Samsung YP-Q1 Diamond - Samsung YP-Q1 Diamond

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


However, there's one aspect of the Q1 experience that takes some getting used to, and that's the controls. There's a sort of raised diamond-shaped area below the screen that acts as a touch-sensitive D-pad and selector, along with back and menu buttons above it. In theory it works in a similar way to the almost identical layout on the current Walkmans, but in practice the diamond pad is a little unpredictable. At times, particularly while on crowded public transport, you'll end up pressing the back button when you mean to go left, pressing up when you mean to go right, pressing options when you want to go up, and so on.

Annoyingly, this happens a lot when you're playing the columns clone, turning one of the best built-in games I've encountered on a PMP into a bit of a nightmare. As with most oddball control systems it's something you do learn to work around, but while the touch controls help the Q1 achieve its cool look, you can't help wishing for something a little more prosaic that works more effectively.

And here's another area where the Q1 falls down. Why, oh why, do reputable manufacturers like Samsung still produce supposedly premium quality MP3 players then bung a useless pair of earbuds in the box? Were you to judge the Q1 on the sound output from the supplied earpieces you would not come away impressed. The sound is clear but lightweight; there's some bass, but no body, a reasonably wide soundstage, but no definition of instruments. Buy a Q1 and use the supplied buds and you really might as well have bought a cheaper, inferior player.

Plug in something better, like the Denon canalphones I use for reference, and it's a very different story. The sound isn't as aggressively punchy as the output from the Sony NWZ-639F but it has a fantastic roundness of tone to compensate. Listen to Justin Timberlake's LoveStoned and the Sony has the edge for bass and definition, but there's something very warm and coherent about the way the Samsung delivers the track, and there's still detail to spare.

Play Radiohead's All I Need and the low bass notes and drifting feedback seems to envelope you in a mildly unnerving blanket of sound, only giving way to the higher, bell-like tones and thumped piano chords that come through later as the drums pick up. The Sony still has the edge on clarity at the messy end section of the song, but there's really not much in it.

The Samsung's tone also works well for other musical genres. The clear piano and warm vocals of the Tony Bennet/Bill Evans album sound particularly good, with the Q1 capturing the intimate, small venue tone and the exquisite chord-work that characterises Evans' playing. The performance with Wagner's Tristan and Isolde is equally impressive. Where lesser players veer between clumping every instrument in the string section together or resolving them as an overly strident racket, the Samsung holds onto the rich textures while still giving the instruments room to breathe.

The Prelude to Act 3, less overwhelming than the Act 1 prelude, sounds as glorious as its going to get without a headphone amplifier and a good set of proper, full-sized 'phones. Again, you could say that the Walkman's output is slightly stronger on the dynamics, but the Samsung has a slightly more coherent overall tone.


November 16, 2008, 6:00 am

Thanks for a good review Stuart.

Another decent player from Samsung, but the Sony NWZ-S539F has it clearly beat.

On Build Quality, Sound, Earphones.

Okay i dont care about the video. I barely watch a music video or two on the go.

I'll stick with the Sony. ;)


November 16, 2008, 11:33 pm

Do Sony do a 32GB version of this player? I couldn't turn anything up on Google.


November 17, 2008, 1:19 am

How come there is no sound quality category? Kind of important for a Mp3 player review...


November 17, 2008, 4:17 am

If I were to guess it's because sound quality is very subjective. Sound quality is never the same for two people due to a variety of factors, ear size, foam size etc. all make a big difference. And if you get that sorted, some people think a sound is good from a pair of ipod earphones. Plus sound quality is a combination of player and earphone. Put good earphones into a bad source and you have a different sound to a bad player with


November 17, 2008, 4:43 am

darkspark88, not to be rude, but what the heck are you talking about?

The Sony player this is being compared to has a sound quality category. So do the latest Apple Mp3 players. So does the Archos 5 that was just reviewed. So does the latest iRiver player (Spinn).

Take a look, click on Mp3 and try to find one that doesn't have a sound category!


November 17, 2008, 4:58 am

@GherkinG - nope

@Ohmz - it's a layout error, should say 'Sound Quality', darkspark88 was talking in the broader sense if you somehow didn't spot that - which made perfect sense.

Will fix now.


November 19, 2008, 1:31 am

Well I took the plunge and bought my first mp3 player and it was the Samsung and I am very pleased with it. To be honest I didnt buy the Sony as my daughter has a Sony and I didnt want to devalue hers by buying a newer model. We all have our reasons! I am no expert and read reviews and have used my daughters.I admit at first the controls are a bit sensitive but like all things when you get the hang they work well. Sometimes I think reviewers come with their own preferences. You just have to read the instructions and tap them and not try to brush them or hold them on. The sound quality is excellent and

the interface also. Another review said the suppplied earphones were good. Its all a matter of preference. It always makes me laugh when these reviews talk about it being 5mm

longer and 2mm thicker. Who cares! As long as it fits my pocket thats all that matters.Its not a size competition. I have seen video reviews on here where they spend half the review lining up different mp3 players and comparing the mm. How sad is that!They can be too small. The Nano is too small for me.

For 䀏 its great buy at 16GB, as is the Sony and the Creative XFi 8GB whch is the other I looked at but the looks were cool and its a really nice bit of kit.

I am not saying its better than the Sony but I think it is as good. You pays your money as they say.


November 27, 2008, 10:32 pm

Slightly off topic but do you guys at TR have any word on the Cowon S9? Because I've been lusting after any info since they announced it, after trying the iPod Touch and finding the sound quality a bit mediocre (and that was in the Apple store on Bose earphones - funny they don't have standard iPod earbuds on their demo models!)....


November 28, 2008, 3:11 pm

Thanks for the review, Q1 look good for me, just 2 questions:

- any customs EQ ?

- Battery removable by the user?

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