Although I don’t consider myself an ‘audiophile’, sound quality is nonetheless important to me. On this front, the Samsung P2 impresses. Sound quality is top notch and the additional sound customization features provided by Samsung is impressive. There is a 7 band EQ and many EQ presets, which Samsung calls its 2nd generation Digital Natural Sound engine (DNSe 2.0). Furthermore, two options, ‘Clarity’ and ‘Street Mode’ can be set. Enabling Street Mode punches out the mids and highs a bit more, so is useful in situations such as in a car or plane, where lower frequency ambient noise may drown out vocals. Clarity doesn’t really boost high-frequency volume, but seems to instead (as the name would imply) clear ‘fuzz’ around high frequencies. It was especially noticeable when used while listening to some vocal jazz. It did an admirable job of brightening up Mr. Buble’s voice.
I typically don’t like using EQ, but Samsung’s DNSe 2.0 is extremely nice. For example, playing classical music with DNSe set to the ‘concert hall’ preset really does a good job at recreating the effect – in essence by adding just the right amount of reverb. You can get a feel for what these settings entail over at the Samsung site (samsungplay.com). There is also one ‘User’ preset, that allows a customized EQ, bass boost, and ‘3D’ levels to be saved. One thing I’d like to see added to the firmware is the ability to set a specific DNSe preset to each genre of music. This would minimize the need to switch the DNSe setting for differing styles of music.
The device can push a lot of sound. Anything above the midway point on the volume scale becomes quite uncomfortable with the Creative EP630’s or JVC ‘Marshmallows’ in-ear headphones I typically use. The Samsung P2’s amplifier produces the same level of sound from computer speakers at 15/30 (50%) as the iPod at 75-80% volume. This should allow the device to drive higher impedance speakers/headphones without resorting to an external amplifier.
Of all the MP3 players I’ve owned, this one has, by far, the best audio quality I’ve heard. Very impressive Samsung!
Video format support is something that is severely lacking with the Samsung P2. I can usually deal with the limited format support by many MP3 players. After all, almost my entire music collection is in MP3 format, and what MP3 player doesn’t support that? Lots of people clamor for OGG Vorbis or FLAC or whatever support, but I’m not one to join in. However, I know for certain my video media is not in WMV or Samsung’s SVI format. As a result, I have to re-encode all of it from DivX/Xvid to something supported, which is both time consuming and tedious. What it means is that the device will get little use as a video player by me. I wasn’t planning on using it as a video player, but the fact that I can’t easily use it on the fly means it has even less use as one.
However, if you are interested in playing videos on it, make sure it’s in WMV format (chances are, none of your media will be in SVI format to begin with). Samsung bundles a video converter with its Samsung Media Studio; however the converter has very limited compatibility with Divx and Xvid media. None of my videos were able to be converted to work on the P2. Else, you can use one of many free video converters. I tested out one called BADAK that converted videos to work on the Samsung P2 flawlessly.
Samsung is being very aggressive with their rated battery run time of 30-35 hours in music mode. My testing showed that around 25.5 hours of audio playback is possible if the volume is set to 10/30, Bluetooth is disabled, and the display is rarely used. More normal usage of the player (more screen usage) yields around 23-24 hours of continuous music playback. While this is nowhere near Samsung’s advertised runtime, it does compare rather favorably to the iPod Touch, which is only rated at 22 hours of battery life while playing music.
Since no wall charger ships with the device (although Samsung cell phone chargers should work) the only option by default is to charge through USB. With my desktop, the player can be charged even if the computer is turned off. With my laptop (Dell XPS M1330), there is no such capability. The player only charges while the computer is turned on. It will not charge with the laptop in sleep mode either. Charging from USB takes a substantial amount of time, somewhere in the range of 4 hours to charge from completely empty to completely full.