Thursday, May 14, 2009

Samsung YP-P3. My Review.

Samsung's YP-P2 was my favorite player for the last year or so. The Cowon S9 with it's AMOLED screen has leapfrogged it though. Now Samsung's P3 has arrived at my door, so it's time to see if the new kid on the block has what it takes to earn the title back.

Included in the box:
- Samsung's proprietary USB cable.
- Earbuds + foam covers.
- Warranty card.

The user manual and Emodio software are stored on the P3 itself. This is a new trend with Samsung and it makes perfect sense to me. One less little CD to deal with. My P3 arrived with firmware version 2.10 U.S.. The battery was full out of the box. Already on the P3 were sample files including 5 MP3 files, 2 videos, several sample photos, and a couple of text files along with their associated TTS (Text To Speech) files.

Media play capabilities includes Music, Videos, Photos, FM radio, Flash apps, and Text. For fun the P3 supports widgets, and comes with several.

Hardware features include Bluetooth, Haptic, an on-board Speaker, microphone, and FM radio.The P3 unfortunately is short on hard controls. You get volume +/- and a Power/Hold button. That's it. The P2 at least had Play/Pause in addition to what the P3 has. Compare this to the Cowon S9 with Play/Pause, Volume +/-, and Track FWD/BACK along it's top edge. The little grill you see above is the P3's speaker. On the bottom edge you see the data and headphone jacks. There is a tiny reset/mic hole as well. There is also a mini-touch area below the screen that when swiped provides quick access to music play control when not in the music app.

The touchscreen is more sensitive than that of the P2. It takes only one tap to pick and play a song from a list, whereas the P2 required a tap to select it and another one to play it. Samsung has clearly been working to make the interface smoother, although when scrolling through a song list I often end up picking a song I didn't mean to. Their algorithm still needs a little tuning. Still, the P3 is very responsive and graphics move about much more fluidly than they did on the P2.

The P3 uses many little interface tricks. You can touch, long touch, double-tap, swipe, drag, and draw circles on some screens to great effect. Read all about it beginning on page 20 in the USER MANUAL (4.68mb download). You'll want to know these tricks as they make getting around on the P3 very efficient.

These players are all about media playback, and the P3 is very polished at it. Music formats supported include:

MP3 (8kbps ~ 320kbps, 22kHz ~48kHz),
WMA(8kbps ~ 320kbps, 8kHz ~ 48kHz),
AAC-LC (16kbps ~ 256kbps, 8kHz ~ 48kHz),
AAC-Plus (16kbps ~ 256kbps, 16kHz ~ 44.1kHz),
Enhanced-AAC-Plus (16kbps ~ 256kbps, 32kHz ~

The P3 will play your DRM-free iTunes AAC files!The Signal to Noise Ratio is 89 dB. A higher number is better here. For comparison the Samsung Q2's S/N Ratio is 90 dB. For what it's worth the Q2 also supports the lossless OGG format. Although not mentioned, the P3 also plays WMA lossless files at 1152kbps. It won't play them over Bluetooth, and they require the P3's full attention. I've been listening to the P3 while writing this post and am having a hard time hearing any faults with it. Audio is crisp and detailed. Individual instruments are easy to distinguish. You'll hear the singer's breath and fingers slide across guitar strings. This all assumes you've got high bitrate samples and are using something better than the included earbuds. The Music Play screen (above) is clean with album art, album title, song, and artist all displayed. You have several ways to sort your music, and the album sort option gives your three clever ways to graphically see your album covers as you flick through them. It requires an annoying extra tap to call up the play controls. You have access to all music settings from a submenu here. I'm giving the P3's Music app an A-. More format support and fewer taps to make it work is what it still needs.

Video playback is exceptional. The P3 plays AVI/SVI, MP4, and WMV formats at 30fps. You can play files larger than the P3's 480 x 272 screen resolution. The screen is beautiful. I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison with the same movie file on each device to decide if it's any better or worse than the AMOLED screen of my Cowon S9 or the LCD screen on the Samsung P2. A quick glance tells me the colors are truer, more saturated on the 3.3" AMOLED screen of the S9. You won't be disappointed in any case. The P3 also shares a trick with the Cowon S9 in that it can take an array of snapshots of videos scenes so you can more readily jump to a give point in the video. A larger screen is always nicer, but the P3 will be a better fit in your hand and pocket. I'm giving the P3 an A for video play.

Picture display is improved from the P2. You get a slideshow option with three speeds and some nice transitions between images. A double tap on an image will zoom it in to 2x, 3x, and 4x it's original size on the screen. Once zoomed in you can pan around on the image. You can also set any image as the booting image. The P3 simply has better graphics processing power than the P2, which makes pans and transitions much more fluid and impressive. You can put huge photos on the P3 and it will still display them, but don't expect to zoom in progressively to see tiny details in those large pictures. 4x is all you get, and it's limited to how big the image appears at 1x on the P3's 480x272 screen. The Picture app is a couple of steps up from the P2's version. I'll give it an A-. There is still room for improvement.

FM radio is relatively unchanged from the P2. You'll need to switch to the EU version of the firmware to enable RDS support for FM stations that broadcast it. To switch to EU, copy and save the following text into a CONFIG.DAT file (use NotePad on your PC) , then copy that file into the root directory of the P3:


Then unplug the P3 and let it reboot. If the station supports it you may notice added info below the frequency number near the top of the screen. Station IDs, current song and artist, and even the genre may show up. It all depends on the station.
You can switch between preset and manual tuning. You can set the FM region and sensitivity. There is a small speaker/mute icon to tap near the frequency number, and you can RECORD anything you hear on the radio. I'm giving the FM Radio app an A. It could be a little better, but not by much.
Flash support is the latest trend from the Korean manufacturers. The P3, S9, and iriver SPINN all play FLASH apps and games. The P3 comes with a Metronome app, but many more can be found in cowon S9 forums at You will probably have to register there to be able to download them. I haven't had a chance to try any additional Flash apps on my P3, so this post may be updated in the future.
Bluetooth. The P3 not only does bluetooth to stereo headphone. It allows game play over bluetooth to other Samsung players, file transfer between bluetooth devices, and can even act as your cell phone once connected via bluetooth. Yes, you can receive and make calls through the P3.
There is plenty more to keep you entertained on the P3. You get a great text reader that can read your text to you, a simple calculator, a calendar, contacts, a memo pad, several games, a subway map app, a world clock, an alarm clock, and a sleep timer. I'm sure I've missed a few things.
So is it a good buy? For $149 you can buy an 8gb ipod Nano. You'll get Music, Videos, Photos, and the same "extras" such as alarm, calendar, clocks, games, and notes. The Nano has a 2" screen. The P3 has a 3" wide format touchscreen, adds FM radio, Voice recording, FM recording, Bluetooth, file transfer, inter-device play, and more. No math is necessary. Buying the Samsung P3 for the same $149 is a no-brainer.


  1. Where did you order it from?

    I cant find this thing anywhere. I tried Best Buy, Target, Amazon etc.....

  2. You probably won't find it in most retail stores for awhile. Mine came from Click the "Buying the Samsung P3" link above. B&H may have a retail store in NY. Also check for Samsung P3 accessories.


  3. Do you know if they will be available at Best Buy or other big Box stores?

    I hate ordering online. Im just surprised it not at best buy right now.

  4. I have no way to know. BestBuy carried the P2, although it was a slightly special version of the 8gb model. My local store (yesterday) has a couple of Samsung players, but no P3s.

  5. How can I get the text feature to work? Can I actually text from the device?

  6. No texting like you can do with a cell phone. This isn't a cell phone.