The Cowon Iaudio A3 Review and Features

By: Corwin Brown

The iAudio A3 is Cowon's flagship PMP with a very thorough list of supported codecs in both music and video. The 800x480 16.7 million color screen is crisp and will do justice to your video collection. There is a lot of good going on with the A3, and it's probably the best PMP of its size on the market.

The video player is smooth (load times are a second or two), but navigation is a little wonky with the 4-way stick taking the place of a directional pad. It's not too bad, but occasional down-clicks for selecting something didn't get registered, or got registered as an up click instead. Photo viewing is also sweet on the bright and ample display, and the transition time between photos is negligible. The only problem comes from the navigation stick and trying to cleanly press down on it without moving the stick in another direction as well.

Its predecessor, the Cowon A3 includes two stereo speakers and a mono microphone on its top edge, a power button on its right, a hold switch that doubles as a video-out switch on the bottom, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top left edge. Below the A3's headphone jack is tethered a plastic door that conceals a 3.5mm composite AV output, a 3.5mm composite AV input, a proprietary jack made for connecting an included S-video and component-video output cable, and a USB jack for transferring files from your computer or hosting devices, such as digital cameras or USB memory sticks.

The A3's 4in, 800 x 480 resolutions, 16m-colour TFT screen is little short of a work of art and makes nearly every other comparable personal media player on the market look like an Etch-a-Sketch. Supporting video resolution up to 1280 x 720 - so we are talking HD here - it's simply a thing of beauty. Bright, clear and crisp with solid blacks, it is by some way the best PMP screen we've seen, besting even the Archos 605.

The iAudio A3 can connect to a TV with a composite video cable, and also comes with a component output for much better video quality. As the player's audio volume was so low, we had to turn the TV's volume up to maximum. It can also record directly from a composite or S-video source, and recorded video had few artifacts when viewed on the player's screen.

The Cowon A3 is cursed with a clumsy joystick interface; a highly reflective screen; no support for DRM-protected media; and archaic music sorting. It's also a little on the chubby side.

Electronics
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Electronics
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles