Cowon iAudio M3

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Cowon iAudio M3

Born for conquering your ear! The iAUDIO M3 features the ultra slimmest and luxurious body. Feel the difference that you never imagine...

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100% positive

4 reviews from the community

Review of "Cowon iAudio M3"

published 17/06/2004 | dippy38
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 17
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Ipod Killer, Looks Stunning, Light, Accessories
Cons Price, Some people may not like remote
very helpful
Sound Quality
Ease of Use
Look & Design
Video Quality
Range of Features

"Speechless. It's amazing!"

Main Unit in Action

Main Unit in Action

Where to begin? This is gonna be a long and detailed review so sit back and get ready.


Its not often you can say this about any products’ box but I just have to. The box for the MP3 Player is just downright cool. You could carry the box around with you and people would notice you for all the right reasons. Heck it’s even got some kind of glazing on it. The box looks metal with the paint effect and tells you everything you need to know. It’s rigid and it’s something I still haven’t got the heart to chuck away. It’s got a little panel so you can view the main prize as well. Just check out the pics with this review to see what I mean. This is a box for freakin’ sake. (It’s been opened by the way so it’s not as great as upon arrival)


This is where the Cowon is worth the high money you spent on it. I’ve only ever purchased two very expensive things and that’s after about two years of deliberating, this is one of them.
1) You get a docking station. It too is finished with a metal look to suit the mp3 itself. It’s absolutely tiny, mind you it’s only a stand right? Wrong! It’s got four ports on the back. One charger, one line out which comes supplied with a cable with a mini headphones connector on either end. You also get a line in of which you can use the same cable. Finally you can use the USB 2.0 interface to dock with your PC. AND IT DOES WORK WITH USB 1.0 (in my experience (DESPITE THIS NOT BEING SAID ON ANY PACKAGING, ADVERTISING OR WEBSITE!
This docking station is far better than any of the ipod competition. Let’s face it this system was designed to destroy the ipod and it does, very well. The ipod transmitter is actually illegal!
2) If you don’t want to take the docking station with you, you can actually take along a mini dock version which just plugs into the bottom providing all of the features but it doesn’t prop it up, it just provides an interface
3) Carrying case. I’ve never once in my life used a carrying case but I’m seriously considering starting to use the one supplied. I find all covers totally cover the product, like mobile phones for example, and it’s such a shame that the designing has gone to waste. Look at this thing, would you want the design to go to waste? However, the case supplied is has a nice black finish to it. Also you can just slip the M3 into it rather than using Velcro rubbish, it’s a tight fit so it won’t slip out. I think it uses elastic. Again check out the pics with this review to see what I mean
4) Screen protectors. How often have you wanted to protect your screen but the manufacturer can’t be bothered to supply that tiny bit of sticky plastic? Well thankfully Cowon have and they’ve even given you a backup in case one comes off/gets dirty etc. It’s these little things that make it so great
5) You even get spare plugs for the connector at the bottom of the unit. I will admit this was a bit annoying as I’ve never been a fan of these. What if I lose the rubber plug? Well doesn’t matter anyway, I’m safe and even if I do lose it I’ve got a backup. Again it’s the little things
6) The USB cable is about 1-1.5 metres in length and is nice and shiny. What more can I say? It does its job lol!


The inline remote control that was supplied with the unit is quite good actually. People have complained it’s a bit plasticy. No it’s not. It’s just not as heavy as the rest of the unit. A lot of time has gone into developing this ultra light remote; I won’t have it put down.
The screen itself is very good and tells you everything from track name to the sampling rate this song was taken at!
The only problem is that you have to turn it on its side to make full use of it, say if you wanted to browse your entire collection. For playing, pausing and next /previous track it’s fine. You can navigate by touch not even needing to look at the remote. I’m a bit annoyed at how you have to use a combination of two dial switched to browse but you soon become accustomed to it and realise they couldn’t have done it any other way if they wanted to maintain the quality of the remote. After 1 hour I’ve almost got used to it. Your friends will complain once you let them have a go at it but it doesn’t matter, if you know how to use it that’s all that matters.
Other features are hold, menu and volume up and down and option A and B. *Phew* I’m starting to think this is gonna be hard telling you all of the features!
If you hold down menu you can access the menu. This includes
*Jet Effect Equaliser, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance, 3D surround and Pan. All are great and improve the sound immensely. Please bare with me, to go through each meticulously I’d have to write a novel simply because they are so perfect and think of everything.
*PlayMode. This includes Boundary, Repeat and Shuffle. Even after consulting the menu I’m still not sure what Boundary is but I’m sure I’m just a minority
*Display. Playtime (As in how you’d like it displayed). Scroll Speed, Scroll Type, Song Title (Filename or ID3 tag), Backlight time, Contrast and language.
*General, Skip length, Scan speed, Resume, Auto play and Fade-In.
*Recording. From here you can change the bit rate of when you record from the FM radio, Microphone or line in. It ranges from about 64 to 320 kbps. Also you can change the volume of the input
*FM Radio. Change the option to match the area of the world you’re in to match the radio and also change from stereo to mono
*Information. This tells you the current amount of files, directories, space free/used.

