/ BLOG / A geeky valentines present

Aside from the obvious, I gave my girlfriend a Samsung YP-K3 MP3 player (2GB model) for this “special” day. There are several reasons I lumped for this particular model; including battery life, size and the fact that it uses OLEDs. It arrived a touch before 10am, next day - which is impressive as I wasn’t expecting it until 1pm. Nice work Amazon.

As for the unit itself, I’m seriously impressed. Visually it’s much nicer than an iPod Nano, and it feels a touch lighter. In the box, it visually looks stunning, like a tiny little monolith, coming in a 2 CD sized cardboard case with the words “for you” inside. Very apt for a valentines gift I thought. Once you get it out of the box though, it’s a different story. The outside is a gloss finish, and after a long day, some how even the slightest finger mark makes it look like an angry 5 year old has gotten hold of it after a rather messy lunch time. On the plus side, it is easy to clean. On inspection it seems quite well built, but the lack of weight has me wondering whether I should’ve gone for the aluminium encased Samsung YP-Z5Q as the girlfriend tend to throw stuff into bag pockets. The little thing does generate a little bit of heat, primarily under the bottom end of the OLED screen, which is just about noticable against the skin, but isn’t going to cook your leg whatsoever.

There are only two things that honestly disappointed me. One was the fact that they didn’t bundle a power adapter. That would’ve totally screwed up the box design though, and the second is that the FM radio is a bit questionable. Now that could be because I’m sat next to a PC and the aerial for this unit must be pretty small. This can be forgiven in my eyes though - especially as I’ve used the FM radio in my iRiver about 5 times, if that.

The interface has been well thought out, although it’s not quite as slick as the as the iPod interface, and I did discover that selecting an artist and then selecting shuffle will only shuffle through that artists songs. The same goes if you select an album. Whilst that is quite cool, it’s not particularly obvious and took a second of being confused for me to work it out. Possibly not something you want to give your Nan then. There are only 2 visualisations on the K3, and both lag behind the actual audio output, which I suspect is due to a slightly underpowered processor. Nothing particularly unusual there for an MP3 player though. The ability to navigate seemlessly was nice as well. The settings menu is pretty minimal, and the fact that the resume setting disables or enables pause to replace stop is an interesting touch. I’m not sure if I like it yet. The final cool thing, which is new to me personally, is that when you disconnect the headphones the song gets paused and the player will then power off after a configurable amount of time.

Overall I absolutely love this device and can’t bear to part with it. It’s even made me realise that I don’t need to carry around my entire music collection - which was becoming somewhat tricky as it now exceeds the storage of my iRiver H320. Samsung are definately on a winning streak, and could be in danger of silently taking over the world. They take the best bits from all the available competitors items, and do them well, and then throw in something cool. In this instance its the OLEDs. In the instance of their TFTs it’s their amazing clarity and value, which carries across to their larger cousins, the LCD TV.