Samsung YP-P2 personal media player
iPod Touch beater?
Review Believe it or not, 'yepp peetoo' is Samsung's preferred pronunciation of the name of their new media player. Thankfully a coterie of Yepp Girls were on hand at the launch of the peetoo a month or so back and they had such lovely thighs, sorry, smiles, that we instantly forgave Samsung its assault on the English language.
Samsung's YP-P2: it's all about the 'stroke'
Essentially, the P2 is the big brother to Samsung's T10, recently reviewed here, but is aimed at those whose mobile media consumption is more video-centric.
Measuring 100 x 52 x 9.9mm and weighing 85g, the P2 occupies something of a no-man's land between smaller and lighter Flash-bases players with a similar memory capacity - the T10, the iPod Nano and the like - and larger, heavier hard drive-based players with much larger memory capacities, such as the iPod Classic and Creative Zen Vision W. From a purely media playback frame of reference, the iPod Touch is one possible benchmark though as only the lowliest of the Touch range shares a common memory size with the highest in the P2 hierarchy and has a higher basic spec that's a comparison bound to flatter the Granny Smith until price is factored in.
Basic functionality is pretty much as per the T10, so you get a non-RDS FM radio, A2DP Bluetooth stereo, a voice recorder, world clock, an alarm - though without an external speaker we are n't sure how much use that will prove - and support for WMV, JPEG, MP3, WMA, Ogg and text files. Strangely enough, it lacks the T10's ability to vary audio playback speed, so anyone planning on using their P2 to help study a new language should take note.
Dominating the front of the P2 is a 3in, 272 x 480 LCD screen that acts as both playback screen and the main control device. Yes, with the P2 we are most definitely not in Kansas but firmly in the realm of iPhone-esque touchscreenery. For the eagle eyed among you, who've spotted the LED below the screen, it's just to tell you when the player's battery is fully charged.
External controls are limited to a power on/play/hold button on the lower left side and a volume control in the same place on the right. The volume control seems to have been deliberately placed so as to be preposterously hard to use one-handed unless you are blessed with the super prehensile thumb of an orangutan. The same control is on the upper right-hand side on the T10, exactly where it should be.
Again as per the T10, the bottom of the P2 is home to a 3.5mm headphones jack and a Samsung combo USB/power port. Charging out of the box is via the supplied USB cable, for mains charging you need a Samsung phone charger.
Tap into America
Once lit up and rocking, all other controls are activated by the touch screen. Basic menu commands are achieved by tapping once to select and then holding to activate/open. The nine main command icons can either be laid out in a work-a-day 3 x 3 grid, zoomed in and out with a swipe of the screen in the animated 'cosmos' setting, or placed at the bottom of the screen in a row of three icons placed below an image of your choice. A finger-swipe across the screen brings forth the next three icons into view. Mucking about with the menus is a good way to get to grips with the whole 'tap' and 'swipe up/left/right' idea on which the P2's UI is based.
Samsung usea the phrase "horizontal stroke" but that just sounds wrong to our ears...
Once the player is playing something, the available screen commands change in accordance with what that something happens to be.
If you're listening to music then tap the upper third of the screen and you change the graphic display. Swipe to the left on the middle third of the screen and you move to the next track - swipe right for the previous track. That seems back to front to us. Swipe left or right on the lower third and you fast forward or re-wind through the track.
Touch the screen on the far right and a horizontal volume control bar appears. However, it's so narrow that using it to adjust the volume is a very hit and miss affair not least because half the time when you try to adjust the volume something else happens altogether. The inclusion of the hard volume controls seems to us tacit admission that the touch screen volume control is a bit half baked. When looking at an album track listing with more than eight tracks a similar bar appears to let you scroll up and down, for whatever reason this seems to work far more smoothly than the volume control. Our guess is that in the former mode the screen is just trying give you too many options for something that size.
The presence of Samsung's second-generation Digital Natural Sound engine (DNSe2) means that audio playback is once again among the very best we've come across on an MP3 player. A thoughtful touch is the presence of a soft key below the Now Playing screen that allows you to cycle through the players various EQ settings, either pre-set or your own custom job, in real time while the track is playing. The P2 also allows you to set up five playlists from your music library and comes with the Clarity and Street Mode sound-level filters we noted on the T10.
Video playback puts the screen automatically in landscape form. The P2's 3in screen is ideal for 16:9 playback and is just as clear and bright as its sibling's. In video mode, the screen swipe can be set to either take you to the next or previous video, move back or forward by either ten, 30 or 60 seconds, or search at x2, x4 or x8 normal speed.
When you're viewing pictures, the touch screen allows you move from landscape to portrait, to pan around the image if you have zoomed in on it and set up a variable speed slideshow.
At all times, a tap on the screen will bring up a set of basic menu icons allowing you to either move back to the previous screen or bring up a a specific in-activity menu. Much of the time these options are also available via two soft buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Power consumption proved pretty impressive for a player with a screen of this size, constant video playback only draining the battery after more than 4 hours 20 minutes of continuous use - Samsung claims five hours. Left repeating music content the player was still going after 30 hours, making Samsung's claim of 35 hours seem credible. As with the T10, time to full charge via the USB cable is around 2.5 hours.
The supplied software package is Samsung's Media Studio 5 which is one of the better manufacturer-supplied media organisation and importing apps we've come across and deserves a pat on the back for being able to import, re-format and transfer to the P2 20 minutes' worth of The Trap Door H.264 video substantially faster than iTunes managed to perform the same task with an iPod. Media files can also be dragged and dropped via Windows Explorer or you can sync and manage your media library using Windows Media Player.
As for drawbacks, one thing struck us straight off the spec sheet: a video-oriented player with a memory of between only 2GB and 8GB? Assuming you only store video what this means is that the 2GB model is good for about 3 hours 45 of content, the 4GB for 7 hours 30, and the 8GB for a little over 15 hours. In our book 2GB is just too little for serious video storage, or even flippant video storage for that matter. The range really should start at 4GB and run to 16, that would also put some blue water between the P2 and the smaller, cheaper T10.
An iPod Touch beater? Not really. With its web browser, wi-fi connectivity and larger screen, the Touch is frankly in another, if more expensive, league, which rather leaves the P2 first in a field of one.
Now where did those Yepp girls get to....
The P2 has all the qualities that impressed us about Samsung's T10 but with a bigger screen and a flash touchscreen UI. But should really come in 4, 8 and 16GB flavours for the same price. As it is, unless you really do intend to watch a lot of video it's a little difficult to justify buying the P2 over it's smaller, cheaper brother.