Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
- Drag and Drop, Folder navigation, Price
- Uninspired design, Average bundled software
The YP-U2 is a basic USB audio player.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Thanks to the iPod, the explosion of MP3 players has hit critical mass. With manufacturers all clamouring for a piece of the pie, the options for the consumer are wide and varied. The objective should be to create a unique and interesting product, either by design or features and offer it at a reasonable price. Samsung has come to market with the YP-U2 and while the 1GB of storage and the price point is welcomed, it may not be enough to lure you away from the competition.
The YP-U2 is about the size of an average USB memory stick and has a monochrome screen on the front. To the right of the screen is a four-way navigation pad with a central menu button. The top of the unit has two multi-purpose buttons, one for recording and menu interaction and the other for play, pause and on/off. The bottom has a small 'hold' toggle, used to lock the player to avoid undue track skipping while it is in your pocket. This minimalist design is fairly standard nowadays and didn't particularly win any favour with our team, while the iPod white colour scheme is quite plain and not exactly innovative. Inside the cover are two neon blue lights which turn on during start up, shut down and any time a button is pressed. The lights quickly become annoying and cannot be turned off.
The player can be attached to a lanyard affixed to the USB cover. The cover feels secure and clicks firmly into place but we were concerned that should the fastening abilities fade over time, users may find themselves walking around with a lanyard and USB cover but no player. The other end of the chassis would have been a much more logical and safe option.
The audio player supports WMA, MP3 and WAV files, all of which work well. It is however a basic device, and thus doesn't incorporate sorting by artist, title or album like the majority of MP3 players, making it less than appealing to those used to their comprehensive digital audio searches. What it offers in replacement is the ability to divide files into folders and navigate that way, which is a nice touch considering many entry level players simply group files in the root directory. Navigating was easy and moving in and out of folders was a breeze.
The quality of the audio is very good and will make listeners with high-end headphones quite happy. However, the supplied earbud headphones were underwhelming, with muffled bass and average mid-tones and treble. Again, since most of these kinds of players don't come bundled with exceptional headphones, we were neither surprised nor disappointed that the YP-U2 followed the trend.
The voice record option creates files in WAV format but the quality is sub-par. The microphone is quite good at cutting out ambient noise but the recorded voice is muffled and sounds distant. The microphone is also too sensitive and picks up the sound of your hands touching the device making it impossible to use as a hand held device.
The FM radio feature performed well in our tests with an adequate number of stations found, delivered in crisp stereo. You can also store preset channels as well and quickly switch between then with the press of a button. However, we were disappointed that recording the radio broadcast to the internal storage was not supported.
Samsung also bundle their proprietary software called Samsung Media Studio with the YP-U2. It provides a hybrid of the functionality of iTunes and Windows Media Player but with less functionality. It's only function is to list all the music files on your computer and transfer them with one click of the button. There is no option to sort via artist, album name or any of the regular features of this kind of software. While the design and layout of the software is attractive, we don't really understand why anyone would need to install it since it isn't needed to transfer files. The YP-U2 supports drag and drop functionality so opening up this program to move files across is pointless.
The YP-U2 comes at a good price for a 1GB USB audio player but it is far from a ground-breaking piece of technology. It may be exactly what you are looking for, but in an already flooded market its lack of innovation leaves it at risk of being overlooked.
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