iAUDIO CW200 MP3 Player Review

Product Requirements:
Device:
Windows 98 or higher

If you are a music enthusiast, you have it pretty good right now. MP3 players
seem to be everywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes, so you can take your
music with you where ever you go. The latest player to come across my desk is
the iAudio CW200 from Jetaudio. This
little player is small on size, but big on features. With a built in FM tuner,
and voice recorder, it has a lot to offer. Available in 64, 128 and 256mb
versions, I was sent the 128. Let’s take a closer look…

Hardware Specifications

Bit Rate Supports – MPEG1/2 – Layer 2/3 (MP3), all bit rates within 8kbps
~ 320 kbps and VBR
Memory – 64/128/256MB according to model
PC Interface – USB
File Transmission Rate – Maximum 4M bps (500Kbyte/sec)
Battery – 1.5V (AAA) 1 unit (maximum 9 hrs of continuous playback)
LCD Display – 128 x 16 Bitmap
S/N Ratio – 95dB
Audio – 16 Ohm earphone 6mW
Output Frequency Band – 20Hz ~ 20KHz
Size – 83.8mm x 35.9mm x 16.1mm
Weight – 1.7oz. (47g) (with battery)

The CW200 is small. It is only slightly larger than a pack of gum, or a Bic
lighter. It will definably fit into any pocket, purse or bag.


It is made of plastic and aluminum. The main shell is made of lavender
colored plastic, while the front and back have a silver aluminum shell.

The unit has a very sturdy feel to it. It does not flex, creak or crack when
squeezed and doesn’t rattle when shook. It also has a nice weight and feels
comfortable to hold and use.

The front of the CW200 has a long, thin LCD 2 line display which is separated
into 3 areas. The main area is a marquee-like window where the song title
scrolls across from right to left. This is also the menu area. Under the main
area is a status bar which displays various indicator icons for battery life,
volume level, etc. On the right side of the display the track number and time
info are displayed. The display itself is crisp, clear and easy to read. A blue
indigo backlight allows you to view the info even in the dark.

The left side of the player has the spring loaded volume / menu rocker
switch. This switch has ridges and a nub in the center. Rocking the switch up
and down adjusts the volume, while pressing it in activates the onscreen menu.

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On the right side is an identical spring loaded rocker switch. This one
controls music play back. Rocking it up and down allows you to move forwards and
backwards thru the songs stored on the device. Pressing the button in when the
unit is off, will power it on. Pressing it when the unit is on will toggle
between play and pause. Pressing and holding the button in for a few seconds
while the unit is on, will power the unit off. This switch also allows you to
tune in radio stations when you are in FM mode.

Below the rocker switch is the Record button. Pressing this button will allow
you to use the voice recorder feature built into the CW200.

Directly below the Record button is the Hold switch. Sliding this switch to
the activate setting will lock all the other buttons on the device. This allows
you to put the CW200 in your pocket while playing music without worrying about
pressing buttons or changing settings inadvertently.


The bottom of the player has the battery compartment and the USB connector.
The CW200 runs on 1 AAA battery which can be easily inserted and replaced. A
rubber cover protects the USB connector from dirt and dust while not in use.

The top of the player has the microphone for voice recording, earphone jack
and hand strap eyelet.

Physically, the CW200 is attractive and sufficiently rugged. I’ve dropped
mine a couple of times from several feet to a hard surface without any
noticeable effects. To help protect the player, a white vinyl case with a belt
clip is included. I personally think it is pretty ugly!

Since the player does not have a memory card slot, you have to transfer the
files using a USB cable and your PC. This is accomplished using an included
software package called jetAudio. This software is super easy to use. You just
drag and drop MP3s or tracks from your CD to the player to transfer them. It
will automatically convert CD tracks to MP3 format as it transfers. The software
can also look up the CD song titles from an Internet database if you are online
at the time. A nifty feature is the ability to choose any Windows font and size
for song titles to display on the LCD.

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You can even create pseudo play lists on the CW200. The player has four
albums (folders) that you can use to organize your music. Songs can be played
sequentially or randomly.

