Samsung – YP-Z5 review

very slim 2GB or 4GB MP3 player
Photo of Samsung – YP-Z5
£130 (2GB), £170 (4GB)

Those looking for 2GB and 4GB portable music players now have something new to add to their list of possibilities: Samsung’s YP-Z5. Available in silver and black, the 2GB player will cost you around £130, the 4GB one around £170.

There is a certain familiarity in a thin, rectangular player with a screen and front-based navigation system, and we doubt that’s an accident. While the YP-Z5 is a little larger than the iPod nano, the difference isn’t significant.

The YP-Z5 plays MP3, WMA and secure WMA files, as well as letting you view JPEG format images on its impressively crisp and clear 1.8-inch screen. You can synchronise with Windows Media Player 10, and a copy is provided on CD in case you don’t already have it. But if you don’t favour synchronising or steer clear of DRM, then you can just use the provided USB cable to copy music and images in the supported formats across from your hard drive.

Music output quality is very good indeed, and loud too. You really don’t need to factor in purchase of a better headset unless you are a very discerning listener or hate in-ear style headphones. Battery life, at 35 hours, will sting the opposition.

Samsung has come up with a very clever set of visuals for when you move through on-screen menus – they zoom in and out at you as you go up and down the menu structure. It’s a bit of a surprise the first few times, then it becomes one of those quirky features that you’ll probably rather take to.

It’s a shame the same can’t be said for the main music control system. The volume rocker on the right edge of the casing, and the hold button on the top, are both unproblematic. But the control panel beneath the screen takes a bit of getting used to, because you need to exercise two kinds of pressure depending on what you want to achieve.

In general, gentle pressure is needed for scrolling through menu options, greater pressure for making selections, and getting the balance between the two is not easy at first. Expect to spend half an hour or so feeling frustrated.

We also found that making quick selections while only half concentrating – such as while travelling or walking – was sometimes a bit frustrating too, both because of ‘pressure errors’ and because scrolling happens very, very quickly. We often had to backtrack to get to songs or menu options we’d gone past.

Company: Samsung

Contact: 0870 242 0303

The YP-Z5 produces good quality sound, and it is great that it can be used with a simple drag and drop system to get music and picture files across. Setting up for a few days away from home is incredibly easy. But that control system is painful, and despite the other good qualities, it puts us off the player.