Just about when Apple announced their new range of iPods being launched, Samsung surprised us with something up their sleeves. To counter Apple's fancy new touch technology device, the iPod touch, Samsung unveiled their Samsung YP-P2 MP3 player which offers the same touch screen technology with a different interface. Being a Samsung product, consumers can be certain that it will arrive in more than one color and still keep that slim form factor which Samsung prides in their design.
Physically, as mentioned, the Samsung P2 MP3 player has a very slim form factor and thus, is a lightweight affair. It weighs approximately 85 grams and touts a huge 3-inch touch screen as it sports a touch screen interface. The player comes in three colors to choose from, namely black, white and wine red in addition to choosing between the appropriate flash memory sizes (2GB, 4GB and 8GB models) needed to suit your audio needs.
The unit that arrived in our lab was the 4GB model adorned in red. Removing the packaging, we found the P2 to be small and can fit any place snuggly with a dimension of 100 by 52 by 9.9 millimeters. The Samsung player did not sport any physical navigation buttons; instead, everything is operated onscreen with the touch technology's interface navigation. However basic controls such as hold, power/play, pause and volume functions are presented with physical buttons on the unit. Consumers can still rely on the touch screen interface to activate the respective functions, but using the physical controls can be quicker. In radio mode however, the power button functions as a mute control by depressing it shortly. Other physical features of the player include a microphone, a 3.5mm audio jack and a proprietary dock for transferring songs to the PC and to recharge the battery of course. At first glances, consumers might mistake the centre LED at the lower part of the player face to act as a "home button" similar to the iPod touch. After testing though, we found that it is nothing but a colorful status indicator.
The Samsung P2 player's touch screen experience is a pleasure as it has a great interface design. Those of you looking for alternatives to Apple's iPod touch should be elated with the player's huge screen that is easy to navigate and use. Additionally there are many default themes and settings which consumers can apply to further customize their view. Nonetheless, in our opinion, the Matrix menu style is the best as every feature is sorted out and represented as icons in a grid on the display. Take note though, it's not the perfect touch screen as its responsiveness wasn't as favorable as its other traits.
Of course the P2 isn't just a simple MP3 player. The media player encased within this cool and lean housing supports MP3 and WMA formats, as well as video playback of MPEG-4 and WMV formats and still-image browsing which was a joy to use with the vibrant image colors and clarity. Not to forget is the all-important FM radio functionality when one needs to catch up on live information of traffic/weather conditions and also when we grow tired of our loaded music collection. A variety of audio presets is at your disposal to spice up your audio tunes such as the common Concert Hall, Club, Dance and many others. For those of us used to having more 'kick' in our music, there is a bass boost feature, and for the rest of us, there is even user customizable equalizer settings.
During our field tests, audio quality of the Samsung P2 player turned out to be clean and crisp while we tried various music genres. There's also a 3D sound feature should you prefer a surround sound effect for your tunes. It's not something that would bode well for everyone or every tune, but it's a nice addition for some of us who do appreciate it when it works positively. We've also tried the microphone recording feature, but we felt that the recordings turned out to be only average.
Samsung's selling feature of the P2 player is the built in A2DP Bluetooth which allows consumers to be able to listen to stereo music wirelessly through Bluetooth 2.0 enabled headphones instead of traditional wired headsets. On the same note, the player can also be paired up with Bluetooth speakers and mobile phones.
A portable media player with touch screen technology, the Samsung YP-P2 is a worthy contender to the iPod touch. Although we do have some reservations about the responsiveness and preciseness of the touch screen, and it being a huge fingerprint magnet (but which device isn't these days?), the P2 is still excellent in its own way. Battery life was good as we were able to use it for audio and video playback for up to 4 days (of standard working hours with more emphasis on audio playback) before it warned us about the low battery. At a going price of S$359 for the 4GB version, it is quite reasonable for a cutting edge portable media player that's easy to use with great audio/video quality and with a good uptime to boot too. Now if only it had an expansion card slot for 'unlimited' storage capacity, it would have been even more irresistible.