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Samsung YP-Z5 MP3 player

Can it size up to Apple's iPod Nano?

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First UK Review There's no doubt Samsung has its eye on the hugely popular iPod Nano, and the YP-Z5 is its boldest attempt to woo consumers away from the Apple product. The Z5 is roughly the same size as a Nano; has a similar storage capacity and feature list; has a cool, visually stylish user interface; and even comes an a comparably sized box. Yes, you can buy it black, too...

samsung yp-z5 mp3 player

Face-on you'd say the Z5 and the Nano are the same size. In fact, the Nano's narrower, but only by a couple of millimetres. They share the same height, but the Z5 looks and - crucially - feels a lot thicker. It's not quite twice as thick as a Nano, but it's not far off. It's also heavier: 58g to 42.5g.

There's a benefit to the greater thickness and weight - the Z5 feels more robust, and Samsung claims its player offers a much longer battery life: 35 hours to the Nano's 14 - and it's not so chunky as to feel uncomfortable.

The Z5 I tested - the YP-Z5QB variant, kindly supplied by Advanced MP3 Players - is kitted out in a silky black plastic that doesn't so much prevent the scratches so visible on a well-thumbed Nano but make them harder to spot. Fingerprints are no less obvious. Around the sides is a thick shiny metal band that extends out beyond on the plastic to give the device a busier look than the iPod's simpler, less cluttered lines do. The right-hand side has a volume rocker switch; the headphone socket is on the top, next to the Hold slider and a "neck strong hole"; on the base, there's a recessed reset button and a docking connector, though no cradle is supplied in the box. Taking its cue from Apple, Samsung limits the bundled accessories to black earphones and a USB-to-dock cable, sufficient to charge the unit's battery.

Like the Nano, the Z5 presents you with a colour screen and a control array. The display is a 1.82in, 128 x 160 job. It looks like the kind of thing you'd see on a mobile phone, but it's no less welcome for that. The screen is not only larger than the Nano's 1.5in, landscape-orientated display but also brighter too. The greater space allows for larger, easier to read text, and bigger photo and album art. That said, there's nothing the larger display does that the smaller one can't or doesn't. It's a shame Samsung didn't equip the Z5 with some other apps to make use of it, such as the PDA-style tools found on the Nano.

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