Samsung is really starting to get the hang of touch-driven MP3 players. The YP-P2 had its problems, but it was still an impressive first effort. The YP-P3 went a fair way to remedying the YP-P2's faults and Samsung's latest, the YP-R1 is better still.
The centrepiece of the YP-R1 is, of course, its 2.6in, 400 x 240 pixel touch-sensitive display. As you might imagine, putting the player's controls on-screen frees up physical space, such that at 85 x 45.5 x 8.9mm the YP-R1 is barely any bigger than a Sony E Series Walkman, despite having a notably larger display (with a more useful aspect ratio to boot). The brushed metal finish, looks just as good, in an understated way, in black or silver and makes the price tag seem entirely justified; in the hand the YP-R1 really does feel like a quality piece of equipment.
Physical controls are limited to a volume rocker and a dual-purpose hold and power button. The latter, by default, only locks the screen, so the volume can be adjusted even with the player locked, but if you prefer it can lock everything. Were it not for the placement on the far left edge of the hold button, it would be entirely possible to control the YP-R1 singlehanded, but as it is you'll almost certainly need a second hand to unlock it which is slightly annoying. A proprietary connector is used, which is lamentable, although in fairness to Samsung it does accept a video-out cable should you purchase one, so it's not there just for the sake of it.
Interaction with the player comes courtesy of Samsung's TouchWiz interface, which is something of a mixed bag. This is carried over from the YP-P3, although the YP-R1 suffered from none of the unresponsiveness that the YP-P3 had on occasion. Nevertheless, there are still a couple of quirks which could do with ironing out.
The top level menu of this interface features a paged layout, somewhat like that of the iPod touch, although the YP-R1 can't be used in portrait. Icons can be moved in a four by three grid or, if unwanted, removed entirely. Annoyingly, though, if you only want enough icons to fill one screen, the other two are still present, just empty.