You’ve heard of Samsung – the South Korean consumer electronics behemoth – but have you heard of their P3 portable music player? Probably not, and yet the P3 is yet another highly credible entry into the ‘iPod Touch’–style category of touchscreen portable music players (or more accurately personal media players).
There’s a good reason why this category of personal media players has entrants from every major consumer electronics company, and it’s that these devices make sense. The touchscreen input method, and the fact that these screens are now inexpensive, means that you can have a device where nearly the entire surface area of the device is devoted to the screen .This in turns means a device with a screen big enough for comfortable video watching.
So it is with the Samsung P3, which is 4 x 2 x 0.3 inches and yet boasts a gorgeous 3 inch 16:9 ratio touchscreen. That comes in a mostly textured-metal body which looks sleek and feels sturdy and durable in the hand. The chassis has tactile power-hold and volume control buttons along with a mono speaker which, combined with the built-in Bluetooth and integrated mic, allows the P3 to function as a speakerphone.
Onto to the menus and control system. While maybe not quite on par with the iPod Touch or iPhone, the touchscreen functionality on the P3 is well done, and navigating through the various menus is fast and intuitive. Tapping, double-taping, swiping and dragging are all implemented and work well.
Take a look at the P3’s feature list and you’ll be pleased. Aside from the aforementioned Bluetooth, the P3 also has an FM radio tuner, flash games, voice recording, and an alarm clock feature. It also has extensive support for different multimedia formats. Rounding out the feature set are ‘widgets’ – little applications with cute graphics. There’s a timer, a light bulb app for making the screen brighter, and a globe you can spin to see the time in various world cities.
All very nice, but what about the meat-and-potatoes of a portable media player: sound quality? In short, it’s fantastic. Top-of-the-line, and in addition it has a really strong headphone amp so that you can happily hook it up to a stereo system and blast your tunes out to the world. Audiophiles will be very happy with the P3.
About the only thing the P3 doesn’t have is Wi-Fi. Yes, that’s a pity, but on the other hand browsing the internet or sending emails on a device this size is never that pleasant an experience anyway. Also, you can’t have it all – unless you’re willing to pay for it. And that brings us to the subject of price. What will all this set you back? You’ll be glad you asked, as the P3 is a mere $148 for 8GB, $199 for 16GB, and $299 for 32GB. You’ll notice, as many have before you, that that puts the P3 in a similar price category with the iPod Nano as opposed to the iPod Touch. So the bottom line is that the P3 has: great sound; amazing screen; a compact body, and a cheap sticker price. What more could you want?