Cowon’s iAudio E2’s unconventional styling is sure to start conversations. However, what is more important than looks in this segment is how much audio quality, volume and battery life the device can dish out at this low a price.
The player’s design left me feeling a bit confounded. I was quite intrigued by the Square and Circle shape when I first heard about it. The player itself is tiny, light weight and therefore, also quite easy to misplace. The large silver ring at the top serves no purpose whatsoever, unless you can get a really cool strap and loop it round your neck.
The rectangular body is available in a slew of colours. It has a 3.5 mm earphone socket at the bottom.
Cowon’s bundled earphones are extremely comfortable and provide excellent tone quality. Volume keys are located on one of the slim sides, just underneath a tiny button that controls the EQ presets. You can adjust the presets by pressing the button and your settings are announced by a voice. On the other side is the power key that can also be used to pause audio, followed by the skip/forward or rewind keys.
The design is simple and quite elegant. But the circular portion could have been designed to pop open so it could be easier to carry around as a clip or a keychain.
The E2 has no features other than playing music. The good thing is that singular feature makes it easy to use. The E2 can dish out quite a high decibel level of volume and the audio quality is superb. All tones are very well balanced and the dynamic range of audio is well adjusted with all the EQ presets. Cowon has included a total of 9 presets. They make quite a difference depending on the genre of music you’re listening to. The E2 also reads FLAC and OGG file formats, making it quite a versatile player.
The battery life is disappointing. The company claims that the E2 can deliver up to 11 hours plus of playback, but it sadly falls short. With non-stop playback, it raked in just 8 hours and 30 minutes.