Sticks & Stones
By Seow Tein Hee
Petite-sized portable media players are aplenty and what comes to mind at once are the iPod Shuffle and the Creative ZEN Stone. Joining the party is the recently released Samsung YP-S2 portable media player, otherwise affectionately known as the S2. Well, there's also the little reference to it being known as the "Pebble", and believe us, small as it may be, the S2 packed quite a punch in its audio delivery, when we tossed this little pebble out for a quick test.
Smooth as a Pebble
There's no mistaking why the S2 is known as the "Pebble". Regardless of shape, size or weight, the S2 is exactly like the aforementioned stone. Weighing 17.2g, the S2 is so small, we even managed to flip it in the air as you would with a coin, though it's not highly recommended unless you're really good at catching it. Fingerprint smudges might be a concern for some due to its glossy top, but if you were to wear it akin to a pendant around your neck with its necklace integrated earphone, we suppose that you might actually be constantly polishing the S2 with your garment.
Flip the S2 around, and you'll be greeted with its minimalist navigation design. Comprising of a Volume Up/Down and Forward/Backward button on all four corners surrounding the Play/Pause button that also doubles as the Power button, the S2 is as simple as it gets. Other than that, there's also the Smart button that cycles through the various DNSe modes, including Normal, 3D Studio and Concert Hall and you'll enter the repeat all, shuffle and playlist mode when you press and hold onto the Smart button.
Big on the Bam Bam
Due to the absence of an onscreen display, the S2 utilizes a series of LED colors to indicate its current mode, with Blue being repeat all, magenta for playlist mode and for its shuffle mode, the LED shuffles between blue, magenta and green. Adding or deleting songs from the playlist requires you to hold the '+' and '-' buttons on the device respectively during its repeat all or shuffle mode.
While the S2 has a rather paltry 1GB capacity, it managed to perform its primary objective as a music player well enough. Utilizing the bundled earpiece that attaches itself firmly onto the S2 via a latch just above the 3.5mm audio jack, we swayed to the tunes of Lisa Ono's "Cest 'Si Bon". Without mentioning how smooth Lisa Ono sounded, it was the clarity of its vocal delivery that distinguished the S2, though there was a slight performance dip in its bass levels.
The minimalist approach that Samsung takes is evident from the fact that the S2 uses a USB to 3.5mm connector and both data transfer and power charging occur via the 3.5mm audio jack. We managed to enjoy up to almost 10 hours of audio playback, which is 3 hours shy of its rated battery life, but considering its form factor ratio to its battery stamina, it was pretty decent in our books.
A Final Toss
What makes these devices a surviving breed is not the bundled features involved, but its portable nature and the attractive price tagged to it. With the Samsung YP-S2, you can expect a device that's easy on the hands (or off the hands should you choose to wear it as a neck piece), and which scores on its aesthetic design. And, more importantly, the reasonable pricing of S$59 will make the S2 a good companion for those who desire minimal fuss with their media players.