You’ve heard quality audio on software MP3 players. Now, it’s time to take it with you wherever you go. Hardware MP3 players are poised to make their presence felt in the Indian market. The first one to make it to our test bench was the Samsung Yepp. The one that we received could store up to 32 MB of MP3 music, upgradable to another 32 MB. It’s silver in color and has a clip to hook it onto your belt.
The Yepp is compact, and can even fit into your shirt pocket. It has an LCD panel that swings into action when on. It has only a couple of controls, and you don’t need to shoot through the manual to understand these. It has four buttons—for play, stop, forward and rewind—but each of these serves more than one function. The play button also doubles up as power on and pause buttons, while the stop button doubles up for power off. The forward and reverse buttons can also be used for skipping to the next or previous track. All the buttons are situated on one circular knob, so even a slight pressure can turn the Yepp on and drain its batteries out.
The Yepp works off two AAA-size alkaline batteries. A jack for running it off a power adapter would’ve been a useful addition. The sound quality is good, as is expected from digital audio. But the earphones are too big—they could’ve been made slightly smaller. The memory in the Yepp is non-volatile—that is, your data doesn’t get lost if you pull out the batteries.
You can set the Yepp to play in jazz, classic, or rock modes and in 3D. The player comes with Yepp Explorer software that lets you transfer MP3 files from your PC, or vice versa. It has a cable that connects to your machine’s parallel port. However, the port must be configured in ECP mode from the BIOS. So, if you also use a parallel port scanner (that works in EPP mode), you’ll have to keep switching between modes every time you want to change the songs on your Yepp.
|Hardware MP3 player. Price not yet available.
Features: 32 MB memory, upgradable to 64 MB; voice recording; phone book.
Pros: Excellent sound recording; data transferable to a PC.
Cons: Earphones are large and uncomfortable; no provision for power adapter; you can easily press the play button accidentally.
Source: Samsung Electronics
You can also use the Yepp for recording. The sensitivity of its microphone is superb—it can catch voices from as far as 20 feet, and the recording quality is excellent. The Yepp claims to give up to 128 minutes of recording. The Yepp Explorer saves these files in a special format called SC4. There’s also an option to convert them to WAV. You can then play them on your PC through a WAV player. This playback quality is also pretty good. This is a major improvement over the Dictaphone, as you can now store all recordings on your PC.
Another good feature in this player is a phone book where you can store names and telephone numbers for home and office. It even lets you import files from a Microsoft address book such as in Outlook Express, or from a WAB file, which was there with the earlier Internet Mail.
The Yepp has many more features. It could be a great buy depending on its price, which hasn’t been fixed for the Indian market so far. If priced around Rs 5,000, it would be a good buy