Seriously check out the manual if you want a total in depth look at each feature. There is only so much time in a day to go through each of them and for that I’m very sorry

From the remote you can access the FM radio, Microphone recorder (which is inbuilt into the main unit) and the Line in Recorder. All are far too easy to use after one look at the manual and suffice to say they’re just great. Simple. They do their job very well. Oh and finally the controller has a digital headphone interface, the headphones have a normal mini headphone jack


The headphones plug into the control so unfortunately you have an extra wire built in. Mind you it means you can upgrade in the future. The quality of the headphones, I find, are amazing and easily surpass my home cinema system speakers. To be fair they’re a bit old but still!

*****MAIN UNIT*****

The main unit is so sleek it’s a shame you can just walk around with it on your head to show off rather than shove it in your pocket. I personally have always loved the modern and minimalistic approach to the design of new products. This is why I love this so much. Most companies may be tempted to stick the buttons on the side or at the top in a boring way. The three main buttons (Play/Pause FF and RW) are towards the top right corner of the unit and for some reason make it looks even more expensive. They too are metal and have a very responsive feeling, not tacky and made of plastic. The play button also acts as the on/off switch if held down for about 2 seconds which is great.
Just above the buttons in the centre of the unit and kind of on the edge and on the front are the status lights. There are three hidden inside a partially see through shell. This means when they’re off it still looks cool. Check out the pics, I realise I haven’t explained this too well sorry!
On the right hand side of the unit along the edge are the volume button, hold button, inbuilt mic and the A-B button. This button is multi use starting recordings, setting points for repeat etc. All buttons are also metal and do not fail to impress. Right at the button is a pinhole from which you can reset the entire unit; I guess this is useful if a firmware upgrade goes wrong
Finally on the left edge is the digital mic input. Oh and right at the bottom of the unit is the dock connection.
The only problem with the unit that I can see is that it contains no screen and that you can only access all of the features (such as radio) from the control. I don’t think this is too much of a concern as for most of its life it’ll be stuff in your pocket. Also what if there were all of the functions and a screen? It would be massive and ugly and there would be nothing special about it. It’d be no different to most of the clunky 20 GB hard drive players.


1) Radio. The radio is actually surprisingly good. I was expecting this just to be stuck on at the end of the unit just to make it different from other mp3 players. However, Cowon don’t do things that way. It’s got a good reception and you can easily scan through all of the frequencies by using the FF or RW buttons. There’s even an on screen bar to tell you how far across the frequency range you’ve gone. There are 20 storable radio frequencies. The only problem comes when you can’t name the saved stations which was a massive disappointment. So instead of going to Radio 1 you have to search your list for 98.2. WARNING! IT’S ONLY FM! What’s more you can even record directly from the radio with one press of the A-B button
2) Line in Recorder. This does its job excellently. It’ll display a bar and tell you how long you have been recording for, if the bar reaches the end it’ll simply change scale! Not sure of any use of this but shows the companies put a great deal into this. The input gets saved into a RECORD folder and it automatically named with the syntax of ENC*** where *** denotes a 3 digit number
3) Microphone. The same as above except the recording gets saved into a VOICE folder

The Manual comes in many different languages. I’ve got to say I found it quite confusing until I decided to actually sit down and read it. Once I did this it tells me all I need to know, it even gives me annotated pictures along with a diagram on which button to press. The trouble-shooter is good too. What’s more I found out it comes equipped with a TWO YEAR WARRANTY!
Here's a link to the manual.

If you’re still wondering about some aspects check out the pictures and also check out the Cowon site. They have a great flash tour of the unit showing you all angles. Please leave comments on this review and feel free to post questions on the Guestbook. Whatever you do don’t buy an ipod over this, I’m glad I didn’t

1)The sticky protective coverings that come supplied are like 1mm too small in terms of width to cover the entire screen

2)When you plug the unit into its cradle and connect it to the PC and switch on Windows XP it takes a long time to load. I'm not quite sure why this is

3)When switching the unit on you can see a moving loader icon, there to entertain you for the few seconds the unit spends loading. You can download free ones and make your own off of the iAudio website.

