Stick 'em up: Samsung YP-U1 and YP-U2

Two little parcels of electronic joy, or two fudged fingers? We take a first look at the new Samsung YP-U1 and YP-U2 MP3 player sticks. Will they prosper, or wither and die?

You have to admire Samsung's verve -- it's bringing new MP3 player children into the world with the dedication of The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. The vast armies of new Samsung MP3 player models advance like a batallion of expendable soldiers. If Samsung can't have the iPod by tactics, it shall overrun it by sheer numbers.

This month's offerings include the YP-U1(1GB or 512MB) and YP-U2 (2GB, 1GB or 512MB). We've been toying with both players over the past few days -- the pair are quite usable, despite the fact they insist on displaying a 'SYSTEM-LOADING' progress bar for five seconds every time you switch them on. If you're looking for the instant start-up of almost every other MP3 player we've tested, look elsewhere.

Build quality on both players is solid, though the U2 (starting at £75) features an easily mislaid USB-key style cap, and the U1(starting at £68) uses a flimsy sliding panel to conceal the USB connector. Overall, the design is business-like. They're the kind of MP3 player London estate agents can be found listening to Coldplay on while diligently forging signatures on rental agreements.

Although the U1 and U2 don't set us on fire with their modest ambitions, they're good little runners. We'll be putting them through a more exhaustive test in weeks to come. -CS

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