Basic file access is accomplished by touching one of 16 icons that can be spread about over three pages – you can apparently add another two pages, should the need arise, though we suspect it won't - while a selection of widgets can also be added to provide cutesy animated graphics such as a butterfly flying across the desktop, along with direct access to certain lesser functions, including screen brightness, text notes, and a selection of digital and analogue clocks.
Hold and volume controls on top...
Sadly, the capacitive screen is no more responsive than that it was on the P2, resulting in a lot of frustration when screen taps result in either nothing happening – despite the relevant icon flashing and the haptics buzzing – or the wrong thing happening. The last is a particularly common occurrence when you tap an icon at the edge of the desktop screen – often as not, rather than launch that icon, the P3 moves you to the 'next' desktop page.
Rather strangely, the UI's accuracy and responsiveness seem to improve dramatically as you drill down to actual media management, providing you're careful with your finger taps and drags. It's still a rather poor effort, though, and we say that using Cowon's S9 as the benchmark. You can't even begin to compare it to the touchscreen UI on the iPod Touch.
While those widgets may be all well and good, they are ultimately peripheral to the job in hand and moving/adding/deleting them – or moving the icons - is a rather slow and cumbersome task when compared to doing the same thing on an Android device like the T-Mobile G1. The bottom line is that we would gladly sacrifice all that glitz and secondary functionality in favour of more error-free access to our media files.
The failings of its UI aside, the P3's menu and command structure is well thought out. A quick tap at the top of the screen in any situation brings up a task bar that will let you navigate directly back to the desktop, adjust the screen brightness, open the Bluetooth control panel and adjust the speaker settings. A tap to the right will bring up the volume control while a tap any place else opens the navigation and status bars, the latter also showing the battery status and time.
...and, at the bottom, 3.5mm audio and Samsung's take on USB
Format and codec support is the strongest of any Samsung media player to date. The P3 will happily play MP3, AAC, WMA, Flac and Ogg audio files, along with H.264, WMV and AVI – DivX/Xvid – video files.