Samsung YP-K5 – feature-rich device a good buy

With the surfeit of digital music players on the market today, manufacturers are competing on features.

The clamour today is for portable multimedia devices that offer the best combinations of features at an attractive price.

Evaluated by these criteria, the Samsung YP-K5 mp3 player is certainly a doodad worth considering.

The K5 meets buyer demand for versatility. While principally an mp3 player, it also functions as an FM radio, an alarm clock and an electronic picture viewer.

Changing from one mode to another just requires a couple of taps on the touch screen.

Samsung engineers did a good job designing the K5, packing a lot of punch into a sleek form factor. Around 4-inches wide, 2-inches high and an inch deep, the unit weighs just 106 gms and can be slipped easily into a shirt pocket.

The glossy black touch screen forms a compelling background to the electric blue navigation buttons that appear when very light pressure is applied.

You can either listen to music through the included stereo earphones or through the built in speaker.

From an aesthetic and convenience perspective the built in speaker has been cleverly designed. It slides out and then tilts upward at a 45 degree angle, so the unit can be placed on your desk while you play music.

However, the sound quality through this two-channel speaker (0.7 watts per channel) is passable at best. Though surprisingly loud – given the size of the speaker – my preference would be to use it more to listen to news (in FM Radio mode) rather than music.

For music the included ear phones offer distinctly superior audio.

The drawback with the ear phones, though, is that they’re of the in-canal variety, which can be rather uncomfortable. As they have no head harness (i.e. they aren’t headphones) they’re certainly not a good option for listening to music or the FM radio during your daily jog, for instance.

My suggestion: invest in separate headphones if you get the device.

When using the K5 in the FM Radio mode, the ear phones need to be connected to the player at all times – when searching or setting frequencies, and even when listening through the speakers.

That’s because the earphones are used as antennas for FM radio reception. (However, the FM Radio does work with other headphones. I used my Kensington noise cancelling headphones, and a non-branded pair of very basic stereo headphones – and I could listen to the FM radio).

Cleverly designed – the speaker unit slides out so the device can be placed on your desk with the speaker tilting upwards at a 45 degree angle.

To transfer music files from your computer to the device, you need to first install the Samsung Media Studio application from the included CD.

To hook up your computer to the K5, Samsung has provided a proprietary cable instead of a standard USB cable. To me that’s a disadvantage. While one end of the cable fits into the computer’s USB port, the end that goes into the K5 looks more like something that would connect to a mobile phone.

Samsung Media Studio is by and far a user friendly application and enables very quick transfer of music and image files from the computer to the K5.

Files can be transferred individually or in batches, and the application also allows you to easily create multiple playlists. Transfer of image files is also a breeze – it’s a simple button-driven process.

The first step is to into the Samsung Media Studio application the files/folders you want to transfer from your PC to the K5. You do this by clicking either on the Music, Video, Photo or ETC (Other Media) icon, and then clicking the Add File or Add Folder button at the bottom of the screen.

The ETC list includes file types music and photo files, such as .txt or .xov.

Once you have your files organized by type you transfer them to the device by clicking on the ‘Transfer to portable device’ tab.

While .jpeg images can be viewed on the K5 the pictures are too tiny to afford any viewing pleasure.

In conclusion, the form factor, and diverse features of the K5, along with its ample storage (it’s available in 1 GB, 2GB and 4GB versions) make it an attractive buy.

The 1GB unit (YP-K5JZB) is available at for $179.99.