Samsung's new YP-P2 follows the South Korean manufacturer's excellent YP-T9, which scored 8.3 in our gruelling tests. Like the T9, the P2 comes equipped with stereo Bluetooth, video capabilities and a stylish design. However, it enters the market with Apple's iPod Touch and the innovative 3rd-generation iPod Nano -- tough competitors on all levels.
The YP-P2 comes in 4GB -- which we review here -- and 8GB capacities, costing AU$299 and AU$369 respectively. With these aggressive prices, not to mention Bluetooth, has the P2 got the guts to take on the dominant iPods and win?
Admit it: the YP-P2 looks a lot like the iPod Touch. The P2's large 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen takes up almost all of the player's face. Below, there's a small circular function LED light. Unlike the touch however, physical volume controls sit on the right hand side of the device while play/pause and hold controls sit on the left. A proprietary USB socket lives at the bottom next to a 3.5mm headphone socket.
For a small flash-based player it's surprisingly weighty at 85 grams, but the result is a very solid-feeling device. It's still notably lighter than the touch which, with its massive glass screen, weighs a chunky 120 grams. Still, the P2 is a lovely player to hold. The only downside to the large glossy touchscreen is its ability to retain mucky fingerprints, which stick like glue.
The small microphone underneath the player currently doesn't have a function. Samsung told us a firmware upgrade in the future will add functionality that lets you answer calls through the P2 when it's paired with a compatible mobile phone.
Features The YP-P2 plays just MP3 and WMA -- protected and unprotected. There's no AAC, no lossless WMA and not even WAV support. It's not surprising then that there's no love shown for FLAC, the lossless format that costs nothing to implement in a player. The lack of AAC support means DRM-free songs from the iTunes Plus music store aren't compatible and audiobooks from Audible are also not supported.
MPEG-4 and WMV video is supported, as well as JPEG photos. A zoom control lets you zoom into images and sweeping gestures let you navigate the enlarged image. You can also choose to view you photos with a slideshow and use them as backdrops to the player's menus.
A gesture-based navigation system makes browsing the P2 quite refreshing. The main menu, for example, requires you 'stroke' the screen up and down in order to navigate through the stylishly animated menu. Similarly, when browsing a list of artists, fast scrolling is possible by 'throwing' the list in the direction you want to travel. It's similar to the same feature in the iPhone and iPod Touch, though the slightest delay makes the process less fluid on the P2.
Context menus give access to a bunch of useful options within the P2's various function screens. Although built-in stereo Bluetooth allows, say, joggers and gym fanatics to use wireless earphones, a jogger will have a hard time navigation menus blindly, thanks to the lack of physical navigational buttons.
Finally, a clock, text viewer and calender feature alongside an FM radio. The text viewer will display your .txt files and thankfully, it'll preserve formatting, so brief reading sessions aren't out of the question on the high-resolution screen.
Browsing the P2 is really easy and instantly comfortable, even if you're used to an iPod. After switching off the hideously irritating menu sound effects, we plunged into some music. Sound quality is generally pretty decent. First up for testing was Tarantula by Pendulum, a powerful drum 'n' bass track from the Australians. Pendulum's wonderfully distorted bass was as driven and heavy as it should be. Ambient sound effects in the background were clearly audible and free of any interference.
GlÃ³sÃ³li by Sigur RÃ³s, the dream-like track full of ethereal ambiance and regimented stomping, was reproduced wonderfully. Very few people will take issue with the P2's performance, other than the fact that it doesn't support lossless audio -- a big disappointment for anyone who likes to plug their players into a Hi-Fi.
Although viewing angles are quite poor, video playback is generally impressive on the 16:9-format screen. High-quality movies are bright, crisp and exceptionally smooth. None of our usual test library of video files would play, some of which use typical video podcast resolutions. Samsung's Media Studio software will convert clips, very slowly, to .SVI format, but the results aren't impressive.
Quite nice is the integration of RSS subscriptions. Although you need to use Samsung's functional, if clunky, media manager, you can subscribe to RSS feeds and have their content automatically downloaded to your machine. It's not as seamless as the podcast support in iTunes, but it's good enough.
If you're planning on using Bluetooth earphones, you'll be pleased to hear it's a simple process to set up. The P2 supports A2DP stereo Bluetooth, so sound quality through some decent wireless earphones will be top notch.
Despite trying to be the iPod Touch and failing somewhat, Samsung has produced a solid new player. It's stylish, easy to use and distinctly affordable. We were disappointed with the number of audio formats supported, and very sad not to see support for lossless audio. The P2's massive screen makes video the killer app. The only problem is that video playback can be a pain due to the restrictive number of formats and resolutions the player supports.
All in all, the YP-P2 is capable and affordable, but hindered by some annoying software restrictions. If you're looking for an affordable and great looking player, consider the P2. But if you want a polished and sophisticated video experience, you may want to shell a few more quid and plump for the model the P2 is so obviously styled after, the iPod Touch.