Samsung YP-U3 Digital Audio Player

Samsung YP-U3

Slim, great sound, with equalizers, and easy controls. This perfectly describes the latest portable digital audio player (DAP) from Samsung. Known as Samsung YP-U3 or simply U3, the audio player is one of the best in its class today.

At 3.2 by 1.0 by 0.4 inches, the U3 weighs a mere 22.8 grams (0.8 ounces). It features a built-in USB 2.0 connection so cables and wires are no longer needed when transferring songs to and from your PC. The new Samsung player has a four-line OLED display and comes in five trendy colors, pink, white, green, black and blue.

In this iPod crazy world, it is definitely hard for other DAP manufacturers to get noticed. But manufacturers like Samsung are beginning to make a dent in the seeming monopoly of Apple products in the digital audio player market. The U3, for instance, targets the iPod Shuffle as its direct competitor. And the new Samsung DAP has already a number of features that took away the attention out of the more popular Apple product.

Compared to the third-generation iPod Shuffle which has no screen display for navigating through music, albums or artists, the U3 sports a four-line OLED display. Combined with the simple touch-sensitive controls, the OLED display of the U3 is a killer for a DAP that small.

When we talk about portability, the iPod shuffle at 41 by 28 by 10mm and weighing just 17g wins hands down. However, with considerable lack of features and very average sound quality, it does make one think if buying it would be the best thing to do.

A better competitor for the U3 is another newcomer, SanDisk’s Sansa Express. The Express was released just before Samsung announced the U3. The SanDisk’s 1GB audio player device features an OLED screen for menu navigation, a digital FM tuner, FM and voice recording, and upgradable storage capacity via a microSD expansion slot.

Despite the similarities in features and limitations, I would prefer the U3 over the Express. With the slightly bigger and brighter OLED screen, a better overall design, and a skinnier body, the U3 just gives me the correct vibe for a portable audio player. The only thing I find annoying in the U3’s design is the blue LED on one end that lights up whenever the player processes commands and information.

It also features a drag and drop functionality and there’s no need to install a special software to navigate and manage your music files. Although, Samsung included one if you want to manage your files more efficiently.

The U3 supports the usual MP3, WMA, OGG Vorbis and ASF music files. The FM radio tuner has 12 presents. Samsung claims that the U3 gets about 15 hours of listening time. The Samsung DAP charges via USB. It comes in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB capacities and sells at about $79, $99, and $149 respectively.

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