As the battle for DAP supremacy rages on, companies are working twice as hard to provide consumers with the best features possible. Bring in a formidable audio decoder in the equation, and soon enough, users will take notice and may consider purchasing the said device. One digital audio player that is causing a lot of buzz lately is the Samsung YP-K3 MP3 player - a small yet powerful device that looks set to be Samsung’s new flagship portable media player.
The YP-K3 is the speaker-less version of the YP-K5 and sports a shorter, narrower, and leaner profile compared to its older sibling. Moreover, the K3 can be considered as a modish device with its glossy front, matt plastic back, and simple chrome outline. This will definitely score points for those who want a classy DAP that can match almost any outfit, any time of the day. If the color black does not suit one’s taste, it is definitely good to know that Samsung will also ship the K3 in two more colors: Mojito (lime green) and Bloody Mary (wine red).
The YP-K3 uses a touch-sensitive pad and is integrated to its flat design, eliminating tactile feedback. Its backlit controls consist of the up, down, left, right, back, and menu buttons. The hold and power switch are integrated and is located on the bottom right side of the unit. Sliding it up will put the unit on hold, whereas sliding it down turns the K3 on or off. While having these two functions in one toggle saves a lot of space, one must be careful not to accidentally switch the unit off when all he/she wants to do is to put the unit on hold.
While there were times wherein we accidentally press or over-press the buttons, navigating through the K3 using the touch-sensitive pad was a breeze. The back button was particularly useful - holding the button down immediately takes you to the main menu comprised of music, radio, photo, text, and settings.
The text reader function can read text files without a hitch, but we were a little bit disappointed to find out that it cannot recognize PDF or Word documents. We also found the photo explorer of the K3 to be slow and difficult to scroll through. And, without any options like zoom, viewing photos on the 128 x 160 resolution of the OLED screen can be quite bothersome. However, if there is a function that deserves attention, it's Samsungs YP-K3's ability to become a portable radio. Users can set up to 30 preset stations and the reception was clear and performed well.
Listening to music has never been easier with Samsung's YP-K3. As soon as one plugs the K3 via USB, the PC will instantly recognize it as a removable drive. And even without installing the bundled Samsung software, users can drag and drop audio files (MP3 and WMA formats) into the K3 via Windows Explorer, safely remove the drive, and immediately tune in to his/her tunes.
Audio quality was quite exceptional on the K3 even if we used the supplied headphones. There was a noticeable balance between the highs and the lows, giving various tracks its crispness. If users are not satisfied with the current sound output, there are still various EQ settings (Vocal, Bass Boost, 3D Sound, and Concert Hall) to choose from. And while the settings seem quite limited, they actually performed well without causing tearing at high volumes. It is just too bad though that there's always a fade-in to each track that cannot be switched off, making it quite annoying especially during those live concert or continuous tracks. The intensions are good no doubt, but it should have been a user-defined option.
Samsung did a commendable job for the YP-K3. They were able to create a sleek and stylish product that packs up to 8GB of storage, handy features like a picture viewer, built-in FM radio receiver and useable EQ settings, provides good audio quality, and is very user-friendly with its plug and play functionality. No wonder the Samsung YP-K3 MP3 player became a CES Innovations 2007 Award Honoree.