How It Looks:
From the top down, the iAudio 5 is loaded with external controls to help make the most of using it. On the top are two mini jack holes, one for headphones and the other for in-line recordings. Also positioned here is a small slot, presumably for inserting the included neck strap so that you can wear the player like a pendant. Taking center stage on the front is the four line graphic LCD. While it presents a great viewing space for all of the necessary information, it can also smudge very easily so it is a good idea to keep it in the provided clear protective case.
Other controls on the right side include a mode button for switching between different functions like MP3 player and FM radio, a record button and a hold switch to lock the iAudio player so your favorite tune doesnt get disturbed while you do your thing (see previous paragraph for comments on dual push dials).
Finally, on the bottom are small compartments which hold your battery and allow you to plug a USB cable into the player.
How Well It Functions:
For such a small player, the iAudio 5 packs enough features to make it virtually feel several pounds heavier. In the basics department, music file formats of the MP3, WMA and OCG types are supported. The last one is an added treat OCG is a lesser known format, but one well regarded for its superior audio quality.
Besides acting as a digital audio player, Cowons iAudio 5 also offers up a FM radio for your entertainment. 24 presets are available to lock in your favorite stations and you can also record your favorite radio broadcasts as either MP3 or WAV files.
The iAudio 5s two other main functions have to do with recording. A voice recording option is built in, as is the ability to directly record audio files from a third party source (i.e. CD player) via a cable which you connect between the two devices.
FM playback was crisp and clear. Voice recording was good as well. Line in recording, on the other hand, was not as clean. The MP3 which was recorded was a little flat, lacking the same depth and quality heard during playback of music files transferred from a computer.
Controlling these functions, and the additional features that supports them, comes down to the variety of on screen menus which are viewable through the iAudio 5s LCD. And there are a lot of menus, believe me. Its somewhat tricky at first to figure out how to navigate them all to find what you want, but the flip side is that the degree of customizable control is great.