output power is traditionally high, in A3 it is 32 mW per channel, it is a pleasure to listen to the player in good headphones. There are a lot of sound settings, this is also typical for Cowon: there is an equalizer with fine manual adjustment for as many as 10 bands, as well as proprietary systems BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance and 3D Surround. In a word, the A3 sounds very worthy, there is little to describe with words, you need to listen to the player. In principle, the graphs and the evaluation of Rightmark Audio Analyzer will do the rest for me.

Also worth noting is the support for the FLAC audio format, which provides lossless signal compression. Today it provides almost the highest level of sound quality, which brought him wide popularity in the narrow circles of "mobile purists". In addition to FLAC and traditional formats, OGG and APE formats are also supported, which are also popular among music lovers.

Sound testing in RightMark Audio Analyzer:

General results

< /tr>
Frequency flatness (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.08, -0.61Good
Noise level, dB(A): -77.0Medium
Dynamic range, dB(A): 77.0Medium
Harmonic distortion, %: 0.0055Very good
Intermodulation distortion + noise, %: 0.348Average
Channel Crosstalk, dB: -78.2Very good
Intermodulation at 10 kHz, %: 0.046Good

Overall rating: Good

Frequency response

Noise level

Conclusions and impressions

Unfortunately, we were unable to test the functions of recording and receiving TV. The first - because of the Spartan configuration of the test sample, after all, a factory sample, and the second - because of the absence (so far) in Russia of a special accessory sold separately. Perhaps, when all this reaches us, we will organize a comparison of the A3 with some fresh PMP, where we will also touch on these issues. I think that the work of these functions would not cause complaints, given the overall high level of performance of the device. In any case, as a personal media player Cowon A3 deserves the closest attention. In the device, everything is one to one, brick by brick: an advanced display, functionality, a powerful video subsystem, excellent sound quality and convenient control. It cannot be said that the model has no drawbacks: USB charging has not yet been implemented, and a more capacious drive in a rather voluminous case would come in handy. But, by and large, they are insignificant. The conclusion about the model is definitely positive, the company once again confirms its high reputation, remaining, perhaps, the only Korean manufacturer, except, of course, the giant Samsung, in the forefront of the industry. It is simply impossible to give an exact price estimate for the A3, since the model should only appear on sale in the coming months, but it should be borne in mind that the price in Moscow for its predecessor, the A2 model, is quite impressive and amounts to about 11 thousand rubles. It is from it that you need to build on when determining future prices for Cowon A3.

Cowon A3 media player review

Today, the Cowon A3 seems a bit atypical. On the one hand, it belongs to the highest segment of portable media players: powerful video capabilities, high-quality and advanced display. And on the other hand, today's "high-end" from PMP, in addition to its original functions, offers additional functionality: wireless data transmission, touch displays, Internet access, digital TV reception, after all. At the same time, for their native Korea, the “Kovonovites” produce such devices that you will swing! How do you, for example, PMP on Windows CE with a touch screen, Wi-Fi, GPS, DVB-T, Bluetooth, HSDPA and a whole lot more? Meanwhile, this is not fiction, but a real-life Cowon Q5. True, it is not yet widely available, although they promised to “roll out” the device by autumn.

But back to A3. He has signs of both types of PMP at once, "ordinary" and "advanced". Apparently, Cowon simply does not want competition between two devices of their own production, or they are preparing something completely incredible, and A3 was chosen as a transitional model. The latter option is also supported by the fact that outwardly the A3 was left almost identical to its successful predecessor, the A2, but the functionality was somewhat expanded and a display worthy of the Q5 was installed, only without touch capabilities.

The back side is traditionally empty, but the sides carry the load, every single one. The working openings of the microphone (in the center) and speakers (along the edges) are displayed on the upper side panel. There are two elements on the bottom panel, a forced reset hole (the reset is well known to everyone) and a tricky sliding switch that simultaneously works to switch the signal output from the built-in to an external display and control lock.

On the right, there was a place for a large on-off button, but the left side panel, perhaps, designers like more than the others: as many as six connectors are displayed on it! True, four of them, the central ones, are covered with a special cover, so as not to shock the not too technically savvy users with their abundance.

The lid is plastic and fits snugly, stays in place like a glove: it may even take some effort to open it in the absence of long nails. Under it are audio and video input connectors mounted on 3.5 mm jacks, a USB connector and a USB-host connector. Well, on two sides of the cover, closer to the corners of the case, there are headphone jacks (it is closer to the top edge) and a power adapter (this one, respectively, at the bottom).

