Samsung YP-S3 reviews

The Samsung YP-S3 takes its style cues from its good-looking big brothers, Samsung's YP-T10 and YP-P2. The slim, cell-phone-esque design is sure to appeal to fashionable folks who aren't tied to iTunes. And what's better, for only $100, you get 4GB of flash memory. The S3 doesn't offer great video performance and may not be a breakthrough product, but it's certainly a solid one,1425,i=215681,00.jpg

Truly tiny, the S3 weighs under 2 ounces and measure 1.7 by 3.7 by 0.4 inches, with a 1.8-inch 240-by-320-pixel display. The controls on the front of the player are backlit, touch-sensitive buttons that seem to disappear when not in use, an effect that Samsung has used before on some players but that's particularly cool here. The typical navigation arrows and Play/Pause/Enter button are complemented by a control that takes you back to the previous menu and the extra features button for various options, depending upon the menu you're navigating.
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The S3 comes in five fun colors—green, red, blue, black, and white. There's a side switch for Power and Hold functions, a lanyard loop, and a proprietary jack that connects to a USB port for computer syncing. (A cable is included.) The bundled earbuds are low-quality; as always, I recommend an upgrade. Ultimate Ears and Radius both have new, inexpensive higher-quality pairs on the market. My biggest design complaint with this player design is one I've expressed before: Although the touch-sensitive buttons look cool, they don't always respond as quickly as you'd like, and it is easy to overshoot your selection when browsing the menus.

The menu is arranged in typical Samsung style, with animated graphics behind each option: Music, Videos, Pictures, FM radio, Datacasts, Prime Pack, File browser, and Settings. Most of these options are self-explanatory, and the interface organizes everything intuitively, not unlike on an iPod. Datacasts houses your podcasts and audiobooks and the Prime Pack section includes games, a world clock, alarms, and text explanations of functions on the players. In the Settings menu, you'll find tools to change the menu style (each with a different graphics theme), set the EQ, and adjust the display's sleep timer and screen saver, along with other standard adjustment options.

File support is typical for a Samsung player: MP3, WMA (including Lossless), and OGG. Videos must be converted to MPEG-4 using the included software, and video doesn't shine on this tiny screen. The S3 displays only JPEG images, and they're organized in thumbnail arrays in the Pictures section.

I always enjoy tweaking the EQ a bit on Samsung players, and, as stated earlier, I always swap out the earbuds. On a pair of better earphones, the bass sounds a bit fuller, but the S3 lacks the thump, even after EQ adjustments, that Sony Walkman or Cowon players offer.

The FM radio is a piece of cake to operate. The sound quality is great; presets are easy to program; and recording FM audio is simple, too—recording quality can be set to 128, 160, or 192 kilobits per second.

Samsung rates the battery life at 25 hours for audio playback and 4 hours for video. Our audio rundown test yielded a disappointing 13 hours and 36 minutes.

Aside from the smart design and nice price of the Samsung YP-S3, there's not a lot to be blown away by—mainly because the Samsung PMP line's features have remained unchanged for a while now. Shortcomings like occasionally unresponsive controls and weak video support are disappointing, but the overall good looks, top-notch user interface, and value factor cancel them out. For $50 less than a 4GB iPod nano, you get a lot more features and a design that's just as sexy.

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