Flash memory based music players are everywhere and if you are looking for a player, then you’ve got plenty to choose from. But Apple has ‘mindshare’. Its nano and iPod brands seem to have become generic terms for players (the shuffle is not so lucky), and the physical design of the nano is clearly the inspiration behind Samsung’s YP-Z5.
The YP-Z5 comes in 2GB and 4GB capacities. The former will set you back around £130 while the latter costs around £170. Each is available in black and silver. I was sent a 2GB model in black to try out.
Physically there are both similarities and differences to the nano. It keeps the rectangular format, with a screen at the top and controls below. While the YP-Z5 is a shade thicker it’s no giant - at 42.2mm wide x 89.8mm tall x 11.4mm deep. The 4GB version is slightly fatter at 12.3mm deep. As such it will be easily encompassed by all but the smallest of pockets.
However, its sliver metal edging inevitably capture grease from your fingers and overall it doesn’t actually look as polished a product as the nano.
The right edge features a long, thin volume rocker, while the top edge sports a hold button, a 3.5mm headset jack, and a hook for a lanyard strap (not provided). The bottom edge houses a PC USB socket and a reset hole. I’ll get to the front controls in more detail later.
Samsung has stolen quite a march over Apple in terms of battery life with Samsung saying that the YP-Z5 will last for 35 hours – two and a half times the 14 hours claimed for the nano.
As well as playing MP3 and WMA, the YP-Z5 displays pictures (only JPEGS) on its 128 x 160 pixel, 1.8 inch LCD screen. You can view them individually and run a slideshow with or without musical accompaniment. The slim and pretty rudimentary printed quick start guide doesn’t explain how to get photos onto the YP-Z5, though, and only shows you how to get music across by synchronising with Windows Media Player 10.
A CD offers a copy of Windows Media Player 10 in case you don’t already have it, and also offers a more comprehensive manual, oddly in Rich Text Format rather than PDF, and ready for you to print out. Windows Media Player 10 is important because the YP-Z5 supports Secure WMA DRM files, and if buying DRM music is your thing, you are going to need to use it.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it this way as you can drag and drop music onto it or use the YP-Z5 as a virtual drive. Just plug in the supplied USB cable to your PC and you are set to copy files across. The file structure on the YP-Z5 is pretty obvious, so it is easy to see where to copy music and pictures to. There are two folders at start up. Open the one labelled Media and two more appear – Music and Pictures.