Some people just can't stand the iPod. Maybe an iPod Mini ran over their dog or burned down the family farm, or maybe they just feel fundamentally offended by the idea of using iTunes. Whatever the rationale for rejecting the iPod, companies such as Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Creative, and others are all jumping at the chance to be your iPod rebound.
And then there's Cowon. A small company whose products are often available only through online retail channels, Cowon has maintained a niche following with customers who value sound quality and extensive format compatibility above all other concerns.
Cowon's latest portable media player, the iAudio 9, is the company's spin on the Apple iPod Nano. Sharing the Nano's same basic shape, with a 2-inch screen and 8GB ($129) and 16GB ($169) capacities, the arrival of the iAudio 9 probably won't be giving Apple any heartburn, but audio connoisseurs have good reason to take notice.
You can read up on my previous blog posts if you're looking for spec info. For the remainder of this piece, I'll just be giving my initial personal impressions.
Right out of the box, the first thing I noticed about the iAudio 9 was how light it feels. At just 1.4 ounces, you can barely tell this thing is in your pocket. Another impression I got right away was how much more masculine the iAudio 9 looks next to the latest candy-coated, rainbow-hued line of iPod Nanos.… Read more