Unfortunately, this player does not support WMA music files. It only supports
.MP3. Overall, I found the sound quality to be very good. A full equalizer with
separate +/- control of bass, treble, loudness & dynamic bass is included. You
can save your settings under a "User" selection, or choose from several preset
equalizations (rock, classical, jazz etc.).

The CW200 isn’t just an MP3 player, it is also a voice recorder. With the 128
Mb model and no MP3s loaded, you should get approximately 9 hours of voice
recording time! The microphone picks up pretty well and there is a level
indicator so you know how strong the input signal is. There is a fast key press
combination that will you directly into voice recorder mode, so if you are in
the car and want to record a note, you can do so without even taking your eyes
off the road. The gotcha with using this device as a voice recorder  is the
fact that there is no speaker. To hear your recordings, you have to use
headphones.

In addition to the voice recorder feature, the CW200 also has an FM radio
tuner built in. During the review period, I found myself using this feature way
more often then the voice recorder. It is nice to switch to a local radio
station for some fresh music when you tire of the content on the device. The
reception wasn’t half bad for such a small radio.

I think that the CW200 is a great little player. It is a perfect size, has
good sound and extra features that make it more attractive than most players in
the same price range. If only it had an SD slot… Oh well, I guess you can’t
have everything!
 

Price: $179.99

Pros:
Small size
Great sound quality
FM tuner
Voice recorder

Cons:
No memory expansion slot
Can’t play WMA files

 

Product Information

Price:179.99
Manufacturer:JetAudio
Pros:
  • Small size
  • Great sound quality
  • FM tuner
  • Voice recorder
Cons:
  • No memory expansion slot
  • Can't play WMA files
29 comments… add one
  • ChrisSpera December 13, 2002, 6:13 pm

    I know the built in wireless options are one of the biggest pulls for this PDA; the other being the screen (these are the 2 big ones that come to mind right now).

    My BIG question is, if you already have a 3900, what is the compulsion to make the switch? Is it just the wireless and perhaps the biometric security, or is the screen on the 5400 BETTER than the screen on the 3900?

    I am really interested in this PDA. I love my 3900; but I’m (finally, after about 2 years…) getting tired of carrying the PC Card Sleeve with it everywhere I go so that I always have my music. I’d like to find someway of leaving the PC Card Sleeve in the car (where I listen to most of my music). I’m also tired of my Targus CH300 wallet case being too skinny. I’ve got everything in my case (credit cards, $$ and receipts, check book, passport, business cards, and iPAQ. The case is, quite seriously, just slightly over stuffed (believe it or not), and I’m really wanting to use the Style Paq that came with the 3955 so that I can carry my iPAQ in my case without running the battery down (the application buttons keep getting pushed when the case is zippered shut and then belted closed with the velcro strap. As a result, the unit unknowingly gets turned on and remains on, draining the battery).

    I use the PC Card Sleeve in the Office for 802.11b connectivity, but wouldn’t need it with the 5400 because of its inheirant (SP) wireless connectivity.

    So again, what is, if any, the big compulsion to switch from the 3900 to the 5400? If its all 4 wireless options (802.11b, BT, Serial IR and Consumer IR) the screen (because its even better than the 3900 screen) and the bio security, then this is a slam dunk and a no brainer. If the screen is the same in the 5400 as in the 3900, then I’m going to need to consider this a bit more before I purchase one.

    If you could consider this during your review, I’d really appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    Kind Regards,

    Christopher Spera

  • Julie December 13, 2002, 6:25 pm

    Chris,

    Unfortunately, neither Judie or myself have a 3900 to compare screen quality. I’ll try to find out if they do use the same screen. I do know that the screen on the 5455 is a billion times nicer than my 3800!

    I’m planning on doing some major bonding with this new PDA over the weekend. I have both Bluetooth and WiFi setup at home, so I will enjoy testing out those features.

