Samsung's color-screened YH-925GS
If you thought the Samsung YH-925GS was little more than a color version of the , well, you were right. It's actually a little less, having lost key features such as an FM radio, a docking cradle, and a wired remote. Plus, it's still stuck at 20GB; Samsung has yet to offer a model with more storage. Sound quality and battery life haven't improved either. On the other hand, the YH-925GS offers the best interface this side of the iPod, and it supports a wealth of audio formats, including secure WMA, Audible, and Janus subscription services. It also lets you upload photos directly from compatible digital cameras--not bad for a color player that sells for as low as $240 from many online vendors.
Like its grayscale predecessor, the 5.6-ounce Samsung YH-925GS packs everything into a slim but slightly long case. Its 1.8-inch, 160x128-pixel screen looks bright and colorful--great for viewing photos and navigating menus. The menus themselves remain a marvel of simplicity, as do the player's controls. Admittedly, the large four-way control pad lacks the panache of the iPod's scrollwheel, but it makes for extremely easy operation.
To make a voice recording, you just slide a switch on the side of the player and start talking, then flip the switch back when you're done. Regrettably, voice notes can be recorded only as 32Kbps stereo MP3 files, while line-in recordings--which also encode directly to MP3--are limited to 160Kbps. Support for higher bit rates would be welcome, and so would the charging cradle that came with the YH-920GS. All that's left is the proprietary Y-cable that splits between USB and AC connections--not great for travel.
The Samsung YH-925GS accommodates Windows users like few other players. It supports not only MP3, WMA, and DRM-protected WMA files but also Microsoft's PlaysForSure spec and Janus subscription services such as. The latter required a firmware update, but installation went quickly and smoothly.