Cowon Q5W (60GB) Portable Video Player - First Look

Cowon Q5W (60GB) Portable Video Player - First Look

The Cowon Q5W was first spotted at CES 2007 and it knocked the socks off those who saw its specs. It's supposed to be a PVP (portable video player), but with specs like Windows CE 5.0, a 800 x 480 display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this one feels more like a UMPC. Though it was originally slated to have cellular connectivity and GPS, these are not found in the final product. It's still a monster of a PVP though, and comes in an equally over-the-top price of S$1,060 for the 60GB version.


The 800 x 480 pixels on the Q5W's screen are the same number as what you find on many UMPCs. It's a common resolution for ultraportable computers and is also found on the Archos 605 WiFi, the PVP it competes directly with. The 4-inch diagonal ensures lots of real estate for video viewing, and because of the sizable width is also good for Web browsing.

Right out of the box, the Q5W supports a wide range of video formats. We tested a couple of clips in various formats and they all worked without any issues. The same can be said of music files as the device readily plays a wide range of formats including even OGG.

A PVP at this price needs to have a few extras, and the Q5W comes with them by default. A TV-out connector at the base outputs videos to a bigger screen and you don't have to buy any addons to get it working as the cable to achieve this is provided. It even comes with a remote control that'll work with the infrared port above the screen.

On the left side of the device is a flap which hides one mini, one full USB port. The mini-USB port is for syncing with a computer. This allows you to copy files on and off the hard drive without any drivers as it shows up as a removable drive on computers. The full USB port is interesting as it lets you plug in storage devices like USB flash drives so you can copy stuff on and off the Q5W's hard drive without a computer.


Upon booting up the Q5W, you'll immediately notice how closely Windows CE 5.0 resembles your regular desktop Windows. The Cowon interface is tacked onto the underlying CE interface and, honestly, isn't much more efficient. The main menu lies on the left edge of the screen, and tapping on each item brings up a sub-menu on the right side. Though this part is fine because you can use your left and right thumbs to easily navigate, we found ourselves having to use the stylus for tapping on tiny menu items in between.

Entering text is also quite a chore because the keyboard is very small. You will need a stylus for that and, worst of all, it doesn't always appear automatically when you need it. We found this to be especially true when trying to use the browser and had to key in a URL.

The Q5W weighs 380g. Comparatively, the 30GB version of the Archos 605 WiFi is just 190g, half its weight. Even the 160GB version of the Archos only goes up to 290g. Though its bulkiness is inevitable because of the large screen, we wished it was much lighter.


The Cowon Q5W does a lot more than most other PVPs--that's usually a good thing. But when it comes down to being usable, this feature-packed device needs a little work. A few buttons would have been welcomed so that users can navigate more efficiently. That aside, it will still appeal to the video addict who needs a high-quality screen out of the home. The Q5W is rated at 7 hours for video playback and 13 hours for music.