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COWON J3 Review

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PROS / COWON MP4 players are known for their excellent audio quality.

CONS / This MP4 player does not have Wi-Fi capability.

 VERDICT / This compact player provides an excellent movie viewing and music listening experience.

The Korean-based company COWON has gained a reputation for creating MP3 and MP4 players with unparalleled sound quality. The COWON J3, the winner of our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award, certainly follows suit by providing excellent audio quality. The COWON J3 uses JetEffect 3.0 and BBE+ technologies that put you in control of your MP4 player's sound. You can choose between 39 EQ presets to enhance the quality of your music, bring out certain elements or make your music sound like it’s being played in a concert hall or stadium. You can even apply the enriched sound effects to your movies and radio too. The COWON J3 is an MP4 player that puts you in control.

Appearance & Storage Capacity

The COWON J3 is the 2010 winner of the Red Dot Design Award, which is one of three prestigious worldwide design awards. This is no surprise since this MP4 player is slim, attractive and modern in appearance. Weighing in at only 0.16 pounds, the J3 is highly portable and will easily fit in your pocket.

Despite its slim size, the COWON J3 has a screen that is slightly larger than average. The 3.3-inch touchscreen on this MP4 player is sensitive and responsive, causing no complaints from users. The AMOLED screen shows 16 million colors at a resolution of 480 by 272 pixels. COWON explains that these features combine to create an “addictive vividness.” Users generally comment that they are impressed with the clear video quality and smooth, fluid movie playback provided by this device.

You can choose between the 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB models. If you later decide you need more storage space, you can use this MP4 player's MicroSD card slot to expand the drive space.

One noteworthy function of an MP4 player is the amount of playback time from a single battery charge because, after all, a portable media player needs to last through long flights, boring car rides and monotonous moments. Rest at ease on this count because the COWON J3’s battery definitely does its job. With 64 hours of audio playback time and 11 hours of video playback, this MP4 player has one of the longest playback times of any available device.


COWON has expressly warned users not to be fooled by the J3’s small size; this product still packs in loads of exciting features to keep you satisfied and entertained. The COWON J3 acts as an eBook reader, voice recorder, FM radio and picture viewer. When reading eBooks or other documents, you can adjust the font type and size to match your preference. You can even use the recorder to capture songs on the radio. The J3 also has some simple functions that will make your life more convenient, such as a calculator, stopwatch, notepad and alarm clock.

Some of our favorite functions include the device's multitasking and bookmark features. With multitasking, you can read eBooks on this MP4 player while listening to music at the same time. It also gives you access to all the features on your MP4 player without requiring you to navigate away from the movie you are currently watching. The Bookmark or Favorite function allows you to bookmark your favorite part of a movie, book or song. To return to that specific part later, simply click on the Favorites icon and select your bookmark from the list.

With its unique array of features, we noticed that this MP4 player would be a great device to help you learn another language. Naturally, you can watch foreign films on the video player. In addition to that, the J3 allows you to set the subtitles to two languages. You can play both of these subtitles at the same time or play them separately. COWON explains that the voice recorder can be used to record lectures, and you can also record yourself to track your language-learning progress.

Video & Audio File Formats

The COWON J3 is compatible with five different video file types, including: AVI, ASF, DivX, WMV, and Xvid. This MP4 player also plays several audio formats: MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, FLAC and APE. With six audio file types and five video formats, the COWON J3 is compatible with more files than most MP4 players, which is convenient because you can spend less time fussing around with file types and more time using your media player.

As with other COWON products, it is also easy to get music and movies onto this device because you don’t have to use any software applications to do so. Simply drag and drop files into the COWON J3 file that pops up on the screen when you connect the MP4 player to your computer.

Help & Support

You can contact COWON through email to receive help or answers to your questions. Before contacting the manufacturer, you are encouraged to consult the user guide that comes with your MP4 player or the knowledgebase on the COWON website.


This MP4 player looks sleek and attractive, making it a convenient hand-held media player. It also has several amazing features that provide an excellent movie-viewing experience, including: amazing audio quality, impressive screen resolution, lengthy playback times and a large hard drive. We are certain you will be satisfied with the COWON J3 and the many hours of entertainment it will provide after you open the pretty packaging and get it up and running.