Hands-On with the Samsung YP-P2 (Verdict: We Like, But Not a Lot)S

We played with the Samsung YP-P2 all-touch-screen digital audio player at their IFA booth. The machine feels good: light, sleek and slim. But when it comes to the touchy-touchy action, don't expect an experience like the one you get with the iPhone UI (or the rumored iPod Touch for that matter.) In a word: crude.

Hands-On with the Samsung YP-P2 (Verdict: We Like, But Not a Lot)S

Hands-On with the Samsung YP-P2 (Verdict: We Like, But Not a Lot)S

Hands-On with the Samsung YP-P2 (Verdict: We Like, But Not a Lot)S

Hands-On with the Samsung YP-P2 (Verdict: We Like, But Not a Lot)S

The flash-based user interface in the YP-P2 is an evolution of Samsung's previous generation multimedia players. It looks polished, but you quickly discover that the touchscreen implementation doesn't seem slick enough, always requiring you to push buttons to get it to do stuff. Moving from image to image, for example, is not gesture based: you have to hit a tiny button on either side of the screen to keep on moving.

The blue thing in the center is not a electrostaticmagickalifragilistic glowing home button like I previously thought. Apparently, it's just a power indicator (or we were too stupid to make it work for whatever thing it does do. Maybe it glows blue to indicate that Bluetooth is active, and green when the machine is but not using Bluetooth.) To go back in the interface you have to click a tiny button in the user interface, which changes position depending on the orientation of the interface. For example, the image viewer uses an landscape UI while the radio uses a portrait one.

In the main menu you can swipe your finger over the surface to change function and that's about all the gestures you can use in the YP-P2. Whenever you rub your finger against the screen you will get a clunky movement, rather than the flowing hot-butter motion of the iPhone interface. And of course, forget about accelerometer-based tricks too: the YP-P2 will show photos in the orientation they come from the computer, no magic at all.

The screen quality is quite good. Movies and pictures looked fine on its 480 x 272 pixels 16:9 3-inch screen. The hardware also felt good in the hand, extremely light at 3oz (85g.) and quite slim, measuring 3.9 x 2 x 0.38 inches (100 x 52 x 9.9 mm). Beyond the usual radio and WMA, MPEG4, MP3, WMV and JPG playback, one nice feature is the addition of Bluetooth 2.0 for wireless headphones.

So yes, the Samsung YP-P2 is a nice multimedia player, but you can't avoid comparing it to the iPhone, which is clearly the current standard on touchscreen-based user interfaces. Like yesterday's LG KU990 Viewty, you can clearly see that while companies like Samsung and LG have some of the hardware solution to release a touchscreen-based product, they seem to lack the software to make it all work as the iPhone shows it all can work.