Cowon Plenue D Digital Audio Player Review
Cowon is known as one of the first companies to produce portable digital audio players (predating the iPod by a year with their CW100 model from 2000) and so they have quite a heritage in this area. Is the Plenue D player able to pick up the mantle of its forebears, and does the ‘D’ stand for ‘Dazzling’ or ‘Dunce’? We take a listen…
- Good, customisable sound
- Small size is good for hands and pockets
- Attractive look
- Short delay at power on (music database check)
- No case included
Design and Appearance
The Plenue D is a very small player at 2″ x 3″ (52mm x 75mm) and is all black, apart from its silver top and power button, all of which gives an impression of stylish utilitarianism. Edges are slightly bevelled making it comfortable in the hand, and it’s quite easy to operate whether you’re left or right-handed.
Being a touchscreen operated player, the power button can be pushed with music playing which disables the screen. On the right side there are buttons for volume and track skipping with an extra play/pause button. Just remember to disable the ‘button lock’ option within the player so all these buttons function when the player is in use and the screen is disabled.
There is only one slot for a Micro SD card and the Cowon Plenue D can only accept up to a 128Gb capacity at this time, but larger cards may work with future firmware updates. Just now, a 128Gb card is recommended as the Plenue D will hold, but will not allow you to access music which is outside of this 128Gb capacity. However there is also an internal memory of 32Gb on the Plenue D, if you need a reserve.
The Plenue D is a basic player which forgoes Bluetooth, wifi and the installation of apps such as Spotify; it’s a good choice for anyone who just wants a decent player for their own music collection. Why pay for features you’ll not use?
One issue is that the player checks for any new music whenever it’s turned on. This is typically finished after about 10 seconds, but can be a pain if you just want to start the player up and get on with things. Also when scrolling through tracks, the display can lag a little but it’s not a serious problem.
Durability and Build Quality
The Cowon Plenue D is a solid little device; the side buttons have a good ‘clicky’ feel about them and there’s nothing much else to say about build quality. It’s perfect. Perhaps it’s just as well, as there is no protective case included; it would have been nice to see one.
The Plenue D has a fairly neutral sound, but with a touch of warmth about it. It can help tame models such as the Shure SE846 which can be a bit lively with the bright filters, for example. Extensive EQ settings are available as well, including an almost paragraphic-level EQ section within the settings so you should be able to get the sound you’re after without too much bother.
Being a portable player, the Plenue D is designed for low-impedance earphones and headphones; a separate amp will be required for use with models over about 80 ohms impedance, depending on sensitivity.
For a basic low-cost player, the Cowon Plenue D is a good choice. It does all that’s needed, and it’s clear that the Plenue D comes from a company which knows its stuff!