Unfortunately, no matter how we jiggled with the Samsung, the sound we got was just a little too confined and brittle for our liking. The Sony really wasn't a whole lot better, but the basic sound it produced was more natural and the bass boost gave everything a warmth and thump which will keep less demanding listeners happy.
Both Sony and Samsung claim 16 hours of playback from a full battery charge. Our Sony died after 14 hours - the Samsung lasting 30 minutes longer. The Sony does, however, come with a “Quick Charge” facility with three minutes of recharging being good for 90 minutes of playback, a claim we found to be right on the money. By comparison, a three-minute charge of the Samsung gave us just over 45 minutes' playback.
Sony doesn't supply any software with the B series and nor did the gadget work with the handy iTunes-compatible Content Transfer application that we still had kicking around from our E- and S-series Walkman tests. Samsung bundles a cut-down media manager with the U4 which, if not as good as the EmoDio rig the Q1 comes with still does the job.
Buy direct from Sony and the B135F will set you back £39, though you should be able to get it for less from resellers. Shop around and you will find the 2GB Samsung for around the £30 mark. Of course, the fly in both Sony and Samsung's ointment is the Sansa Clip - for around the same price, it's smaller, comes with Flac support, sounds better and has a better screen. In the US, the Clip is also now available with 8GB of storage which gives it yet another advantage - assuming that variant ever makes it to the UK and the price is not prohibitive.
A tough call. The Sony sounds the better of the two players and is easier to control, but is more expensive and comes with less storage. The Samsung has by far the better screen, plays Ogg files and is the more visually attractive. So it's the Samsung, then, by a head because you get more for less. ®
More MP3 Player Reviews...
2GB MP3 player head-to-head
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.