  • ChrisSpera December 13, 2002, 7:23 pm

    Cool. but as neither of you have a 3900, you’re right. This is going to be a difficult comparison. There isn’t a 5450 around Nashville to be seen in a retail setting yet, either; so I can’t give you the information myself. My guess is that the screens are identical between 3900 and 5400 because they are both transflective, so the point may be moot.

    From what Dale Coffing has said about memory and the interior of the 5400, its going to be difficult for Leonard and Pocket PC Techs to come up with some sort of memory upgrade strategy for the 5400 as well. It simply doesn’t have the room that the previous iPAQ’s have had. That means that hp either purposfully removed the ability for upgrades to be done (which I doubt) or that the memory type is different and the upgrade will either be a non-native upgrade, or expensive because it is a new/ different memory type, or both. 😡

    If both of these are the case tho, its going to cause me to give this purchase a serious reconsidering because I’ve grown accustomed to 128MB of RAM (not SD or CF) in my devices; and my compulsion to upgrade will have been slightly reduced since I already have most of what the 5400 offers via PC Card Sleeve and transflective screen…

    Christopher

  • TheWraith December 14, 2002, 6:12 am

    Originally posted by ChrisSpera
    Cool. but as neither of you have a 3900, you’re right. This is going to be a difficult comparison. There isn’t a 5450 around Nashville to be seen in a retail setting yet, either; so I can’t give you the information myself. My guess is that the screens are identical between 3900 and 5400 because they are both transflective, so the point may be moot.

    From what I’m told, the 54XX screen is somewhat better than the 39XX, but not a big leap.

    From what Dale Coffing has said about memory and the interior of the 5400, its going to be difficult for Leonard and Pocket PC Techs to come up with some sort of memory upgrade strategy for the 5400 as well. It simply doesn’t have the room that the previous iPAQ’s have had. That means that hp either purposfully removed the ability for upgrades to be done (which I doubt)

    I wouldn’t, given Compaq’s history of massive, unabashed greed (non-replaceable batteries, sleeves, etc.). It really wouldn’t surprise me if they designed it so that the only way to get more memory is to buy their next ludicrously overpriced device.

    or that the memory type is different and the upgrade will either be a non-native upgrade, or expensive because it is a new/ different memory type, or both. 😡

    If both of these are the case tho, its going to cause me to give this purchase a serious reconsidering because I’ve grown accustomed to 128MB of RAM (not SD or CF) in my devices; and my compulsion to upgrade will have been slightly reduced since I already have most of what the 5400 offers via PC Card Sleeve and transflective screen…

    Christopher

  • TMAN December 14, 2002, 5:05 pm

    I have both the 3970 and the 5450 I can say for sure that the screens are different. The 5450 screen has the best looking ClearType font than any of the iPAQ’s. On the other hand the color saturation/contrast/richness is far better on the 3970. It is actually a little disappointing.

  • TMAN December 14, 2002, 5:06 pm

    I should claify what I am dissapointed in. I wish the 5450 had the same color qualities of the 3970.

  • ChrisSpera December 15, 2002, 4:48 am

    Hmmmm… well that’s going to be a problem.

    Better resolution, but the color quality isn’t as good as the 3900. How disappointing.

    This pending purchase is going to require some thought. Maybe the 5600 with GSM/GPRS when it is rumored to come out will be the better device to wait for…

    Christopher Spera

  • rbright December 15, 2002, 11:00 pm

    Okay folks.

    How is the bonding going this weekend? Been pretty quiet about it, is it because you are absolutely mesmerized, or because you don’t want to tell us had bad it really is?

    I am on the verge of buying one, as this one finally seems to have all the right tools (except telephony). Just very curious about the instant messaging, handwriting capabilities (does that include translation of handwriting to text?), and memory, battery life, etc. oh, and what about Wi-Fi distance?

    Please oh please let us know soon.

    Thanks.

  • Judie December 16, 2002, 3:45 am

    Originally posted by rbright
    [B]Okay folks.

