Samsung's tiny YEPP YP-T5V
Smallness has always been one of the virtues of Samsung's YEPP line of MP3 players. With the YP-T5V, the company takes that concept to the extreme. Fortunately, this tiny unit doesn't skimp on features. But the 256MB YEPP's lack of expandability and its $180 price tag keep it from being a slam-dunk winner.
If MP3 players get any smaller, they'll exist only in theory. Samsung claims that the elongated cube-shaped player is the smallest in the world. At 0.91 by 2.13 by 0.91 inches and weighing 0.85 ounce (without battery), the YEPP YP-T5V definitely qualifies as tiny. We've seen a couple of players that are smaller, such as the coin-shaped BenQ Joybee 102R or Virgin's Wearable MP3 player, but the YEPP is the littlest one we've witnessed with an LCD. You can easily slip it into your front jeans pocket, which may be the only way to avoid misplacing this player. While the three-line LCD is expectedly miniscule, it's no more cramped than some displays we've seen on much larger units. The screen features seven different backlight colors, so you can pick the one you find most readable.
On top of the unit are three control buttons (record, A-B loop repeating, and play/pause) and a Hold switch. Next to the display on the face of the device is a four-way joystick, which controls song navigation and volume. A quick press of the joystick button accesses Menu mode, which is simple to navigate using the joystick.
Despite its diminutive stature, the Samsung YEPP YP-T5V feels well constructed. The control buttons and the joystick are tight and responsive. Some headphones' plugs, however, can interfere when you need to open the battery cover. The player's design is elegant in its minimalism, and its bluish-purple casing is a nice deviation from the whites and silvers we're used to seeing. Along with a USB cable, the player comes with a USB plug, in effect turning the YEPP YP-T5V into a plug-in device.
Though it sheds the excess bulk of similar flash-based players, the Samsung YEPP YP-T5V comes with most of the expected features, including an FM tuner and recorder, line-in recording, and a voice recorder. FM and line-in recordings are saved as MP3 files (up to 128Kbps), while voice recordings are saved in WAV format. You also get five EQ presets--Normal, Rock, Classic, Jazz, and Dynamic Bass Boost--and a user-defined mode. The YP-T5V also includes SRS 3D and TruBass WOW effects, and you can select WOW to get both effects simultaneously. You can even control the level of these effects and optimize them for headphones, earphones, speakers, or a car pack.
You can use Windows Explorer to transfer MP3s and unprotected WMAs to the YP-T5V. (You can also upgrade the firmware to support protected WMAs.) Plus, the device shows up as an external drive on your machine, so you can easily move data files to the device. On the downside, the player's size makes it unfit for memory expansion; you're stuck with the 256MB of memory.
The YP-T5V delivered good audio quality, supplying warm-sounding audio with fine bass and treble response. Although the company reports a less than stellar 80dB signal-to-noise ratio and a headphone output of just 5mW per channel at 16 ohms, we detected little background hiss, and the volume cranked plenty loud even with a pair of full-size Koss UR-40 headphones.
Transfer speeds reached 0.7MB per second in our CNET Labs tests, which is fast for a USB 1.1 device. Battery life was also better than average; we got 12.9 hours of continuous playback from a single AAA cell.