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8.5 hours battery life is pathetic on a $2,000 portable player. And this is stated life, in reality you will get even shorter battery spin. It will also degrade with time, meaning you will be lucky to get just few hours of play time after using this device for 6 months.
Notice how this vital info is not mentioned anywhere in the description of this drop.
Exactly what are you basing this on? Battery life for DAP is a primarily a function between power delivery and battery capacity (which affects size as well). Increase power delivery at any given capacity and you decrease run time. This puts out 2.1 Vrms on the SE and 4Vrms on the balanced. Those "other" unnamed players who you cite that have more runtime will more than likely put out significantly less voltage to accomplish that longer run time.
I have a KANN Cube with the same DAC chip (2x), it is physically bigger than this player and puts out the same voltage in low gain. It has the same battery life rating and in my experience, the same real world performance. Please cite examples that are similar in design/output that don't have "pathetic" battery life.
Batteries also have significantly different ratings for charge cycles. Most are in the 300-600 range and would go way beyond 6 months so you have nothing but complete speculation on this point. Cowon has been at this game longer than most and my J3 from a decade ago still provides useful battery life.
See how none of these vital points are included in your post.
If you're playing higher bitrate files, battery life will be lower due to higher processor requirements. DSD especially runs through battery life quickly on any DAP. Screen use, volume levels and headphone impedance can also affect overall battery life.
So yes, if you recreate testing conditions, you could get the stated run time, but real life usage can often result in much less time.
I think that the Kann Cube is a much wiser use of funds than the L. Plain and simple....
For my purposes it is (wide variety of headphones with planars included) but it wouldn't be my first choice for very low impedance super sensitive BA IEMs. SE out this would probably be the better option, balanced they have the dame OI.
I now disagree with my earlier post. This is a better dap than the Kann cube. The m15 is also better than the cube also..