Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Samsung YP-S2 (Pebble)
Cute and glossy entry-level MP3 player
- Tiny, cute design, easy to use
- No LCD screen, simple feature set
Samsung's YP-S2 Pebble MP3 player is a unit for those after something basic. It does a good job with music playback and it looks stylish, but it lacks the features of its more expensive counterparts.
Following in the footsteps of Creative's successful Zen Stone player, another rock-like device has just joined the portable music player space. Samsung's YP-S2, dubbed the Pebble, is an entry-level, flash-based music player that keeps things nice and simple. It lacks any kind of complicated features and has no LCD display, but for users after a cheap, simple device as a backup or even as their main player the Pebble is an attractive option.
As with the iPod shuffle, this unit is a no frills and no fuss device. If you're after fancy EQ settings, FM radios and so on then you need to look elsewhere. This unit simply has a play/pause button, track skip and volume keys, as well as a single smart function key to alter the play mode. It does have shuffle and loop modes and supports playlists made on the device itself, but they can be fiddly to make at the best of times.
The only other feature of note is DNSe 2.0, which stands for Digital Natural Sound engine. This acts as a kind of all-purpose equaliser. It made the sound a touch richer and extends the bass a little more, but like most digital enhancements it also made things sound more synthetic and some audio purists will probably prefer it switched off.
Even without DNSe running the sound quality is pretty good. Bass extends nicely and there is a good amount of detail in the mid and high ranges. The unit supports a fairly basic array of file formats — just OGG, WMA and MP3 — but it's easy to add files by just dragging and dropping them when the Pebble is connected to a computer.
The controls are tactile and responsive and should prove easy to use even for complete novices. The whole device appears to be designed with simplicity in mind.
Aesthetically, the Pebble fits its name nicely. It's a small, circular shaped device that when flipped over could be mistaken for a rock (albeit a glossy black one). The cute design should appeal to fashion-conscious buyers, but the glossy finish does suffer the age-old problem of attracting fingerprints. Because it has no LCD it is a little difficult to find specific tracks, but this isn't a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination.
The headphones double as a lanyard, so you can hang the Pebble around your neck. The included headphones themselves are pretty good considering the cost of the overall package; they won't satisfy audiophiles but they're certainly better than run-of-the-mill ear buds.
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