Why virtualise your NAS environment?
- Attractive design, high quality playback, price
- No Video playback, sensitive touch pad
If high quality audio and fantastic design is your cup of tea, give the Samsung YP-K3 your consideration.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
When it comes to feature-packed MP3 players, the Samsung YP-K3 doesn't compete with some of the high-end units on the market. While it performs brilliantly and can output high fidelity sound, it is no better than any other dedicated MP3 player. It does have a handful of extra features such as text and image viewers, but can only be considered a mid-range player due to its lack of video playback and an inability to browse via folder structure. However, if Apple has taught us anything, it's that features and audio quality are not what sells an MP3 player. Samsung's focus on design is obvious, as the K3 is certainly eye-catching and therefore a strong competitor to the iPod nano (2nd Generation).
The Samsung MP3 player range seems focused on style with curves and lines that make them stand out from the crowd. Samsung seems to understand that people want a player that will pump out excellent sound, but also want to show off their latest toy to their friends. The K3 will certainly achieve this thanks to an ultra thin design, solid build quality and a minimalist button layout. The front of the unit is a gloss black plastic which bares some similarities to the iPod nano. The unit has a 1.8in OLED screen with function and navigation buttons below. When switched off these buttons are not visible but when switched on they become apparent thanks to a series of backlights. The buttons are in a touchpad configuration and are extremely sensitive, so users will need to put the player into "hold" mode when not using the controls.
The Samsung YP-K3 supports playback of MP3 and WMA audio files and JPEG image files. The audio quality was top notch. We were particularly impressed with how clear it sounded with the supplied headphones. Many MP3 players are shipped with sub-standard headphones but the ones on the K3 are excellent. They were a little lacking in bass but the clear high treble registers and rich mid-tones made up for this. The volume level was more than adequate and even at its highest level, we found no distortion.
The YP-K3 comes with the Samsung Media Studio software, used to transfer files to and from the K3, as well as burn CDs of your music and create playlists. This software is slick, easy to use and best of all, not required (unlike iTunes). Using the software to transfer your music allows you to sort via ID3 tags into numerous categories including artist, album, genre and also to create custom play lists. However, you also have the option to drag and drop the folder structure of your PC hard drive directly onto the device.
Thankfully, the K3 still sorts the files using the ID3 tags, even if you decide not to use the Samsung software. This creates great versatility for the device, and allows those that detest ID3 sorting some room to move. We particularly liked way the YP-T9 sorts music by either the ID3 tag categories or via the folder structure on the unit. Unfortunately, it doesn't give the user the option to navigate the file structure but since the ID3 tags are sorted no matter how you transfer your files, this is more an inconvenience than a problem.
The K3 also has an FM Radio and it had a little trouble holding a stereo signal without drop outs. This was during a 45 minute journey from Sydneys Inner West and the Northern Suburbs. This issue may not apply to all users, but it is worth noting, especially if the FM Radio feature is important to you.
The picture viewer is a nice feature which works well but we couldn't help but feel taunted at the prospect of video playback. The screen quality and colour reproduction is so good that it is a real shame that you can't play videos on the K3, especially when you consider that the T9, a far smaller unit, has this feature included.The text reader feature allows you to read .txt files on your MP3 player. This seems like a niche feature but it certainly performed as expected.
The YP-K3 won't win any award for ground-breaking features but it is certainly an attractive, easy to use MP3 player and is serious competition for the iPod empire.
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