In principle, the layout is logical, there is no need to plug cables from different sides of the device, everything is clear and visible. The main thing is that the cables do not interfere with each other. Although, of course, hardly anyone will stick four pieces at once side by side. The microphone and speakers on the top panel can be praised, often they (especially the microphone) like to stick in some indigestible place.

Management

After all, following the traditions and using old developments is a good thing, and “respect and respect” can be expressed to the “Kovonites” for this. The fact is that they, without hesitation, appointed a five-position joystick as the main governing body of the A3. At the same time, as zealous owners, the designers took a joystick from the X5 model, or at least very similar to it, because it seemed suspiciously familiar to me even in the photo. So that you don’t wonder why there are so many emotions about some kind of joystick, I’ll explain. The fact is that it is very difficult to make a really successful joystick. If you make it small, your fingers will slide, the cursor will jump anywhere, but not where it is needed, and users, accordingly, will be frustrated (a good word, spied on by Sergey Kuzmin) or, to put it simply, they will become very annoyed up to player damage. And a large joystick is simply not installed in a portable device.

Accordingly, Cowon made a joystick for their X5, not big and not small, but just normal. Well, they used it in A2 and then in A3. That's why I'm so glad to see him, because I noticed the convenience back in the X5. In a word, I think it is already clear that the A3 joystick is comfortable, has the right size and is well balanced in this sense. The finger does not slip on it, pressing is fixed accurately, there are practically no errors. There is also a click when pressed and decent feedback.

The rest of the controls, which is curious, are also not without surprises, despite the general "classic" of the device. Here, the intrigue is added by the fact that A2 did not get to us for testing at one time, so everything is new to me in A3, the novelty factor works. In general, for sure, in the A3 all the controls migrated unchanged. But I will consider them based on what I see for the first time. However, this should not leave a special imprint on the impression of management.

First of all, the line of buttons under the joystick is of interest. The buttons are fashionable, thin and oblong. Only now, at first glance, the signatures to them are somehow strange. One, the top one, is signed as Back, which is generally understandable - returning to the previous menu level, canceling an action, and so on. But below are three of the same buttons, signed with the letters A, B and C. It’s hard to figure out which one is for what, even with the traditional means of stimulating brain activity, that is, the notorious “half a liter”. But if you turn on the player, everything becomes clear without any instructions (especially since the tested sample was completely devoid of them, and they are not yet available on the network). The fact is that the functions of the buttons, if they work, are written at the bottom of the display. Something like this: A - call the menu, B - setting some parameter, C - hide the inscriptions. Comfortable and similar to mobile phones. Somewhere in the RMP, I already met a similar solution, but now, perhaps, I don’t remember, perhaps these were not RMPs at all.

Buttons, despite their design form, which makes it possible to suspect them of inconvenience, behave decently and work conscientiously. There is tangible feedback, clicks are fixed with a click, clearly and without repetition.

In addition to the joystick and buttons, the A3 also has one button and a sliding switch in stock. The button is located on the right side surface in a special recess, so that its surface is flush with the body surface. The decision is correct, so the button will not wipe off when worn, and, more importantly, the likelihood of accidentally turning the device on and off will be reduced.

Finally, an inconspicuous and flat sliding switch lurks on the lower side panel, it serves to switch the signal output to an external display and block the control. There are no complaints about the operation of the button and switch, they “do not shine” and easily carry the load.

In general, the control of the A3 is made, like the device itself, according to the classical canons, it is easy and simple to master and seems quite logical, there is no wandering in search of the desired button, everything is clear and immediately clear.

Display and Menu

Usually, each device that comes to me for a test (if it is, of course, not quite super-budget) has some kind of trump card - design, sound, or maybe some kind of control. It’s more fun to write about him, and the section, accordingly, turns out to be more detailed or interesting, it all depends on the trump card. So A3 has such a trump card, already known to everyone, since it has already been mentioned many times, both in the podcast, and in the introduction, and in the news all over the network. This is a display. At first glance, nothing special, this is not the AV700 from Archos, where at first glance it became clear that the device is serious, seven inches is no joke. And the A3 has the usual display diagonal of four inches, so at first glance you can’t determine the champion in it. True, the screen is widescreen, which may lead to suspicion, but still there is nothing really special about the appearance of the display.

On the other hand, the included A3 display gives a completely different impression. Not to say, of course, that everyone around will gasp when they see the switched on device, but in any case it makes an impressive impression. First of all, permission. The fact is that for their new device Cowon managed to get displays, so far unprecedented in the PMP segment, with a resolution of 800x480 pixels with a diagonal of only four inches or ten and a half centimeters. True, Toshiba has already released a communicator with a three-inch display of this resolution, but this does not count, there are already completely different goals and values.