    How is the bonding going this weekend? Been pretty quiet about it, is it because you are absolutely mesmerized, or because you don’t want to tell us had bad it really is?
    [/B]

    Wow – those are two extreme opposites. I would say that it is more in the middle. I have had a few glitches with it this weekend – such as the WiFi deciding to completely quit working, necessitating a hard-reset, and losing the programs I put in File Store – probably because of the round-about way I tried to do the hard-reset (by “failing” the biometric scan seven times), but otherwise I am having a good experience.

    Originally posted by rbright
    I am on the verge of buying one, as this one finally seems to have all the right tools (except telephony). Just very curious about the instant messaging,

    It works really well with my home’s 802.11b setup.

    Originally posted by rbright
    handwriting capabilities (does that include translation of handwriting to text?),

    The 5455 comes with the same handwriting recognition and virtual keyboard programs that all other PPCs come with…

    Originally posted by rbright
    and memory, battery life, etc. oh, and what about Wi-Fi distance?

    Memory: It comes with 48MB ROM and 64MB RAM

    Battery Life: I am still running tests, but so far have got over 5 hours playing MP3s. I did find out that the battery monitor program I was using was giving me an inconsistant reading with what the iPAQ’s built-in battery meter was showing – so I may have judged the battery a bit harshly at first. I need to do a lot more tests, of course…

    WiFi distance: WOW – it is slightly better than the distance I get on my Fuji! I will easily be able to chat while sitting outside in the swing next spring (about a 45 foot stretch through a *very* well insulated house). I still get a 35% signal – not bad.

    Hope this helps,
    Judie :0)

  • rbright December 16, 2002, 11:09 pm

    Have you tried the BT yet? Do you have a BT phone to try it with? I wonder if I had a BT earpiece, BT phone in my briefcase, and my Ipaq 5455 BT, if they would all work fine together.

    Any ideas? Any updates on your experiences to date with the new baby?

  • TMAN December 17, 2002, 1:48 am

    Originally posted by rbright
    [B]Have you tried the BT yet? Do you have a BT phone to try it with? I wonder if I had a BT earpiece, BT phone in my briefcase, and my Ipaq 5455 BT, if they would all work fine together.

    Any ideas? Any updates on your experiences to date with the new baby? [/B]

    This combination works great you just need to use mPhone 2.5 or Running Voice GSM. There are others but I have found that mPhone 2.5 is the best solution. It gives you the ability to dial a contact from your Pocket PC. The application then releases the peer to peer BT connection so that the Headset and phone can talk. Works great.

    http://www.mobem.com for mPhone 2.5
    http://www.pocketpresence.com for Running Voice GSM (Their website seems to be down at the moment.

  • rbright December 17, 2002, 2:30 pm

    Has anyone tried the VoIP (Voice over IP) feature yet? This sounds like an awesome feature if I can make calls over the net while I am connected to my LAN. Is there a charge for this service? Is the transmission clear?

    Thanks.

  • ChrisSpera December 17, 2002, 8:48 pm

    Originally posted by rbright
    [B]Has anyone tried the VoIP (Voice over IP) feature yet? This sounds like an awesome feature if I can make calls over the net while I am connected to my LAN. Is there a charge for this service? Is the transmission clear?

    Thanks. [/B]

    You can do VoIP on your computer now, or any PC that can connect to an IP based network. There Phone2PC (or something like that) is a VoIP app that I have used to place IP based calls on my broadband connection to the ‘Net. The quality there wasn’t bad; and the rates (no it isn’t always free) were reasonable.

    I don’t know if there’s a specific VoIP app that comes with the 5455; but I would THINK that it should give the same basic quality as any other VoIP Phone app: the quality of your IP signal will effect the quality of the call.

    Christopher Spera

  • ChrisSpera December 17, 2002, 9:25 pm

    …and I left it in the store. 😡

    The screen is similar to the 3900 series iPAQ, and it looks/ appears to be the same. The 48 MB ROM is a draw. I know this is going to/ should be upgradable to the next version OS. The Wireless 802.11b, BT are a draw. I don’t have that in my 3900 without the PC Card Sleeve and the proper PC Card (I only have an 802.11b card) Serial and Consumer IR come with the 3900; and Nevo is awesome!

