Of more use are the 13 pre-set DNSe 3.0 (Digital Natural Sound engine) equaliser settings that include Café and Church alongside the more usual Jazz, Rock, Pop etc. If you like to tinker, you can also set and save three personal sound profiles. If you want to spend your time listening to your music rather than messing with menus, you can set the thing to Auto and have done.
Sleek and svelte
Switching Street Mode and Upscaler off and setting the DNSe to Auto, we ran through several of our current favourite albums. At the end of it all, we don't have a bad word to say about the Q1's music reproduction. Bass was solid, stereo separation excellent, and the sense of space and definition without fault. OK, there was no way we could find of making the gaps between the tracks in Otello vanish, but if you want gapless album playback you've probably already bought an iPod.
Video playback is above par for what is essentially a music-orientated player with a 320 x 240 screen. We watched an hour-long BBC Four documentary about Russian conductor Valery Gergiev – downloaded as a DRM-protected WMV file from iPlayer – without any problems. Video playback was smooth, colourful and well defined, while the sound – which included large chunks of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring - was full and balanced.
Samsung claims a full charge is good for 30 hours of music playback or four of video. We found both those numbers a little optimistic, only managing 26 and three-and-a-quarter, respectively.
Since Samsung doesn't issue RRP's we took a quick look on the net and found the 4GB player for a reasonable £50, the 8GB for £70 and the 16GB for £100. Good value in a world were Apple wants £109 for an 8GB iPod Nano.
The Q1 continues the Samsung tradition of turning out MP3 players that produce a really top-notch sound. This really is one of the best-sounding players about, at least once you've bought a decent pair of earphones. Unfortunately, far too much attention has been given to appearance and aesthetics and not enough to the mundane matter of functionality. The Q1 looks lovely but can be a bit of a pain to use on a day-to-day basis.
More MP3 players...
Sony Walkman E
Creative Zen Mosaic
Samsung Q1 music and video player
Decent enough, but...
...proprietary cable connectors is something that seriously needs discouraging.
You see I have a dream - how nice would it be to just reach into your box-o-cables and pull out any old mini-USB cable to charge and xfer music with ANY device.
I indeed have a few devices like that, and I will now avoid any such device with proprietary cables as its just likely to go missing and render the unit non-updateable, and possibly, unchargeable!
Your typical suitable resolve to this problem would be a removable memory card. Just whip the card out into your '5-million in 1 card reader', but . . . oh . . . this unit doesn't have that option either.
Either than that, this device does not stand out above the crowd, especially with its usage difficulties as described.
Boo hiss to Samsung.
Non-standard USB port, bogus video file format, don't they ever learn? Add zero feedback user controls and I think I'll be looking someplace else for my next player.