Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to remember that iPods are not the only MP3 players out there. Yes, it’s true. For the past few days we have been testing out Samsung’s new YP-Q3 MP4 Player. It is essentially a no-frills multimedia player that is super easy to use and add media.
-Samsung YP-Q3 Multimedia Player
-Micro-USB Sync/Charging cable
The YP-Q3 comes in two sleek color schemes: silver on black and pink on white. The default user interface theme complements each of the color schemes. The device is rectangular with a flat face, rounder corners, and tapered back. It’s about as thick as a pencil and shaped similarly to an iPod nano, though slightly wider and thicker. The frame is aluminum and the front and rear faces are plastic. On the bottom of the device is the Micro-USB charger/sync port, a microphone, and a headphone jack. There is no speaker on the Q3. It feels pretty light, weighing under 2 ounces (51 grams). There are 9 buttons: The center OK/Enter button is in the center, around that is four directional buttons that also function as volume up/down and track previous/forward, and around the directional buttons are four other buttons. The four other buttons are power/lock, back, options, and a customizable button. The Q3 does not have touchscreen functionality.
The screen is a 2.2″ color LCD display. It is bright and clear. The resolution is QVGA (320×240), which looks pretty good, but is nothing to write home about. The main caveat we had with the screen is it’s weak viewing angles. From you’re not looking at the screen straight on, the colors get very washed out or distorted.
We described the Q3 as a no-frills multimedia player, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a bunch of great features for a multimedia player. The apps on the home screen are: videos, music, pictures, texts, FM Radio, and voice recorder. There are also icons for now playing, file browser, and settings. It has support for most of the popular file formats including: MP3, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, WMV, SVI(MPEG4), Xvid, JPG, and TXT. The battery can get up to 45 hours of music playback and 6 hours of video playback. The device has 8gb of internal flash storage, which can store about 2000 songs. Samsung arms the MP3 player with their SoundAlive audio enhancement options. There is an audio upscaler to restore sounds lost during compression, EarCare that automatically adjusts the volume during prolonged use, level optimizer, manual EQ controls, play speed controls, clarity enhancer for improving voice and instruments, concert sound experience setting, and a surround sound virtualizer.
The user interface on the Samsung YP-Q3 is very simple. The home screen is just one screen with nine icons. Tech-challenged users will not have a problem getting the Samsung YP-Q3 to do exactly what they want it to. It’s not only easy to use, but it’s extremely simple to add media to the device. Using the included Micro-USB cable, you can just plug the Samsung Q3 into your Mac or PC and it will show up just like a flash drive. There are folders for Music, Movies, Pictures, Text Files, etc. Just drag your media into the appropriate folder and voila–it’s on your Q3. Easy breezy. There’s no intensive “sync” process. This means you can use your Q3 on multiple computers, and even share files with friends.
It’s always a joy being able to use a product right out of the box. There was no required sync process or upgrade process to hurdle through before rocking out. There was new firmware available, but it was not required. To download the new firmware you can either download it straight from Samsung.com, or install the Samsung Kies software and have that upgrade the firmware for you. Kies is stored on your Q3 (Windows Only) and is an all-inclusive media manager. It is by no means a necessary application to make the most of Q3.
The included headphones are very comfortable to wear, and sound great, but could use a little extra bass. Playing music on the Q3 was an overall positive experience. The audio quality is good, though nothing too special. It is on par with the audio quality of an iPod. The SoundAlive audio enhancements are useful in fine tuning your listening preferences. The level optimizer does a nice job of adjusting the volume of all of my songs to an even level, thereby reducing the need to adjust the volume so much. I chose to not use this feature as it disrupted the fidelity and balance of some songs. The play speed option allows you to slow down or speed your music up. It can slow music to about 50% or speed it up to 150% regular speed. It was surprising just how clear and natural the music sounded while sped up or slowed down, there was no choppiness whatsoever. I used the EarCare feature, which automatically adjusts the volume depending on how long you have been listening. It was difficult to tell when EarCare was lowering the volume, but it limits the volume range right off the bat which prevents you from making the music too loud and also gives you a more precise volume control. The rest of the SoundAlive are fun to play with, and nice to have, but I found my music sounded just fine without the need tweak the sound with these settings. Videos on the device play clearly and fluidly. The 2.6” screen may not be ideal for videos, but you could definitely watch a movie on it without straining your eyes.
Not everyone needs their MP3 player to record HD video, check email, and locate them on a map. There’s no shame in sticking to the basics. Samsung’s Q3 is an easy-to-use multimedia player, that does the job well. Physically, it’s a very attractive little device. It even has a few features that you won’t find on an iPod like an FM Tuner and a (much) easier syncing process. The Samsung YP-Q3 is a great product for older or younger crowds. Currently, there is only a 4gb model available on Amazon.com, which sells for $62. This model is also available for $79.99 at Toys R US. Finally, there is an 8gb version of the YP-Q3 that will soon be available too but is so far only available in Europe for £69.99.
The Good: Good Looking, Easy to Use, Easy to Add Media, Inexpensive, Ready-to-Use, Nice Headphones included, Nice User Interface
The Bad: Low storage capacities, headphone jack would be better on top, poor viewing angle on screen