iAudio CW300 MP3 Player Review
MP3 Players have always been popular. MP3 players have always brought something new to the table. Whether it being small, portable or fun to use, we always want to have the best. JetAudio, the brand of Cowon Systems in Korea looks to further spice up the market with their CW300 MP3 Player. Let’s see what they have to offer.
iAudio is a brand of JetAudio that is based in North America and iAudio is based of off Cowon Systems from Korea. Cowon Systems produces many audio products since 1995 and is a big brand name in Korea.
The CW300 we are reviewing today is the 128MB version but cannot be upgraded for more memory. The unit is also only USB 1.1 so transfer rates will be slower as opposed to USB 2.0. What I like about this unit is that it has an excellent Signal to Noise ratio of 95dB. This gives you great quality sound and we will see if in fact it does. Another great thing about this player is the 30-hour playtime that you have from one AA battery.
The iAudio CW300 arrived to Modsynergy.com, packaged in a nice looking box. The box is the size of any software boxes you may find in computer stores. The front has their company logo and a small list of features at the top. The rear of the box has all the other information and screen shots of what the CW300 has to offer.
What you receive with the purchase of the iAudio CW300 are the following items:
I was actually surprised with the bundle. Never have I seen so many things included for a MP3 Player. This is the best bundle I have seen yet. You not only have one leather case to put the iAudio CW300 in, you have a second one that is silver in color to put it in to. The second one fits on the arm band that is included as well. The manual is no slouch too. This is not the ones with a few pages but one with many pages. Everything in this manual is easy to read with big letters and illustrations to help you understand your product.
The front + battery compartment and the USB connection on the left
This unit is very light weighing in at 42g without the battery. It’s very small coming in at a dimension of 40W x 82.5H x 18.6D mm. The iAudio CW300 is also very sexy in style with a brushed aluminum face. The color of this unit is Metal Black.
At the front of the unit you have your LCD screen that is covered with plastic to prevent scratches, and a record/A-B button below the LCD. You have a sticker on the left displaying the main key features of this unit.
The back of the unit is more of the same great quality with a Hold feature to the top of the unit.
The left side of the CW300 sports a dial that increases your volume to the right and decreases it going to the left. When you push the dial in, you are forwarded to your menu, which has plenty of options that we will talk more about later.
The other side of the CW300 features another dial, which has your play button, fast forward and rewind buttons. These dials are of high quality and have a great feel to it. Lastly the top of the player has your earphone jack and a microphone piece
When you start up the CW300 by holding the play button, you will be greeted with a graphic with it saying “iAudio…Unlimited Sound In Your Hand”. Turning it off is vice-versa. The LCD has a blue colored back light that helps you clearly see text on the LCD screen. The LCD was easy to read and was not difficult to view. Even when turning it to an angle, you still can see what is on the screen. The iAudio CW300 is easy to navigate as well. When you do go into your menu, you will have the options to change plenty of options.
The size and connected to the PC symbol
The iAudio CW300 is capable of playing MP3 files, listen to FM Radio and you have a voice-recording feature. The recording feature is where you record your voice or any ambient sounds. It’s very easy to use and it stores a database of recordings you have made.
When you go into your menu from the MP3 mode, the following options are:
Of course there are many more options in the other modes but I will leave you to play with it. What is very cool from this unit is from your Equalizer mode, you have so many options to tinker. You have your bass level option that ranges from –20 to 20, Treble (-20 to 20), Loudness (0 to 40), and Dynamic Bass option which rocks! (0 to 40). Never have I seen so many sound options to tinker and the bass on the CW300 amazing.
How does it sound?
One word describes how the CW300 performs, “AWESOME”. Yes you heard me, awesome. The iAudio CW300 has the best and is the best sounding MP3 player I have reviewed to date. This is all because of the excellent signal to noise ratio of 95dB and the plethora of options such as Bass, Dynamic Bass and Treble you have to tweak. The default EQ setting on the unit is on "Rock" and packs great bass and treble levels but that is not all. You can further up the ante and more bass, dynamic bass and the treble is at your disposal. The quality of sound with the CW300 is something I just cannot describe. It’s the best I have heard yet with a MP3 Player. This was of course with the standard earphones with are made by Cresyn. JetAudio gives you an option of purchasing the CW300 with Sennheiser MX 400 Earphones for 10 dollars more. So you will have better sound to go with the best sounding unit I have ever had the pleasure of testing.
The iAudio CW300 MP3 Player comes with four Japanese sample songs so you can start listening right away.
To transfer songs to the iAudio CW300, you first have to install the drivers. After installing the drivers, you will have to install the JetShell software, which is a program to transfer MP3 files to your player, and upload any recordings you have made to your PC. The transferring program is called JetShell. JetShell is very easy to use and works very well. The transfer times were actually faster than I thought USB 1.1 can achieve and that surprised me. It is probably using all 6Mbps effectively for transferring files. It shouldn’t take that long to transfer depending on the file size. A 4MB file took about 4-5 seconds to transfer into the CW300. Of course since USB2.0 is standard, it would be much better. JetShell also helps transferring songs a piece of cake. If you drag in WMA files, it automatically converts them to MP3.
Lets transfer music shall we?
The other programs that are included when you install the software on the CD are JetVoiceMail, and JetAudio Player. JetVoiceMail is a small program that plays the voice recordings you have recorded on your CW300 and uploaded to your PC. From there you can save it up in a small file with the player built-in and send it to your friends and family email. The iAudio CW300 is capable of recording your voice or the FM Radio in real-time! The quality depends solely on the reception of the station.
The only problem you may have with the recording is that the iAudio CW300 saves recordings in it's proprietary file format. It’s not recorded in an MP3 format but in it’s own supported format. JetVoiceMail handles the rest.
I think I may have found a small problem with my unit. Whenever the LCD screen is lit, it would make a small annoying buzz sound. I will have to email JetAudio about this matter and get back to you.
Update: It seems that the buzz noise only happens when you record without any ambient noise. When you record ambient noise, the buzz doesn't get in the recording, so it should be fine.
Leather Case Number 1. Fits snugly and is of high quality
Sennheiser MX400 Earphones. If you want even better sound to go with the kickass sounding unit, these are great.
What can I say? If you are on the market for a small, yet high quality MP3/FM/Record Player you have to check out the iAudio CW300. The iAudio CW300 is the best sounding MP3 player I have used to date. The amount of features and things that are bundled is amazing.
The only things I could nit-pick towards the CW300 is that it cannot show up on "My Computer" as a drive so you can drop and drag files to it instead of using the software, the buzz noise from the LCD screen, and it’s only USB1.1.
You can download firmware updates for the iAudio CW300 MP3 Player as well for any upgrades.
Other than that, the iAudio CW300 is my pick!
I rate the iAudio CW300 a…
Pros and Cons
You can pick up the iAudio 128MB CW300 MP3 Player for about $149.00 for the 128MB version at the JetAudio. You have the option of purchasing the unit with the Sennheiser earphones for ten dollars more.
I would like to thank JetAudio for making this review possible. Visit them by clicking the banner below for more information on products and more product images.