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Samsung has clearly spent a lot of time turning the T9 into a well-rounded media player. But has it done anything to improve the sound quality over previous efforts? I'd have to say, after extensive listening, no. It's not that the T9 sounds at all bad. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's pretty good.
The brash, jangling pianos on Ben Folds' Songs for Silverman are reproduced faithfully with plenty of detail. The coarse vocals and throbbing rhythms of The Prodigy's classic dance romp Firestarter never pushed it over the edge into muddle and confusion. And the sultry tones of jazz songstress Stacey Kent sounded smooth and well-rounded. But, if anything, it sounds just a little too safe and I was always left wanting more - a tad lifeless you could say and no amount of tweaking with the user EQ or turning up the volume would fix that lack of excitement.
While I'm on the subject of disappointments, Samsung promises on the packaging and on its website that the T9 will play Ogg Vorbis files up to Q10 (that's 500kbps!!). The supplied software will even rip CDs to Ogg for you. This would be a great feature, if it actually worked properly. The T9 will play Ogg files but only after you rename them with the .mp3 file extension. This is bizarre but nothing compared to the fact that once you've renamed your Ogg files so they'll play on the T9, Samsung's software then refuses to recognise them. The T9 won't play AAC files either, but at least it’s compatible with WMA DRM files.
Despite the irritations, the T9 is a good player. However, it suffers in comparison with some very hot competition. It looks smart, but if looks were all that mattered you'd buy a Nano. It has media playback capabilities, but so does the iRiver Clix with its bigger screen. It sounds good too, but iRiver and Sony are streets ahead on that front. And the price, though competitive at £93.84 for the 2GB player, isn't amazingly cheap either. Of course it does have Bluetooth, which none of the others do, but this is not the killer feature that the T9 needs it to be to pull it ahead of the competition.
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