In general, the A3 displays all the images in great detail and precision, from menu icons to photos. An additional effect is provided by the fact that the display is relatively small, but fine details are preserved due to the high resolution. This, in fact, is the main wow-effect of the display, when all small images look very clear. For example, the main menu has two types: large icons in two rows over the entire display area or a concise row of small icons at the bottom of the display. Here in the second option, just first of all, you pay attention to the fact that the icons are very small, but the details are not hidden. Well, the “wallpaper” with different curls and small elements, of course, contributes to the impression.

Reinforces the impression of a "picture" on the display as a whole. In addition to good resolution, the A3 display can also please with good colors. The image looks really saturated, bright, while there is no colorization effect, when devices go too far with the brightness of colors, and the picture looks unnatural. Here everything is fine with the A3, with the help of the device it is pleasant to look at a photo and show it to others, in this parameter, I think, one can draw parallels between the Cowon A3 and portable photobanks from Epson.

The main menu of the device consists of eight sections, represented by large, well-drawn icons, which is nice, devoid of animation, in most cases completely stupid and useless. And without it, the interface looks much stricter and "mature", which is very important for devices designed for an adult audience. And not only for them. Recently, it seems that, contrary to the conviction of marketers, few people like the “fashionable” twitchy interface, without adjusting for age.

Menu contents: Movie, Music, Photo, Document, Browser, Mobile TV, Radio, Record, Recent Files, Setup.

Movie, Music, Photo, Document. Viewing video, listening to music, viewing photos and text files. Selecting partitions opens the corresponding folders on the player's hard drive.

Browser. View the contents of the hard drive.

Mobile TV. Section for working with an external TV receiver.

Radio. Switch to radio reception mode.

Record. Record. The section combines the items for recording from video and audio inputs, radio and built-in microphone, timer recording and recording from an external broadcast receiver.

Recent Files. List of recently opened files.

Setup. The settings section, very rich in individual items, all the settings for the operation of the Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana are brought together.

Setup . The settings section, very rich in individual items, all the settings for the operation of the device Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana Hyundai Buses & Microbuses in Ghana brought together.

The A3 menu is built logically and clearly, the architecture and location of the items are clear from the first minutes of use, and no special familiarity with portable technology is required for full and quick mastering.

It is worth noting and praising the item Recent Files. The idea is far from new and has long been implemented in many operating systems, so it is all the more strange that it is practically not found in portable technology, despite the ease of implementation. The Recent Files item, when selected, opens a list of files viewed or listened to recently. This greatly facilitates navigation, you do not have to search for a long time in the folders for an unwatched movie or an unheard mix. On the other hand, the Cowon A3 could use the Resume function, like the Archos devices. In any case, the A3 menu is implemented, in my opinion, in the best possible way. Its scheme has already been repeatedly tested on a mass of models from different manufacturers, and in Cowon, by common sense, apparently, they decided not to invent something invented long ago, but to use the most suitable of the already known.

Power and PC connection

In this area, A3's numbers are generally the same as A2's. The device is connected to the computer via USB as a removable drive, no drivers, software managers and dancing with a tambourine are required. Data is copied quickly, at speeds in the region of 10 MB per second or more, depending on the set of files. The cable for connection is ordinary, so you don’t have to worry about its breakage or loss. Unfortunately, with all its advantages, the device is not without drawbacks: the battery is not supported by the bus. However, perhaps this is a feature of the test sample, and in versions intended for sale, this feature will appear. In its absence, charging is carried out from the mains charger supplied in the kit. It takes not so much time to fully charge, three to four hours, although the declared figure is an hour more.

The device is powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery of almost "laptop" capacity of 4300 mAh. The figures of work from one charge of the player are impressive, for PMP, of course, these are 10 and 18 hours of watching video and listening to audio, respectively. The real numbers are close to the declared ones, in the test the device played an HD video clip for about 9 hours.

