Reviewer: Alex Kidman
Samsung’s YP-T9B strongly resembles a mobile phone in design terms, and offers a similar sleek and enjoyable audio and viewing experience, especially through a pair of Bluetooth headphones, although you do pay a premium price for the experience.
Before you switch it on, you could almost convince anyone that the YP-T9B is a mobile phone, or perhaps even a PDA, encased in glossy black plastic and with an absolute minimum of adornments. It’s a quite eye-catching player that feels pleasant in the hand and is quite simple to use. The YP-T9B has a simple control set that comprises a four-way directional pad on the front beneath a 4.5 cm (1.8 inch) LCD screen, while controls on the side cover volume, voice recording and menu selection chores.
The YP-T9B’s menu motif is bright, large and easy to figure out, with a cascading series of buttons to flick between covering all of the YP-T9B’s features. It’s a quite impressive player on the features front, with support for music playback (MP3, WMA, OGG), video (which has to be converted using Samsung’s Media Studio application) text reading, radio, voice recording, games and photo browsing.
The big differentiator that puts the YP-T9B ahead of the pack is the inclusion of support for Bluetooth headphones – none is supplied in the box, but if you’ve got a Bluetooth headset it’s quite simple to pair them up with the YP-T9B and avoid having cables messing up your shirt at all.
We tested the YP-T9B with both wired and wireless Bluetooth headphones. Predictably, you get a tiny pair of headphones in the box, but like most bundled headphones they’re not too much to get excited about, and a good quality pair of headphones will serve you better in the long run. The YP-T9B’s menu interface took us a little while to get to grips with, and it’s just a touch slower than some competing models, but this is really only a problem if you’re the type of person who likes to quickly flick through selections; for most intents and purposes it’s fine.
The YP-T9B will act as a standard USB device, and appears to synchronise with Windows Media player, but we were only able to get the drive to actually recognise tracks uploaded to it using Samsung’s own Media Studio application. This also acts as a file conversion utility for video files. Smaller clips converted quickly to the YP-T9B, although we were never able to get larger downloaded videos onto the system for reasons that elude us.
The display is acceptable for one its size, more suited to short clips regardless; while there’s the capacity for longer video we can’t imagine watching the YP-T9B’s landscape oriented screen for any appreciable length of time.
Bluetooth pairing with the YP-T9B went seamlessly; we tested with a Nokia BH-501 headset, and quickly were able to listen without wires. By default Bluetooth is off, but once you switch it on it defaults that way, so if you’re only intermittently using the Bluetooth function, you need to remember to switch it off to preserve battery life.
With an asking price of $289 for the 2GB YP-T9B ($369 for the 4GB model) it’s a somewhat pricey player. You do get a large feature set, and the wireless Bluetooth playback is very appealing, as is the sleek design of the player itself.