Now that I have an entire library of CDs available in MP3 format, I want to take some of them out with me when I go for a run or to the gym, when I know I'm going to end up bored in a waiting room somewhere, or even when I want to get away from my computer for a while and go out a walk through the park or along the beach.
With the desire for a portable MP3 player fresh in my mind, I noticed Samsung's Yepp YP-90S, and I was smitten. Maybe it was the MP3 player's smooth curves, LCD display, rocker switch, or the fact it was small enough to almost completely hide in my hand. Whatever it was, it drew me in, and I've been playing with the YP-90S for more than a month now.
Did this pint-sized MP3 player deliver me to portable audio Nirvana, replacing my battered MiniDisc player along the way, or does an annoying personality lurk behind the Yepp's sexy curves? Read on to find out.
The personal audio landscape
Before I get into the specifics of Samsung's YP-90S, I'm going to take a minute to quickly explore the MP3 player landscape. There are a staggering number of options available today if you're looking for a portable audio player; those options can grouped into three main categories, each with its own benefits and caveats.
Unfortunately, because they rely on spinning optical media, skipping can be a problem in extremely rough environments, or if the player has a small or poorly-implemented anti-skip buffer. To retain compatibility with standard CD-R disc dimensions, players need to measure at least 4.5" in diameter, and don't forget the size of the CDs you have to carry around with them to really take advantage of cheap storage density.
Some solid state players allow the use of external solid state memory in Compact Flash, Secure Digital, or Smart Media formats. External media cards can greatly expand a solid state player's storage capacity, but the media itself doesn't come cheap, especially not when compared with the price of a CD-R disc. To their credit, solid state MP3 players are free of mechanical parts and spinning media, so skipping is not an issue.
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