Video, photo, text

The main task, watching the video, is performed by the player with a bang, which, in fact, there was no doubt from the very beginning: they would hardly put a good screen and a weak video system into the device, cutlets separately - flies separately. Downloading videos is done in a matter of seconds, almost regardless of the size of the files. Playback is very smooth, soft, the screen looks almost smeared with honey. The most favorable impression is made on unprepared people, the device arouses genuine interest. In most cases, there are no slowdowns or desynchronizations. But HD-resolution videos, in this particular case - 1280x720 pixels, slow down, and the picture slows down, and the audio sequence is instantly synchronized with jumps. What does it say? It's not that the video processing of the device is weak. On the contrary, the A3 platform is very powerful and easily “eats” extremely serious files. According to "operational data", the device is built on the DaVinci platform manufactured by Texas Instruments. But the power reserve "for a fool" is not designed. It's one thing to play the usual 720x480 videos, which are perfect for a display and have a wonderful picture, and another thing is to puff up, decoding videos that are obviously not designed for portable systems in any way. With all normal videos, say, movies downloaded from the network (only for informational purposes), the player works with terrible force: everything starts at the moment, it plays perfectly, it sounds very pleasant. Here is a verdict, quite, however, expected. The capacity of the hard drive, which is not too large today, is more than enough for a couple of dozen films and a good portion of music. I will also mention support for VOB files, this allows you to copy movies to A3 directly from DVD, without additional conversion. The function is generally useful, but rather an emergency when you need to quickly copy a movie and run, if only because of the large size of the files.

Viewing photos on a high-quality screen is a pleasure, here the A3 also excels. True, unfortunately, the matrix of thumbnails is not displayed. Instead, the player displays a list of files, and in a separate window - information about them: resolution, format, color, shutter speed, camera model and date of the picture, in general, all metadata from the file. Above this window there is another one, in theory, intended for thumbnails, but for some reason they are not shown. In the process of viewing photos, you can listen to music, it is possible to create slide shows and photo playlists. The player "understands" JPEG files up to 6.5 MB and, which is quite rare, supports Progressive JPEG, however, some restrictions are imposed on the file size.

Text support is well implemented, unlike some other Cowon models, which for some reason do not understand Cyrillic in Unicode encoding. Files of the CSD format are also supported, this is something similar to PDF, to be honest, I didn’t have to meet them tightly. Reading is facilitated by bookmarks and the ability to directly jump to the desired "percentage" of the text. Viewing impressions are predictable - it is very pleasant to read books on a good display, a lot of text is placed. The backlight is adjustable, so that lovers of long reading all the trump cards.

The sound of the A3 is "Kovonian" powerful, assertive, dynamic. The output power is traditionally high, in A3 it is 32 mW per channel, it is a pleasure to listen to the player in good headphones. There are a lot of sound settings, this is also typical for Cowon: there is an equalizer with fine manual adjustment for as many as 10 bands, as well as proprietary systems BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance and 3D Surround. In a word, the A3 sounds very worthy, there is little to describe with words, you need to listen to the player. In principle, the graphs and the evaluation of Rightmark Audio Analyzer will do the rest for me.

Also worth noting is the support for the FLAC audio format, which provides lossless signal compression. Today it provides almost the highest level of sound quality, which brought him wide popularity in the narrow circles of "mobile purists". In addition to FLAC and traditional formats, OGG and APE formats are also supported, which are also popular among music lovers.

Sound testing in RightMark Audio Analyzer:

General results

Frequency flatness (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.08, -0.61 Good Noise level, dB (A): -77.0 Average Dynamic range, dB (A): 77.0 Average Harmonic distortion, %: 0.0055 Very good Intermodulation distortion + noise, %: 0.348Medium Interpenetration of channels, dB: -78.2Very good

Overall rating: Good

Frequency response

Noise level

Conclusions and impressions

Unfortunately, we were unable to test the functions of recording and receiving TV. The first - because of the Spartan configuration of the test sample, after all, a factory sample, and the second - because of the absence (so far) in Russia of a special accessory sold separately. Perhaps, when all this reaches us, we will organize a comparison of the A3 with some fresh PMP, where we will also touch on these issues. I think that the work of these functions would not cause complaints, given the overall high level of performance of the device. In any case, as a personal media player Cowon A3 deserves the closest attention. In the device, everything is one to one, brick by brick: an advanced display, functionality, a powerful video subsystem, excellent sound quality and convenient control. It cannot be said that the model has no drawbacks: USB charging has not yet been implemented, and a more capacious drive in a rather voluminous case would come in handy. But, by and large, they are insignificant. The conclusion about the model is definitely positive, the company once again confirms its high reputation, remaining, perhaps, the only Korean manufacturer, except, of course, the giant Samsung, in the forefront of the industry. It is simply impossible to give an exact price estimate for the A3, since the model should only appear on sale in the coming months, but it should be borne in mind that the price in Moscow for its predecessor, the A2 model, is quite impressive and amounts to about 11 thousand rubles. It is from it that you need to build on when determining future prices for Cowon A3.