    The biometric finger scanner insures that even tho my gadget may get stolen, they won’t steal my data. They’ll have to hard reset the device to get past the scanner.

    I think I want to wait until after Santa has come and gone before I shell out the $$ for this baby.

    Christopher Spera

  • Dizzy Devil December 19, 2002, 6:08 pm

    I heard that the Finger print scanner can be bypassed/Hacked by something like chewing gum or silly putty.

    I do not have my Eval to test this on but our Security guy assures me he can hack in in less than 10 minutes.

    Anyone here anything about this? We have a lot of VP’s that will be carrying these.

    Diz

  • rbright December 19, 2002, 6:19 pm

    Originally posted by Dizzy Devil
    [B]I heard that the Finger print scanner can be bypassed/Hacked by something like chewing gum or silly putty.

    I do not have my Eval to test this on but our Security guy assures me he can hack in in less than 10 minutes.

    Anyone here anything about this? We have a lot of VP’s that will be carrying these.

    Diz [/B]

    I wouldn’t invest in many of these for your VPs yet. Have you read the pages and pages and pages of bugs and problem issues with the 5450 and 5455 yet? There are about 30 pages of bugs and technical problems on the brighthand site.

    It seems the wi-fi, the bt, the screens, the biometrics, the speakers, almost everything is completely falling apart. The bios needs an immediate update, etc.

    It took me a week to find a site with a thorough review and discussion group. Check it out before plunking down the money for even one of these bad boy (girls).

  • ChrisSpera December 19, 2002, 6:36 pm

    😮

    I WANT THE DETAILS!!

    If you have a security guy that can break the biometric security; then:

    1. I want to know how to do it.
    2. We need to define a work around.
    3. We need to get the information in front of HP via EVERY Pocket PC MVP on the planet.
    4. We need to push for some sort of IMMEDIATE ROM upgrade from HP.

    We have DBA’s that will be carrying these here at the office (as well as VP’s) so they can do remote DBA work from any point in the office. The only way we were able to get these in the door was due to the biometric security

    I knew that a device was susceptable to theft because of its size; but I was certain, based on information I’ve heard, read and seen, that tho a device was stolen, it would require the thief to do a hard reset on the device to be able to use it. If this is not the case, then I need to know how your guy can beat this.

    Kind Regards,

    Christopher Spera

  • ChrisSpera December 19, 2002, 6:41 pm

    Originally posted by rbright
    It took me a week to find a site with a thorough review and discussion group. Check it out before plunking down the money for even one of these bad boy (girls).

    What site did you find this on? Can you post a URL?

    I’d like to see that list of known bugs/ issues. I have a long plane ride coming up for the holidays and need some good reading material.

    Christopher Spera

  • rbright December 19, 2002, 6:58 pm

    Originally posted by ChrisSpera
    [B]What site did you find this on? Can you post a URL?

    I’d like to see that list of known bugs/ issues. I have a long plane ride coming up for the holidays and need some good reading material.

    Christopher Spera [/B]

    http://discussion.brighthand.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=66672

    That is for the first half of the thread. They also started a part II because there are sooooooooo many complaints and issues.

    Looks like very bad news. I am glad I waited one more day to Not buy so I won’t have to deal with these for a while.

  • TMAN December 19, 2002, 10:01 pm

    Originally posted by Dizzy Devil
    [B]I heard that the Finger print scanner can be bypassed/Hacked by something like chewing gum or silly putty.

    I do not have my Eval to test this on but our Security guy assures me he can hack in in less than 10 minutes.

    Anyone here anything about this? We have a lot of VP’s that will be carrying these.

    Diz [/B]

    There is no way this could happen. People seem to think this type of security can be circumvented because the perception is that you press your finger on the screen. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    There is a little sensor under the D-Pad which you drag your finger over. The sensor reads the temperature difference between the ridges/peaks/valleys in your finger. No one else will have the same fingerprint and temperature profile as I do and silly putty or gum certainly won’t have it either.

