The fresh alternative
It's always a challenge when reviewing a portable music player to avoid referring repeatedly to the... best-selling market leader. So dominant is the... other make that there's a constant temptation to make comparisons. But nevertheless I've decided to accept this challenge.
I like it when a manufacturer comes up with a fresh take on the portable music player and doesn't just copy... what's already available. And Samsung certainly did that in 2007 when it launched the touch-screen P2. Now we have the next-generation version, the innovative P3. And very good it is, too.
The hot new feature is the haptic interface, which basically means the screen vibrates as you operate the touch controls. This is something that the... you know... doesn't have. Haptic technology is the way ahead for touch screens as the feedback it provides lets you know instantly that your device has detected your command.
Music sounds really good on the P3 – better, I would venture to suggest, than on... a certain other type of player. Samsung's DNSe 3.0 enhancement system tweaks music stored in compressed audio formats such as MP3 and AAC to boost the sound quality.
Likewise video and photos look great on the three-inch 16:9 widescreen WQVGA TFT LCD display (with any type of screen the more initials the better). The image is clear and bright and the detailing is fantastic. Another big plus is that, unlike the iWotsit, the P3 has Bluetooth, which you can use with cordless headphones and to transfer text files that you can read on the screen. And you can pair the P3 with your mobile phone so that the music switches off automatically when a call comes in. To be fair the P3 lacks Wi-Fi, a compelling feature of... that other touch-screen model. And there's no accelerometer for games fans.
The on/off and volume controls have migrated from the sides – where they were on the P2 – to the top. The player is available in black or silver and the aluminium case is reminiscent of a slim chocolate bar mobile phone. There are versions with 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB of flash memory, but the manufacturer has yet to decide how much they will cost here in the UAE.
The judges of the Best of CES awards at the world's largest gadget show held early last month in Las Vegas were certainly impressed by the P3 as they gave it the prize for best MP3 and portable video player. I can see why.
So you see, it can be done – it is possible to write a whole review of a portable music player without mentioning the iPod... doh!
'If we are faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves'
Lynn Fox, a spokeswoman for California-based Palm, which recently demonstrated its acclaimed touch phone Pre. In a veiled attack, Apple COO Tim Cook pledged in January to go after companies that copy the iPhone's patented features.