A pink polka-dot MP3 player with one button for control, the Samsung TicToc is more than just a fashion accessory but a surprisingly easy to use and very portable music player
Apple's stylish iPod line-up has long provided the blueprint for which most other MP3 players follow. But just as Apple has forsaken its iPod shuffle's iconic buttonless design, Samsung has gone the other way with its cute TicToc player.
This tiny rectangular unit is operated using various combinations of hand shakes and presses of the power button - a design that works surprisingly well.
Underneath the Samsung TicToc's pink polka dot case with clip (also available in blue), you'll find a row of what look like touch-sensitive buttons, enabling you to play, pause or skip a track.
In fact, these are just LEDs. You need to remove the Samsung TicToc from its case only to charge it, which is handy given that the clip-on lid has no permanent attachment to the case to prevent you from losing it.
At the top of the Samsung TicToc unit is a headphone jack that's well placed for pocket operation. This doubles as a dock connector, with a small reset button below. At the other end of the Samsung TicToc is a large pink multifunction button: hold the device upright and it increases the volume; hold it upside down to decrease it.
With the Samsung TicToc on its side, a single press of the power button skips to the next track, two presses play the previous track, and three presses skip to the next album.
With no pause function, hold down the power button to switch off the device; the track resumes at the same point when you turn it on again. This quickly becomes second-nature - but, if you're already confused, there's more to come.
Shake rattle and roll
The Samsung TicToc player is also shake-operated. Three shakes switch between Normal, Shuffle, Fast and Slow play modes, while a single shake invokes the music voice guide - more on this later. Requiring a rather vigorous shake, the voice guide shouldn't accidentally kick in mid-track too often - and it took some practice to get the hang of switching the play mode.
The Samsung TicToc device is plug and play, and docking it to a Windows PC kickstarts the installation of a music manager. Using this program, you can carry on listening to music stored on the player while the headphone jack is occupied. You can drag-and-drop or delete MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, Flac and WAV tracks and albums, adjust the volume and play mode, update the firmware, analyse the tempo of your music and view a tutorial.
You can also find out the amount of memory remaining in the Samsung TicToc - with 4GB the maximum capacity available, and with no way of supplementing storage, this could be important.
What's missing here from the Samsung TicToc is playlists - but the tempo analysis and voice guide meant we quickly forgot this.
The former analyses the tempo of your songs and chooses them based on the play mode (you can override this if you disagree); the latter, just like its Apple equivalent, tells you the name of the song you're listening to, the play mode and battery level - handy, given that there's no LCD screen to display this information.
Samsung supplies a pair of pink and white in-ear headphones with the Samsung TicToc, and a choice of silicones to fit your ear canal.
We found these fairly comfortable to wear, but their standard 3.5mm connector mean you can easily substitute an even better pair. As we noted earlier, you can also use the supplied software as a media manager, bypassing the headphones entirely.
The Samsung TicToc uses Samsung’s Digital Natural Sound Engine 3.0 to ensure strong audio quality. This offers seven audio modes, including Auto, Normal, Studio, Rock, R&B, Dance and Concert Hall. Sound quality was pretty good for a low-cost MP3 player, but it deteriorated as we turned up the volume.
Samsung quotes a 12-hour battery life for the Samsung TicToc. Given that the device is charged using a USB docking station, rather than a simple cable, this is good news.
Although it's very small, the charging dock isn't something we'd want to carry around for when our player runs out of juice - something that would hinder the pocketability factor of this miniscule 18x18x36mm device.
During charging, the play LED lights up; once fully charged, the skip LED glows instead.
To help get you started with the Samsung TicToc, 50 free MP3s and one audiobook are provided as part of a 14-day emusic.com subscription, and you get to keep the tracks if you decide to cancel.
The singer had this to say about the device: "The Samsung Tic Toc [sic] is the cutest MP3 player ever! It's officially my new favourite accessory and the perfect size to take with me wherever I go. What I really love about it is I can control my music while I'm dancing by shaking it to skip tracks."
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