  • Dizzy Devil December 20, 2002, 4:41 pm

    As Soon as I get back from Vacation…….. Ahhh Vacation…… ( Jan. 6th ) I will let the Security guy I spoke of have the HP 5450 and see what he can do and how he bypasses the Biometrics. He assures me this is a simple process and that he is Man for the Job. So I will let you know when/if and How he breaks it…..

    Diz

  • rbright December 22, 2002, 9:20 pm

    I see the opening page now has comments by Judie or Chris or someone from 12/22/02.

    They are simply a small sampling and reiteration of the hundreds and hundreds of posting at brighthand completely trashing the Ipaq 5450/5455.

    Thank God for early adopters with review sites. Saved me tons of money, and saved me $700 just last week.

    Skip the 5450/5455 completely. Force HP to fix the HUNDREDS of errors and problems before pluking down a single dime for this current piece of trash.

    Thanks for this site to help inform me and others.

  • Frito Bandito December 23, 2002, 2:18 am

    Are you talking about the comments under “Judie’s Gear Diary”? If so, then wouldn’t it make sense that they were made by her? Why would you think that someone named Chris made them?

    The 5455 sounds like a dud. I am glad Julie and Judie told us that before I plunked down any money.

  • rbright December 23, 2002, 4:06 am

    Originally posted by Frito Bandito
    [B]Are you talking about the comments under “Judie’s Gear Diary”? If so, then wouldn’t it make sense that they were made by her? Why would you think that someone named Chris made them?

    The 5455 sounds like a dud. I am glad Julie and Judie told us that before I plunked down any money. [/B]

    Fact is, they were made by someone…. and Way way after all the walls came crashing in from the hundreds of postings on brighthand. It was good to see that she agreed with everything that everyone else has already been saying about the 5450/5455 for the past 2 weeks or more.

    Consensus all the way around. This is a DUD. AVOID it like that plaque.

  • ExtremeSIMS December 27, 2002, 8:33 am

    I am back in the Pocket PC camp after smashing the screen on my Zaurus. My lovely wife told me to get a replacement ASAP since I live on my PDA, so after some thought, went with the Toshiba e740. She did mutter something about Manolo Blahniks….

    In any case, I was debating the 5455 as well – it’s similar to the Toshiba in many ways. I do like the transreflective screen, but the form factor and style of the Toshiba – plus the CF – won out. I had a bad history with iPaqs, as well, and that had an impact on my decision.

    Glad I went with my choice. Besides, the Toshiba’s case goes so well with my Ti Powerbook.

    Speaking of which – PocketMac works pretty well!

  • eichin December 31, 2002, 9:01 pm

    google for

    gummi bear fingerprint

    “Matsumoto tried these attacks against eleven commercially available fingerprint biometric systems, and was able to reliably fool all of them.” reliably seems to be 80% of attempts. Even Bruce Schneier was impressed.

    and note this involves lifting latent fingerprints, *not* merely working with a cooperative subject… It was back-to-the-drawing-board news back in may 2002; makes you wonder why a new device even bothered…

  • Dizzy Devil January 12, 2003, 7:05 pm

    Well after loaning the 5450 to our Security people for 2 days the response I got back from them is that they could not hack through the Scanner but could the Pin if it was set to either Or. I think he was acutally impressed with the Scanner. As far as other testing goes. The only problem we have encountered so far is the Battery life is low when using either WiFi or Bluetooth which we figured was going to happen. I let you know how things progress.

    I wouldn’t Plunk down a lot of Money for them. I still think they have a lot of bugs and I hope HP fixes them.

    Diz 🙂

  • rbright January 13, 2003, 1:10 am

    This and many other user groups have documented well over 100 bugs in the 5450/5455. Some very severe, some very minor.

    Still way way too many for a new HP product. There will probably be a HUGE refurb sale very soon on these at the HP site, as so many people are returning them.

    I can’t imagine anyone just living with the bugs at this price.

  • TMAN January 13, 2003, 3:44 am

    I am happy to say that I got my $689.99 credit from ecost.com last week. I am now happily using my upgraded 3970.

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