UI & Usage
Cowon Software – Matrix Browser
The Cowon UI is the same across the whole range, be it the Plenue D2, Plenue R or Plenue L. To be fair, it looks a bit out-dated now, especially compared to the android based solution.
Good points :
- fast and simple. The Plenue D2 takes seconds to boot up and seconds to shut down. If you compare it to an Astell&Kern SR15, it’s like coming from edge bandwidth to fiber optical.
- reliable. During all my tests, the player never failed me even when I used heavily charged micro-SD cards.
- audiophile focused. All the playback options you need are directly accessible (equalizer, favorites, shuffle)
Bad points :
- not as refined as modern UIs. When you scroll in your music catalog, there is a slight delay each time you want to drag down the track list.
- pixelated. I mean… when everyone is talking about Retina displays, an UI like this really feels old.
The Plenue D2 UI isn’t bad by all means, when you understand this is not your “common” UI, it’s one of the most reliable ones I tried lately. It’s like driving an old car, you don’t get all the cool features like autopilot or Speedshift, instead you get an old manual gearbox… which works every time, any time.
To access the general menu, you can just click on the icon located at the upper right corner of the screen. Then, you click on the wrench, et voila.
- Jet effect 5 : where the magic happens. Here you can activate all the BBE effects you need and adjust the sound to your tastes.
- Display : language, font, brightness… all you need to adjust the screen.
- Time : a panel where you can adjust the time and date of the player, as well as auto-idle and auto-shutdown
- Music : this is where you can adjust playback options such as seek interval/skip interval, play speed and DAC filter.
- System : in this menu, you can (des)activate the hearing protection, choose how you interact with the buttons when the player is locked, reset the player and set the channel balance (if you need more sound to the left than right for example)
Most options are directly available from the play screen, so you won’t have to go to the menu a second time.
USB and SD Card
Let’s cut to the chase, the USB port on the Plenue D2 is made for data transfer only. There is no USB DAC support and even less, no USB Out to connect another DAC to the player, just straight data transfer. Also, it’s not a USB 3.0 port, data transfer will be capped at 480Mbps or 60 MOps in real life.
The micro SD card slot worked as expected, data analysis being rather fast on the D2. I strongly suggest you to use a dedicated USB 3.0 card reader for faster transfer rates, with HD files this can take a while. Good news, the Plenue D2 also has 64Gb of built-in memory
The player automatically charges when you connect it to the computer. Since the Plenue D2 doesn’t support fast charge, it can take up to 3.5h but most of the time you’ll fill it up in 2h.
Streaming / DNLA / Bluetooth
All the above are not supported by the Cowon Plenue D2. Let’s move on.
Battery Life and Charging
Battery life has always been a forte of the D Series from Cowon. That’s still true with the Plenue D2. 45h of continuous playback with MP3 and 30h in High Definition. Thirty hours.
Cowon doesn’t give any information regarding the battery size or capacity, yet during my tests I think I’ve exceeded the 30h announced. By far. It’s as if Cowon applied some magic treatment to transform each mAh into direct music.
If battery life is crucial for you, make no mistake and get a Plenue D2. It’s been a long time since I used a player that could do weeks, one one charge. There is no deep sleep mode, but since the D2 only takes second to boot up, it’s basically irrelevant.
As a daily driver, the Cowon Plenue D2 is a very, very good choice. It’s small, sturdy and fits in almost every pocket or bag. The back isn’t prone to scratch, nor is the glass panel once you’ve installed the screen protection.
It’s a bit thick so you’ll have a bulge in your pocket, but apart from that… It’s all good. Every button is found, even if you’re not looking at the player.
The review continues on Page Four, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.