Cowon Q5W: The Feature Rich Portable Media Player

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Cowon are a respected brand. D2 and i7 were two Portable Media Players (PMP) from Cowon that still stand tall amongst all the competition. However, until now there has been some­thing missing. Q5W is Cowon’s attempt at cram­ming aboard every possible feature a PMP user might want. Let us have a look what this PMP has to offer.

Build Quality (3 out of 5)

The Q5W is large, much bigger, and heavy than most of the traditional PMPs. It is solidly built and the dark navy body goes well with the silver-grey bezel that runs around all four sides.

Cowon Q5W

Q5W has intimidating looks. It has a stupendous five-inch touchscreen that displays 16 million colors and has a whopping resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.

Ease of Use (4 out of 5)

The menu system is very simple, as there are two side­bars which hold all the options. Finger touches really work and so does the stylus. It has its main option window on the left of the screen, and clicking on this window will open up sub-options on the right side. Holding the Q5W in both hands means these left and right menus coincide with both your thumbs - obviously something Cowon did deliberately because once you use this PMP you come to appreciate the genius of the navigation system.

Features (5 out of 5)

The Q5W runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, which means it’s a also a full-fledged PDA. Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile 5.0 is part of the software package. Also, Q5W has WLAN, enabling it to connect to any WiFi internet connection to explore the net. Installation of MS Office enables you to work with documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. A mini-USB port connects the device to a computer, while another full size USB (type A) port is provided in the device to connect it to USB keyboards. Most of the PDAs lack this powerful con­nectivity option, which gives this device an edge over its competitors. Also the device is compatible with Bluetooth and wireless headsets. This device also constitutes an AV cable, a remote control unit, an FM Tuner, a microphone and a voice recorder. Q5W plays a lot of formats like, AVI, DivX, XviD, WMV and MPEG4. You can simply drag and drop a movie to copy it to the device and there is no encoding involved, like some of the other brands that use proprietary for­mats. It even supports plenty of audio formats like, MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, FLAC, APE and MPC. This makes the Q5W immensely versatile and a rare device in this format-restrict­ed world of digital enter­tainment.

Value for money (3 out of 5)

The 80 GB version the Q5W is priced at US $ 310 (which is more than double the price of serious PMPs like Cowon’s own D2 and Apples iPod Touch), but no other portable media player stands near the features provided on Q5W, and chances are none will. So if you are look­ing for a terrific PMP with a lot of additional features and a wonderful touch ­screen, and willing to pay a price for that, Cowon Q5W is just the one for you

To buy Cowon Q5W, go to the following link:

Performance (4 out of 5)

I tested the Q5W as an MP3 player first and was pleasantly surprised with its quality. While the bass was tight and impact, the device also supported playback of FLAC files - audiophiles will not be disappointed. The device is a dream come true for movies lovers on the move, and there is nothing worthy to complain about as the screen is large and yet very portable. Q5W doesn’t get much of praise as a portable internet browser, and needs improvement. Overall it is a feature rich device that delivers the performance goodies as well. However, Cowon do not fully succeed with the high aims that inspired them to produce this device. The concept is flawed, not the device, as someone wanting a simple music player could look elsewhere since there are cheaper alternatives around and basic principle of portability fails as the device is a little bulky, and anything but compact.

Conclusion (4 out of 5)

Q5W is designed for classes and not for the masses. It has every feature that any portable player can only dream of, but because of its price, it is only in the reach of some lucky ones.

This post is part of the series: New Hardware on the Block

A brief review and verdict for newly launched hardware products and technology gadgets. I try to find hardware that gives full value for money and also scores high in Features and Performance. Overall, it’s a guide for all those people who want to know what to buy, how to buy, and where to buy.

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