The hold switch is on the bottom of the Samsung YP-U2 near the awkwardly placed headphone jack. Trust us--your headphones' plug will get in the way of your hand or your pocket. The other notable design feature is the transparent USB cap, which gives the YP-U2 an early-'90s see-through appeal, and thanks to an LED planted next to the USB connector, the cap will glow a funky blue at the press of a button. It's an MP3 player and a glow stick in one; too bad it's not sold in pairs. For those who find the light hideous or want to conserve power, there is an option to deactivate the LED.
We love the way the Samsung YP-U2 sounds--once a song is playing. You'll notice the slightest click when you stop or start a song; additionally, you may notice slight digital artifacts when you adjust the volume. The device's saving grace is its amazing set of equalizers--eight presets in all, including the monster nine-band user equalizer. The YP-U2 also includes Samsung's own DNSe surround settings; they sound great, and it's fun to flip through the sound options using the user hot key. Minus the electrodigital clicks, overall sound quality rivals the best we've heard, with hiss-free punchy sound. Samsung has proven its emphasis on sound quality with this model and the recently released YP-Z5. You get the sense that there is a lot of processing going on underneath the hood--which might contribute to the slow bootup times--but the overall end-user experience is satisfying. The YP-U2 is like a Creative MuVo on steroids.
The FM tuner is above average, with 20 autoscannable presets, but you cannot record radio, as we incorrectly stated in our video. The Samsung YP-U2 is a dual MTP/UMS device, so while you'll need Windows Media Player for DRM transfers, it will also show up as a removable drive on a Mac. Also, the unit can be set to resume playing when it's powered.
Although early press materials state a 20-hour battery life, the Samsung YP-U2 is rated for an unspectacular 13 hours (same as the iPod Shuffle). This won't be an issue if you plug your player into your computer on a daily basis. We'll update this review with drain results from CNET Labs. Samsung also removed OGG support from its earlier spec sheet.
Don't expect much in the Samsung YP-U2's package. In addition to the player itself, you get a pair of earbuds, an installation CD, and a quick-start guide. It has no lanyard, no armband, and no power adapter (so you'll have to recharge via USB)--just the basics.