Slim MP3 player with touch-sensitive buttons
- Slim, touch-sensitive controls, lots of features
- Interface can be sluggish, missing voice recorder
Another impressive portable media player, the Samsung YP-S3 suffers from a sluggish interface but is otherwise a good unit that offers a bevy of features in a slim package.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Samsung’s YP-S3 is a small, flash-based portable media player. It follows the trend of past Samsung units, offering a good alternative to the dominant player from you-know-who. Its feature set is relatively robust, although it does lack voice recording. The interface is attractive but it is quite sluggish, which may irritate some users.
Users who are at all familiar with the iPod nano will be at home with the S3’s design. The slim, candybar shape with the screen at the top is simple but effective. It is thin and light enough to slip comfortably into a pocket. It still feels quite sturdy, and the lack of shiny metal means fingerprints aren’t a problem.
While not quite as cool as Apple’s famous touch wheel, the control system is nonetheless pretty funky. The S3 uses touch-sensitive buttons. When powered-up the buttons illuminate nicely, but they’re hidden when the unit is off, giving the player a very minimalist look. We found the tactility of the buttons to be extremely good; even those with large hands shouldn’t have any trouble navigating the interface.
However, that isn’t to say the process will be speedy. The key issue we had with this player was that interface was fairly sluggish. It didn’t experience dramatic slowdown, but there was a noticeable lag between tapping a button and getting a response — sometimes in the neighbourhood of half a second.
Apart from this issue the menu is fairly good. It is well laid out and intuitive; novice users should have no trouble finding their way around. The songs are sorted nicely, too; when you access your music via artist songs are sub-sorted by album, which doesn’t happen on every player.
A nice array of features is included. There is a picture viewer and an FM radio, as well as a handful of games and PIM functions. We were a little disappointed by the lack of voice recording, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Video playback is also present, of course, and it is relatively satisfying. The 1.8in TFT screen is a little on the small side for any serious video watching, but it is bright and vibrant with a clear image and no noise to speak of. It’s fine for the occasional video clip or TV episode, but the glossy covering does suffer from glare under bright lights.
Playlists are supported and there are a variety of loop and shuffle modes on offer. A five band master equaliser is included and Samsung’s DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine) also makes a showing. It certainly makes the audio richer but it also adds a slightly digital tone that we weren’t particularly fond of.
Sound quality was good without being outstanding. Everything was relatively well balanced and quite detailed, but possibly not as rich as we’d like. The included earbuds are pretty decent, but as usual we tested with a high quality pair of IEMs and definitely recommend an upgrade if your budget allows.
Music files can be dragged and dropped via your PC, but videos have to be run through the included software before being uploaded. It supports a fairly small number of file formats — MP3, OGG and WMA.
The S3 comes in several varieties and has an optional cradle attachment that also doubles as a speaker system, but this isn’t included in the retail box.
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