Cowon i10 review

So-so sound and vision hobble this affordable media player Tested at £100

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Good but not great, we’re not quite sure why you’d buy it


  • +

    Affordable, feature-packed, 8GB flash memory

  • +

    touchscreen interface

  • +

    sound is OK, nothing to shout about


  • -

    Sound could be better

  • -

    quite bulky

  • -

    video isn’t up to much

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Will the portable media player soon be a thing of the past? Smartphones and do-it-all internet-enabled devices have rendered the idea of carrying a separate device for music and movies redundant for many folk.

But affordability, battery life and portability are three crucial factors that remain on the side of simple multimedia players.

Decent price, but does it do enough?
At £100 for 8GB of flash memory and offering music and video playback, an FM radio, voice recorder line input and TV output (with optional cables), the Cowon i10 looks like decent value.

It claims to last up to 38 hours for audio and over 6 hours for video, too.

It’s less impressive when it comes to portability, though: three times the size of the iPod Nano, it’s not too pocket- or exercise-friendly. The upside is a much bigger screen – a 3in, 400 x 240-pixel LCD.

For its bigger dimensions it’s still light and slender, with a smoothly tapered finish that feels comfortable in the hand.

Interface could be better
Capacitive touch controls let you slide your way around the interface, though what each button does on each screen could be clearer.

It sounds decent, too. Listening to Clock Opera’s Belongings, there’s decent detail and a good sense of space.

Bass notes sound a little soft, though, and drums aren’t quite as crisp as rivals.

Video is a little rough round the edges and noisy – which is a shame considering the size of the screen.

If you get on with the size and welcome some of the extra features, this could work. But better sound and a more enjoyable user experience can be yours for similar money.

See all our MP4 player reviews

Follow on Twitter

Join on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test