At £99 inc VAT, the Samsung YP-T9JQB is an affordable alternative to the iPod nano.

The thoughtfully designed Samsung YP-T9JQB comes at a fair price, but its audio quality is a bit patchy.

The Samsung YP-T9JQB is small and light, fits easily into your hand, and has a smooth, attractive surface. The Samsung YP-T9JQB we tested comes with 2GB of internal flash memory, but a 4GB unit is available for a little more

Unlike the iPod nano, the Samsung YP-T9JQB has a built-in FM radio for when you need a break from your own sounds, and a built-in microphone for recording voice memos.

The four-way navigation control and select button on the front of the Samsung YP-T9JQB are easy to operate with your thumb. Dedicated buttons on the side include controls for quickly accessing menus, playing and pausing music, and recording from the microphone or radio. The buttons are relatively easy to reach with your right thumb, although their tiny labels are hard to read.

We found the Samsung YP-T9JQB's 1.8in LCD screen - which has attractively animated menus - bright and easy to read. You wouldn't want to watch a whole movie on the 208-by-176-pixel screen, but you can probably enjoy watching short videos.

The Samsung YP-T9JQB's screen is certainly brighter and sharper than the OLED screens used by several rivals, such as the Creative Zen V Plus, although constant use is likely to drain the battery faster. Like most flash-based players, the Samsung YP-T9JQB has a lithium-polymer battery that you recharge from a USB port when you hook it up for syncing.

The Samsung YP-T9JQB is PlaysForSure Audio certified, meaning that it can play Windows Media files encoded with Microsoft's digital rights management system. That gives you a choice of online music stores for downloading songs, including Napster, Rhapsody, Wal-Mart, and Yahoo. While it plays regular MP3 files, it doesn't support other formats, such as Ogg Vorbis.

The T9 comes with Samsung's Media Studio software for uploading music to the player, but Windows Media Player also works well for syncing. Because the Samsung YP-T9JQB supports only the MPEG-4 video codec, you must use Media Studio to transcode other formats for watching on the player. However, you usually benefit from reduced file size as the software fits the video to the Samsung YP-T9JQB's small screen's resolution. You can view JPEG images on the player and, while you're listening to music, display the album's cover art.

In our audio-quality tests, the Samsung YP-T9JQB earned a rating of Good. It produced especially clear sound at high volumes and performed well at reproducing a wide range of frequencies. However, we measured very high levels of noise in our distortion test, and the Samsung YP-T9JQB's signal-to-noise ratio was below average.

The Samsung YP-T9JQB's built-in equaliser lets you adjust the sound to your taste. You can choose from 11 presets, and customise a nine-band EQ.

Samsung YP-T9JQB: Specs

  • Bluetooth multimedia player
  • 2GB memory (4GB available)
  • LCD screen: 1.8in, 262,000 colours, 176x200
  • audio file formats: MP3, WMA, OGG
  • JPEG images
  • MPEG-4 video
  • Bluetooth connection
  • USB 2.0 cable included
  • 42.6x83x11mm
  • 49g
  • radio FM RDS
  • Bluetooth multimedia player
  • 2GB memory (4GB available)
  • LCD screen: 1.8in, 262,000 colours, 176x200
  • audio file formats: MP3, WMA, OGG
  • JPEG images
  • MPEG-4 video
  • Bluetooth connection
  • USB 2.0 cable included
  • 42.6x83x11mm
  • 49g
  • radio FM RDS

OUR VERDICT

For such a neat little player, the Samsung YP-T9JQB comes at a very competitive price. It's a shame that the audio quality falls short in a couple of areas.

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