Samsung S3 MP3 Player Reviewed

Today we look at a new tune thumper from Samsung, touting their DNSe 2.0 technology.
| Oct 7, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 87%Manufacturer: Samsung

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the BeastArriving on my doorstep recently was a sleek and sultry little number from the big S, their new S3 series MP3 player.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
The player boasts the following specs: Storage Type Flash Memory Capacity Q(2GB) / A(4GB) / C(8GB) Display Type TFT LCD Display Resolution QCIF (176 x 220) Output power(@16 Ohm Earphones) 20mW/Ch (5mW/Ch - FR) Available Color Black, Red Battery type Lithium-Polymer Display Screen 1.8" FM Radio Yes View Picture Yes View Text Yes View Video Yes Game Yes Battery Playback Time (Audio) 25 Battery Playback Time (Video) 4 Music Storage Capacity(@128kbps MP3) 30h (2GB), 60h (4GB), 120h (8GB) Charging Time (PC) 3 Video Storage Capacity 3h 47m (2GB), 7h 34m(4GB), 15h 8m(8GB) Dimensions for Unit W x H x D 44 x 95 x 9.8 Weight for Unit 53 File Format Supported MP3, WMA, MPEG4(SVI), Ogg(UMS Only), JPEG, TXTFM Recording YesAdjustable Play Speed Yes Alarm Yes Album Art Yes User EQ YesPreset EQ Yes
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
The version sent to me by post as pictured is the "pretty in pink" model, because as a modern 20something guy, I'm secure in my manliness...Read on and I'll tell you why the colour will be the least of your worries with this sexy player.

Get Your Groove On

Get Your Groove OnUpon opening up the packaging, the player sits tantalising in a recessed groove which has a little lever at the bottom to extract it from its secure place. This has to be one of the cleverest little packaging gimmicks I've seen in a long time and it makes you feel like you are getting some good design for your money.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
Underneath the player is a set of headphones, a charging cable and software. The headphones are a standard affair, solidly built with a good range, but this is playing it safe as everyone has a different preference in their headphones. The likelihood is that you already own a decent pair of in-ear or noise cancelling headphones if you are much of an audiophile, so the manufacturers can offer a better cost saving to the consumer.Plugging the player in with the USB charge/sync cable and the player lights up to show that it's charging and with a battery level indicator that does tell you when it's done cycling the battery.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
You can sync your S3 with Windows Media Player 11 or with Samsungs own software, "Emodio", which contains many features to build play lists and mix music as well as a music store so you can grab your songs quicker.I chose to go with Windows Media Player 11 as I have my library already archived under it and can easily drag and drop my play lists onto the S3. Loading up takes only a couple of minutes, this thanks to USB2.0 speeds.

It's like a party in my ears...

It's like a party in my ears...Now it's time to test the little pink candy bar to see if it sounds as sweet as it looks! - Firstly, I hook up the supplied headphones to get a base level feel for the units output. The included white headphones performed amicably and I could hear the highs and mids clearly with some bass present, but not a huge amount.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
Hooking up my In-ear headphones, I found a much clearer and cleaner sound from the player with less distortion on the bass and high notes. It's clear that the player has the ability to output good quality bit-rated music, as long as you have some headphones to match. I use these in-ear headphones everywhere these days as I find they give a fantastically clear sound quality while removing a lot of background noises by acting like a set of earplugs.The final test was to jack in my DJ/Reference set of cans to see if the player has the ability to drive a larger set of phones and still maintain the same clear levels. Well, there is no doubt this player has a very clever and powerful amplifier in it, as the sound quality really was fantastic, allowing me to hear to the very limits of the MP3 encoding. In a way it spoils you, like watching TV in high-definition and realising that your favourite actor has suddenly aged now that you can see the wrinkles. With that said, MP3 encoding is starting to show its age, I think.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
Now that the quality tests are over and done with, we can start to mess with the settings to find out really what DNSe 2.0 can do for us.The menu system of the player is fairly intuitive and you will rarely find yourself flummoxed or lost in menus, so it's easy to switch into DSNe 2.0 environments while playing a track. There is a bunch of standard pre-sets offering you EQ boosts and then there are spacial simulators to give the effect of a concert hall or a stadium gig.

Don't Touch That Dial

Don't Touch That DialThere are sound clarity enhancement modes as well as a "street" mode that helps to boost levels that are usually drowned out by street noise. These are very useful if you commute through noisy areas like tube trains or buses and need to crank up the tunes to ignore the weirdo next to you who wheezes and stares.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
The interface is an interesting one, to say the least; it takes time to get used to the lack of tactile feedback from a touch-sensitive surface. This means you have to pay attention to the screen when surfing through menus to make sure that you have pressed the button. There is also support for visually impaired people where the menu is spoken through the headphones.You can customise the look of the menu system with pre-set themes and you can download more themes online. Most have a lot of animation to them and look great, with the added bonus of not slowing up the navigation as button presses override the need for the animation to play through fully.I noticed some pauses while skipping tracks if the player went from a track with no album art to one with album art, however it does not interrupt playback so all you will notice is that it takes a second or two to move on to the next track, should you encounter the same problem.The built-in FM radio receiver performs well in an open area, coming through as clear as most other pocket sized receivers. But as expected, when you enter an enclosed area or a there are many buildings around, there is some loss of signal quality.The games are mildly entertaining too, but not something I think should be a feature on an MP3 player. People don't buy units because they have games; it is budget better spent on refining the abilities of what the player is designed to do.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
Video performance is crystal clear and smooth as well. This is a welcome feature to MP3 players as we soon see pod-casts being replaced by video streaming; people are more likely to subscribe to a video and TV download service where they can catch up on their soaps and shows while on the bus or train to work.The flip side to this, however, is that the screen is far too small to be anything but eye-strain-o-vision if watched for prolonged periods of time. It would be nicer to see players adapt larger screens if they are going to include features such as video playback.

Goes Up To 11

Goes Up To 11Typing up this review, I would say that the Samsung S3 performs fantastically as an MP3 player with plenty of format support and the hardware to please the audiophiles. No matter what choice of headphones you use, I can imagine you will not be disappointed with the sound quality of this unit.
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
The system overall is easy to use and despite the weirdness of the touch sensitive surface, I give it a lot of credit because it just works; something of a rarity as companies try to go for a lot of fancy input methods with some that work well and others can fall flat on their face. With a simple touch interface like this, it just works and there is no ambiguity about pressing the right button.Room for improvement through some haptic feedback would be appreciated; with a button you get a physical click, making a surface do that is harder, granted, but adding a small vibration motor could make the device much more fun and easier to use.I'm also surprised at the lack of Bluetooth in many players on the market. As Bluetooth itself becomes cheaper, I cannot see a reason why it shouldn't be bundled into mid-end units. This would open up a whole new market for wireless headphones and for the manufacturers to make even more money out of us (Yes, I support blatant capitalism).
Samsung S3 MP3 Player
Overall, I would say that this player is a perfect light weight alternative to many similar products on the market such as the iPod and Creative offerings. To top it off, it's very competitively priced too!
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