4)After instlaling the latest firmware, you can now...
1) read .txt files on the unit.
2)Have an auto-sync feature when using the line in to record things of cd's
3)Have a feature whereby when you record through the mic the unit will switch off until it hears a voice, conserving battery life
4)Viewing of lyrics
5)Many other things
Where to buy

It costs about £240 from amazon/ Not many places sell it but just click the link below and click on the advert to go directly through to the amazon item link

Community evaluation

This review was read 4255 times and was rated at
79% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
very helpful

Comments on this review

  • jonmf published 16/10/2006
    Very comprehensive!
  • Qoth_theraven published 07/02/2005
    This review covered everything I wanted to know about this player and more.
  • Atkin9999 published 09/11/2004
    buy an ipod so much better this review is extremely biased.
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Product Information : Cowon iAudio M3

Manufacturer's product description

Born for conquering your ear! The iAUDIO M3 features the ultra slimmest and luxurious body. Feel the difference that you never imagine...

Product Details

Enclosure Colour: Brown

Dimensions (WxDxH): 6.1 cm x 1.4 cm x 10.4 cm

Weight: 136 g

Battery: Player - rechargeable - Lithium Ion

Microphone: Microphone - built-in

Headphones: Headphones - binaural - ear-bud - stereo

Radio: Digital radio tuner - FM

Audio Specifications: Digital Player - Response Bandwidth - 20 - 20000 Hz - SNR - 95 dB

Equaliser Factory Presets: Normal, Rock, Jazz, Pop, Classic, Vocal

Equaliser: 5-band

Sound Effects: BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance

Sound Output Mode: Stereo

Playback Digital Standards: WAV, WMA, ASF, Ogg Vorbis, MP3

Product Type: Digital player hard drive based

Product Description: Cowon iAUDIO M3 - digital player

HDD: 20 GB

Interface Supported: USB 2.0

System Requirements

OS Required: Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Apple MacOS 9.x, Microsoft Windows XP, Linux 2.2.x or later, Apple MacOS X 10.x

Peripheral / Interface Devices: CD-ROM, USB port

System Requirements Details: Windows 98/98SE/2000/ME/XP - Pentium - 200 MHz - RAM 32 MB - HD 20 MB


Battery: Player - rechargeable - Lithium Ion

Run Time (Up To): 14 hour(s)

Recharge Time: 3 hour(s)


Power Device: Power adapter - external


Software: Drivers & Utilities, Cowon jetAudio, Cowon jetShell

Cables Included: USB cable ¦ Audio cable

Included Accessories: Carrying case, player remote control, audio cable, USB cable, 6.3 mm (1/4") stereo adapter


Connector Type: Headphones / remote control ¦ Docking station ¦ DC power input ¦ USB ¦ Audio line-in ¦ Audio line-out

Remote Control

Remote with LCD Display: Yes

Backlit Remote: Yes

Type: Player remote control - cable


Type: Microphone - built-in


Headphones Type: Headphones - binaural - ear-bud

Connectivity Technology: Wired

Sound Output Mode: Stereo


Tuning Display: LCD display

Type: Digital radio tuner - FM

Digital Player (Recorder)

Playback Modes: A-B repeat, resume play, playlist, repeat folder, random play / shuffle, all tracks repeat, one track repeat

Sample Rate: 11 kHz, 22 kHz, 44.1 kHz

External Hard Drive Function: Yes

ID3 Tags Support: Yes


Equalizer: 5-band

Equaliser Factory Presets: Normal, Rock, Jazz, Pop, Classic, Vocal

Equaliser User Preset Qty: 1


Headphones Output Power (per channel): 20 mW

Audio System

Sound Output Mode: Stereo

Audio Specifications: Digital Player - Response Bandwidth - 20 - 20000 Hz - SNR - 95 dB

Timer: Sleep

Features: Battery level indication, hold button, auto power save, voice recording, upgradeable firmware, FM radio recording capability

Sound Effects: BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance

HDD: 20 GB

Equaliser: Yes


Supported Digital Audio Standards: WAV, WMA, ASF, Ogg Vorbis, MP3

Product Type: Digital player

Digital Player Type: Hard drive based

Width: 6.1 cm

Depth: 1.4 cm

Height: 10.4 cm

Weight: 136 g

Enclosure Colour: Brown

MPN: 953506

Digital Player Functions: Radio, line-in recording

Interface Supported: USB 2.0


Listed on Ciao since: 17/06/2004