Samsung YP-K3 User Review
Yuki's take on the k3 (review) 2GB
To start off with the review I am a Korean music player junkie and have been very please with Samsung and their previous offerings. My favorite no frills player from Samsung had to be the Z5 which has been discontinued I take it. Being saddened that the Z5 is no longer in production i was waiting for Samsung to bring us a replacement. Here it is, the K3, a small ultra thin music player with a innovative design. The K3 has been in my possession for about a week so I have gotten to know the K3 quite well. So how do I like it ? Is it for you ? read and find out.
The first thing you will notice is the packaging, which is one of the most pleasing box designs and packaging for a digital audio player available at the standard electronics retailer. The only complaint is is to ditch the blister package and shrink wrap the card board. The box contains some documentation, a CD with thew Samsung software, a USB cable (proprietary), a pair of visually pleasing ear buds, and the player.
Packaging: 8.5 out of 10 (having a blister pack around the box dropped the score)
The player was stunning out of the box, thin, sleek, and well built. The player controls are stunning, very original and refreshing from the norm. The player is made from a combination of very high quality plastic polymer (very scratch resistant) and stainless steel. The player feels very solid and not like plastic. The player does show finger prints on the touch pad but wipes clean easily with the sue of micro fiber, actually the entire player is pretty easy to clean with a dry micro fiber cloth.
Build quality and design: 10 out of 10
Turning the player on, the user is confronted my a touch controller directional pad that actually lights up. The controls are invisible until the touch area has input making for a really slick interface. Samsung has done a good job at making an original and logical interface that is easy to use. The buttons are very responsive and the lack of tactical feedback is not a problem.
Controls: 10 out of 10
Samsung chose to use an OLED display rather than an LCD which has the advantage of low power consumption, extremely good viewing angle, and excellent black levels. Three major disadvantages are color fidelity is pushed to the blue / green side, the display is fully transmissive (bad for sun light viewing), and low resolution. But this audio player is just that, an audio player and the display does not need to display video. The refresh rate of the display generates a little bit of a flicker but is not distracting.
Display: 7 out of 10
One of the most important aspects of a digital audio player, other than sound quality, is the user interface. To start out the K3 ui is stunning, the ui animations and menu system are brilliant. Navigation to the song you want is easy and logical. During playback the user has the option to view visualizations which if nothing else has a cool coolness factor. Settings and other menus are easy to enter. The audio enhancements can be accesses at the now playing screen which makes it convenient. The ui is very responsive, with response being instant in most menus. Now for some bad, no way to make on the go play lists in the current firmware. Also no dedicated volume control exists, but for the most part the volume can be set in most menus rather than just in the now playing menu. Also the picture viewer is more of a novelty than anything else, it would be nice if the unit had album art display as well.
User Interface: 9 out of 10 (needs OTG play listing)
Computer connectivity is handled by usb as is charging via a proprietary usb cable that comes with the player. The player charges from the host computer while connected to usb. The player uses MTP only as of now for file transfers in the current firmware. Windows xp can handle the player as a drive of sorts allow the user just to drag files to it via MTP, which is alright, but in future firmware i would rather seem an option for UMS. The file transfer speed seems to be average, but it isn't overly slow. In all the ease of use from the computer side is good if the user has windows XP or vista.
Computer connectivity: 8 out of 10 (no ums mode selection)
Now on to the audio quality, one of the most important parts of a digital audio player. Samsung has had a fair share of digital audio players with excellent audio quality and the k3 does not break away form this. The audio quality in general is superb, id did ditch the ear buds for testing in favor of Sennheiser Eh-150' s. Not very many setting to audio are given though, the unit needs more customizations for audio and a custom equalizer. Most settings other than normal sound over processed as expected, though the bass boost is a surprise. In most cases the bass boost does a wonderful job at extending the lows of audio. A few pieces of music did fail with bass boost on, sounding overly processed. For the most part the unit performs well in normal mode with a good range of response. Artifacts are non existent on music that i have listened to at 256 kbps or higher. No distortion was exhibited from the player even at high volume levels. I have not tested ogg support as of yet because I am unsure if the US firmware allows for ogg playback.
Sound 9 out of 10 (the z5 beats it, but not by much, though k3 needs more audio options for the user as well as a custom equalizer)
Battery life of the K3 is amazing considering the size of the player, I am getting about 20 hours and still have battery life left. The rated life is an impressive 25 hours, and it seems that the player does fully turn off rather than going into a low power mode so it wont drain power while not in use.
Battery life / power management 10 out of 10 (given the size of the player it is very impressive)
Overall this player is one of the best i have yet to own in almost every aspect, epically in the looks department. I would recommend this player to anyone that needs a low feature high quality digital audio player with very good sound quality. This player is in my opinion the answer to the nano.
Overall rating 9 out of 10
+Excellent build quality
+Unique styling and control system
+Easy to use
+Very good sound quality
+Excellent battery life
+OLED has excellent viewing angles
-No OTG play listing
-No custom EQ
-OLED has some issues with bright lighting and has marginal color rendering
-No album art
*ogg support ?
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Last edited by yuki; 04-02-2007 at 12:08 AM.
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