Cowon i9 review

An MP3 player that doubles as a dictaphone

TODO alt text


  • Decent sound quality
  • Easy to use


  • FM a bit iffy

Cowon is one of the biggest names after Apple in portable audio and has quite a range of models which are generally well regarded for sound quality.

The Cowon i9 is a diminutive player, about 8mm thick and a little longer but narrower than a credit card, is a budget model, tested here in 8GB guise (though higher capacities are available).

It does a fair range of things, including showing videos and still pictures on the colour display, storing documents, FM radio and even voice recording. It’s reasonably intuitive to operate, though the combination of side-mounted buttons and front-panel touch controls takes a little getting used to.

Connection to a computer is simple enough but, annoyingly, requires a system reboot on first operation. File transfer is most easily done by dragging and dropping using your usual computer file system.

We were impressed by the sound of the i9. We tested it exclusively with CD-format WAV files, of which it can store 14 hours, though lossless FLAC (same quality level) increases that to about 28 hours.

It has a full-bodied and clear sound, best appreciated through more upmarket head/earphones than the supplied ones. With well-produced recordings we were able to hear a lot of detail and some very nice imaging too and there is enough output on tap to drive less sensitive headphones to a satisfying level.

The FM radio is, as usual, iffy, relying on the headphone lead for an antenna, but if signal strength is good the sound’s acceptable.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeFlash Portable Media Player
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Battery Built-inYes
Product FunctionsAudio Player, Video Player, Photo Viewer, Voice Recorder, FM Tuner, FM Recorder
Maximum Audio Battery Time1 Day
Maximum Video Battery Time7 Hour
Product FamilyiAUDIO
Brand NameCowon Systems
Image FormatsJPEG
Audio FormatsMP3, WMA, FLAC, OGG, APE, WAV, MP2, MPEG-2.5, MP1
Screen Size5.1 cm (2")
Video FormatsWMV7, WMV8, WMV9, DivX, XviD, ASF, AVI
Display Resolution76800 Pixel
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Height95 mm
Width43 mm
Depth8.9 mm
ManufacturerCowon Systems, Inc
Product Model9
Product NameiAUDIO 9 16GB Flash Portable Media Player
Product LineiAUDIO
Manufacturer Part Number11327
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Multi-Matching Users
iAUDIO 9 suggests you a multi matching style that perfectly fits in business and casual attires. iAUDIO 9 of a simple and refined design meets you to create a new style. And with its slim body, you can carry it into your pocket with ease.

Designed to Your Optimal Movement
Its intuitive interface deployed on the same line with control panel at the lower part move rhythmically to the movement of your finger. when you grip it, you can operate the touch panel at its lower part conveniently with your thumb. As it is placed to allow your optimal movement, people young and old have easy access to the menus they want.

Package Contents
  • iAUDIO 9 16GB Flash Portable Media Player
  • Earphones
  • USB 2.0 Cable
  • Manual CD
  • Quick Guide
Weight (Approximate)40 g