2GB MP3 player head-to-head
Samsung's YP-U4 vs Sony's NWZ-B135F
Review The relentless march of the iPod into the price bracket known as 'Good God! How much?' makes the near simultaneous release by Sony and Samsung of the new runts of their MP3 player litters more interesting than would otherwise be the case. A couple of 2GB USB stick-style MP3 players with FM radios and screens each for under £40? Can't be bad... or can it?
Sony's NWZ-B135F: haphazard control layout
Of course, the two ranges don't exactly match. The Sony B series is available with either 1GB or 2GB of storage and comes with or without an FM radio – that's what the 'F' after the number signifies - no F, no radio – while the Samsung U4 comes in either 2GB or 4GB versions and always has an FM tuner.
Both devices resemble overweight USB memory sticks and are near enough identical is size and weight. The Samsung weighs 27.5g and measures up at 83 x 27 x 13mm, while the Sony is a little longer, narrower and thicker, at 89.5 x 25 x 15mm. At 29g, it's just a tad heavier. All of them have a 3.5mm earphone jacks at one end, a USB port at the other and feel solid despite there not being a piece of metal in sight.
Visually, the Samsung is the more funky of the two, especially when the tail-end LED light show is on. The Sammy's solid navigation pressure pad looks better than it works, however - as with its Q1 player we found ourselves hitting the wrong button more often than we would have liked when navigating around the menus.
Samsung's YP-U4: visually funky
The Sony's more conventional controls are scattered about somewhat haphazardly but it has a handy standalone volume control on the side so you can adjust the sound level without taking the gadget out of your pocket. At the end of the day, neither device is as easy, or as logical, to use as SanSisk's Sansa Clip.
I use a Creative Zen and ran into the Linux - MTP dubious friendship thing a few years back, since then Amarok (KDE App, should be available for your distro) has added full MTP support and is by far the best app that I have found for transfering to MTP / USB / Ipods
go for one of the 1.4 versions as they are currently working on 2.x and media transfers are supposed to be a bit cagy
SD memory based MP3 players
What happened to the MP3 players that used SD cards as their memory? I bought one from Micro Direct about four years ago for just £15. Now that you can get a 2GB card for under a fiver you can easily do this on the cheap. My player also had a little LCD to show the track name.
What is it with El-Reg these days, taken over by cheapskate chavs? The Sony is a better sounding player, and costs a few quid more. Sound quality is a primary factor, so why did the Samsung win out? Because it's cheap tat.
If you want quality, you have to pay for it. I for one don't buy TV's from supermarkets, I certainly wouldn't touch a Xbox either as that's also cheap tat.
So what happened to all the large capacity players?
Most of the old HDD iPods have been shelved and everyone else seems to be flooding the market with 2-4GB models.
What's the best modern player for the music lover that wants to carry their entire (50GB+) collection with them?
(Extra points for it not being apple, as the latest generations of apple stuff are not Linux friendly)
More on Linux compatibility
Just because a device might be MTP and not Mass Storage doesn't necessarily mean it's not compatible with Linux. Case in point, my Creative Zen X-Fi works a treat with "gnomad2" using libmtp. This could be something you folks at El Reg could include in your tests.