Review: Samsung YP-T10

About a month ago, I bought me a Samsung YP-T10 media player. I didn't want a device for which the Linux and/or Ogg Vorbis support was against the explicit wishes of the device's manufacturer, such as in the case of the iPod; because the more devices such manufacturers sell, the more they're encouraged to keep their systems closed. Definately not something I'd like to see.

In that regard, the YP-T10 is pretty okayish. It supports Ogg Vorbis out of the box, and it has a reasonable set of features for a portable media player. It's not perfect, but it goes a long way. The set of features on the device is simply astonishing; apart from the obvious music playback stuff, it sports an FM radio, a text file reader, a voice recorder, a picture viewer, and a movie player. Given the size and clarity of the screen, this is actually a useful way to view a movie clip, too, although not a very comfortable one. Apart from the obvious USB cable, the device also has bluetooth connectivity which can be used to send and receive files, or to connect a bluetooth headset—especially interesting if you consider the modern stereo headphones that sound just like 'normal' headphones. Once you upgrade the firmware, the device gains the ability to play a few games, and to store vCard files. Very impressive, for such a small device.

Unfortunately, not all is well. There's an RSS reader thingy on the device, which could be interesting; but it only works in companion with a Windows program, which obviously doesn't run on my (powerpc) laptop. There's only one way to charge the battery, and that's by connecting the device to a USB port. Unfortunately, that also means you cannot use the device while it's charging, since it switches to the MTP mode in which to receive files. That also goes for bluetooth, BTW -- if you're playing something, and the device receives bluetooth data, the playback is paused until receiving that data is finished.

The USB cable is a nonstandard one. Given my track record of losing cables and stuff, I'm sure I'll get in trouble at some point. Hopefully Samsung will still sell those at that point. If not, well, I guess I'll see what happens then. Another point of this cable is that it's impossible to remove it from the device while the headphones are connected; you have to push a button which is physically placed in the direction of the headphone connector, about a millimeter away from it—not very interesting if I just want to connect the device to store one or two media files on there...

The headphones that came with the device were not too bad, but the protective sleeves that came with it were too loose; after about a week or so, I'd lost both of them and had to buy me a new set of headphones. Luckily, that involves a simple standard headphone connector, so no problem there.

All these are just minor annoyances, however. I don't really need an RSS reader, anyway. What really is a problem is the lack of tag support in Ogg files; while I can at least play them, the display will show 'Unknown' for artist, album, or title for any Ogg file—which is a real PITA.

Altogether, however, I don't think the disadvantages of the device outweigh the advantages, and I've had quite some fun with it already. Having said that, given the lack of tag support in Ogg files, I don't feel I can really recommend it, at least not if you want to use it to play your Ogg Vorbis collection.