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Samsung Q2

>> Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Available in black or white, Samsung Q2 looks slick, but it won't win any body battles against the nano its 3.9 by 2.0 by 0.4 inch (HWD) frame is considerably bulkier than the skinny iPod. That said, Samsung Q2 sports a larger screen, measuring 2.4 inches with a 320 by 240 pixel resolution. (The nano's 2 inch screen boasts the same resolution, so it looks a bit sharper.) Below the screen is the now familiar array of Samsung touch sensitive controls when powered up, a central button is flanked by Up, Down, Left, and Right arrows for menu navigation, as well as a backward navigation control and a button that pulls up submenus.

The controls are lightning fast and reliable unlike many touch screens and touch sensitive buttons out there. The player's right hand panel houses a Power, Hold, User, Record switch, the latter of which can be set to control various functions like photo zooming. The lower panel features a headphone jack and the connector for PC syncing, the back panel houses a mic for voice recording, and the top panel has a lanyard loop. Included in the box are better than average earbuds (if only because the foam covers assure they stay in place), a manual, and a proprietary to USB cable to connect the player to your computer.

Suspiciously absent is a CD with file conversion software typically players with limited video format support like the Samsung P3 include one. Speaking of file support : for video, the Q2 plays only WMV and MPEG-4 files. Audio support is also limited to MP3, WMA, OGG, and FLAC, but at least the last two will please fans of lossless compression. It's still a bummer not to see AAC support like the P3 offers especially now that Apple has removed all DRM from its iTunes AAC offerings. The player accepts several photo file types including JPEG, BMP, GIF, and PNG.

The aforementioned earbuds are not nearly as poor as most bundled pairs. They stay in place pretty well, offer some bass response, and don't distort at high volumes. Could your listening experience be improved by swapping them out for Ultimate Ears' US$50 MetroFi 170? Absolutely, but if you combine the Samsung earbuds with the user definable EQ (which also has standard presets like "Rock" and "Classical"), the listening experience on the Q2 isn't bad.

As always, Samsung includes some special effects, like "Audio Upscaler" and "Street Mode." My advice is to leave them alone they're merely boosting some frequencies and cutting others, and rarely do anything useful to the sound. When music is playing, you can choose to view album art or flashy and trippy screensaver animations that, despite being gimmicky, look cool.

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