There’s increasing convergence between straight music players, digital voice recorders and photo viewers. Samsung wants a piece of that action and has just released the YH-925 as its latest pitch.
This PDA-sized gadget has a 1.8-inch, full-colour LCD display set into its front face above a four-way thumb-pad for menu navigation. There are three buttons on the right-hand edge to control playback and a slide switch for recording.
The menu system is logically laid out, with each of the player’s main functions having its own menu. The colour display is used well to show the relevant options and switching between music playback, the built-in FM tuner and photo display is very simple.
Sound quality is excellent. There’s plenty of presence in acoustic recording and good definition in larger band and orchestral pieces. The FM tuner, so often an afterthought in MP3 players, is unusually sensitive, so you don’t have to be sitting just downwind of the transmitter to get a signal.
At the top of the YH-925 are sockets for headphones and line in, as well as a miniature microphone. At the bottom is a proprietary socket for a PC connection, with a removable rubber plug filling in when it’s not connected; but it’s a shame the plug’s not tethered.
Why put a 20GB hard drive in a portable music player, you may ask? That’s roughly equivalent to 240 music CDs recorded in WMA format, which is more than most people have in their collections. There is logic to the choice, though, as Samsung has included useful extras in the player’s feature-set.
You can use the player as a voice or music recorder. If you’re working with live material, you can record huge swathes of interview or meeting material without exhausting storage or battery. Plugging in the supplied audio lead lets you record directly from a number of audio sources. In either case, the device records to the hard drive directly in MP3 format.
You can also upload albums of digital photos to the YH-925, using the supplied software, and display them on the LCD screen, which is a bit bigger than on most digital cameras. The player can be used to transport all kinds of files, though you do have to switch it to ‘USB host’ mode before Windows, even Windows XP, sees it as an external drive.
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