After a couple of weeks of X7 ownership it has become quite clear that this is leagues above anything I have used or owned before - from iPods to Samsungs to Creatives and many, many more. Though I would not say the X7 is for everyone, it's a niche p...Read moreroduct that people have been waiting years for. For some avid music listeners, flash storage just doesn't provide enough space, most players only going up to 32GB and the only players that do go above that (Sony Walkman, iPod Touch) just don't have the quality to their name when it comes to sound and flexibility. It seems strange then that it took a rival company (and a good one at that) to finally make an 'equivalent' to the ever popular iPod Classic without its gaping flaws, but better late than never, right?
In terms of audio this will support just about everything you throw at it and will play it more than admirably. The X7's playback and sound quality is the most faithful, accurate and clear I've ever heard in a portable music player, and the most impressive aspect is the fact that just about all of the enhancements actually enhance the sound in one form or another, rather than muddying the sound or making it sound artificial like the Creative and Samsung players do. It's the best sounding MP3 player out there in the market (though I can't speak for the higher end audiophile players with the battery life of a potato and form factor of a brick). Be it FLAC, MP3, Ogg, this will play it and I can almost assure you it'll play it better than anything else you could buy. As with 99% of all MP3 players however, invest in a good set of headphones or the effects of BBE and JE will be totally lost on you (I haven't even tried the included headphones but I'd bet my soul that they're just about useless in comparison to a good set).
For many this is enough to warrant a purchase, and I don't blame you, but you should hear the negatives first. For one, the screen resolution is pretty bad. This isn't all too obvious when you're just using the player, but if you're watching video it may become a little uncomfortable after extended viewing. Speaking of video, support for the most basic of formats simply isn't there. MP4, .mkv etc. This is really unforgivable considering they're both among the most popular formats in video. Maybe a future firmware change will fix this. The interface isn't anything to shout about but it's perfectly usable and very easy to get used to after half an hour or so. The formfactor is very big, perhaps twice the size of my previous player of choice (Samsung YP-P3) but it's far from offputting and it isn't very heavy, it feels substantial which is fitting considering that this is a serious player for serious music listeners. The battery life is fantastic too, I've yet to even be able to get it down half way and I've been using it constantly, the 103 hours likely isn't a joke. It also features an alarm that wakes you up to either your own music or the radio, a picture viewer (which admitedly is pretty awful but it was always a function that never got much use from me anyway), bluetooth capability that functions as you'd expect and more. Drag and drop support works great on Windows 7 64bit (ignore the warning that it doesn't work with 64bit, that only refers to the useless built-in software that I never installed) and the transfer speeds are also very quick, loading a lossless album taking about 30 seconds and an MP3 album anywhere from 5-10 seconds (!) in the highest quality setting.
In short, the X7 functions reliably and satisfyingly for 90% of what it sets out to do. For the remaining 10%, the sound, it excels the entire market seemingly with ease. This is a player that doesn't wow but it does please, it's reliable in that it will do whatever you want it to, no bells and whistles and for those who need the extra space it's exactly what we've been searching years upon years for. For many 32GB would be enough. In which case, the Cowon S9 or J3 are sitting there waiting for you, or even the D2. Some even include an SD slot for expansion. But for those with a library of lossless and not wanting to go through the hassle of converting your entire library, or just wanting lossless quality without space being a problem, there really isn't any reason why the X7 wouldn't please you. It's the hard disk player that doesn't skimp on quality (well, mostly) that many of us have been looking out for years for. Well, take it from me confidently, it's here and I doubt we'll see a better one for years - if ever. Where not flawless, what is? This is the best MP3 player I've ever owned and for those that need 100+ GB of space, it's the best on the market in terms of where it really matters, and it even offers much more than that.