In April we had the chance to go to the Samsung Spring Fever event and check out some new products being released soon from Samsung. One of the items that struck us as especially unique was the YP-S2 MP3 Player aka the “Pebble.” It was tiny and adorable and definitely female friendly. It would certainly give the Apple iPod Shuffle a run for its money. So because we begged and pleaded to play with one, Samsung was nice enough to send us one to review. So now we get see if the Pebble is really Bam Bam.
Like previous Samsung MP3 players I reviewed, the YP-S2 is no different as it only supports Windows Vista or XP. The YP-S2 comes with a direct connect USB adaptor that you can connect to your computer to charge the device or sync music. The adaptor plugs into the earphone jack while the other end inserts into a USB port on your computer. Upon plugging in the Pebble into my computer, Vista picked it up right away and without any additional installation of software. Even though if I did need to install software a Mini-CD was included with drivers. The CD also included Media Studio which is Samsung’s default media player that makes syncing music to Samsung products as painless as possible. But since I like pain I decided to use Windows Media Player as my default choice. Thankfully that was pretty stress free. The Pebble was recognized rightaway and I was able to drop and drag songs without a problem and it synced very smoothly and supports MP3, WMA, and Ogg files. On an aside I did try using it with my iMac and was surprised that it was picked up. I couldn’t use iTunes with it or drop any MP4 files onto it. But I was able to drop and drag regular MP3s.
Many have tried to go up against the iPod Shuffle, some have succeeded even if it was a small victory, while others perished terribly. However I think the Pebble takes a good shot at giving the Shuffle a run for its money. It’s small, comfortable to travel with and just throw in your pocket. The interface has no LCD screen which is just fine because it’s not meant too and not really needed. On one side of the Pebble is a smooth plastic high gloss shell and when turned over the controls are exposed which are made up of Power, Play/Pause button, Volume Up/Down, Right and Left seek buttons, Smart Button for increased sound quality (DNSe), and a reset hole. There are also different play modes such as Repeat All, Shuffle, and Playlist. You can press the Smart Button at any time during use and any of those modes will start in that exact order. In order to make a playlist you can only do it from the unit. I suggest reading the teeny tiny manual for this help as it could get kind of tricky. However, a child could operate the Pebble, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. The interface was simple and straightforward. Hold down the power button, it will shut off the unit just as if you hold it down again it will turn it on. Make the sound lower or higher or skip to the next song; it is all quite simple. In addition playback will last for about 13hrs. Not too shabby..
The overall design of the Pebble I think is trendier than any passé iPod Shuffle, whose looks are starting to age in the world of MP3 players. The Pebble is adorable to hold and look at. It really is the size of a pebble stone you would find on the beach. The Pebble comes in several different colors including red, black, white, purple, green. It also pulsates LED colors when you play music in shuffle mode. It will rotate through Green, Blue, and Magenta which gives the whole ultra small MP3 player a different flavor.Unfortunately it has a tendancy to show a lot of fingerprints which is a little downside but not a deal breaker. Like any high gloss gadget I always find myself polishing it on my jeans but at least it doesn’t scratch up. Another nice touch is the earphones included which are made to wear as a necklace. The part of it that goes around your neck is a lanyard material and the rest is plastic. The earphones securely insert into the Pebble and there is even a “earphone fixing hole” that keeps the Pebble extra secure from falling off your neck. Only if someone were to really tug on the YP-S2 could it come off and I mean REALLY tug hard.
I was very impressed with the sound quality especially when you press the Smart Button with DNSe (Digital Nature Sound Engine.) I tested it using the included earphones and by utilizing that feature it really improved the overall sound of the bass and the quality of the music. Like I have said repeatedly on this site I am not an earbud fan but I was shockingly surprised by how good the sound quality was through them. When I switched to a pair of high quality Bose headphones there wasn’t any dramatic difference. It truly sounded good with either headset. Also the louder you made the volume, the more the bass was even more enhanced.
I think Samsung has what could be a very successful MP3 player. It competes with the iPod Shuffle price-wise and it has a great design that will appeal to women and teens. We like that can be worn as a necklace safely and that it also puts on neat a lightshow. Really what more could you ask for for $39.99 – and it sounds good too. If you are looking for a great beginner MP3 Player this maybe the one for you. Or if you are a parent then this will certainly make your kid popular at school. Who needs a boring old iPod shuffle anyway…who cares about clipping it on to your jeans when you can wear this one around your neck. The YP-S2 Pebble retails for $39.99 for the 1GB version and there is supposedly a 2GB version that will be available but pricing is not yet available.
The Good: Very women and pre-teen friendly, Easy to use and good sound quality, neat lightshow effects, affordable price.
The Bad: Would truly be an iPod shuffle competitor if it supported iTunes or AAC files.