As promised in my review of the Samsung YP-P2 MP3 player, here is an update on the player with the new Bluewave firmware. I was going to write an update on the new features added in the first Bluewave firmware update (v. 2.08), but by the time I got around to that, Bluewave 2, version 3.07, was already out, so I decided to write about both of them together. However, as Samsung would have it, a further revision to Bluewave 2, version 3.15, was released a week ago. Aside from one change, it’s functionally the same as the version 3.07, which I’ve been using for a few weeks.
The biggest set of features for the Bluewave updates is the enabling of more Bluetooth functionality, specifically the ability to make and take phone calls on the P2 as well as file transfer. Once you’ve paired a cell phone with the Samsung P2, incoming calls will interrupt your music, and you can choose the take a call directly from the player interface, without accessing your cell phone at all. Furthermore, you can choose to make outgoing calls, at which point a number pad appears on the screen and you can dial a phone number. You can also transfer contact information from your cell phone (if that is supported by your phone) and use that to initiate calls.
Bluetooth file transfers are also enabled. I’ve tried sending a few MP3s between my cell phone and the P2 and it worked perfectly. Although I’d imagine it would be technically possible to enable some sort of Bluetooth sync for your music library, the limited speed of even Bluetooth 2.0 means that transferring a large amount of data isn’t very reasonable, especially since Bluetooth range isn’t up to par with Wi-Fi either. Still, for transferring a couple songs here and there, it would be acceptable, and would make it a little more convenient than having to dig out the USB cable to send over a song or two. Perhaps Samsung could consider enabling that functionality in a future firmware update.
Bluewave 2 (v. 3.07) didn’t add any further Bluetooth functions, but it did seem to vastly reduce pairing time between my Sony Ericsson K790a and the Samsung P2. Pairing between the two didn’t seem very reliable in v. 2.08 (on occasion, they would be unable to connect), but with 3.07, this has been improved.
UI and Emoture
Bluewave 1 (v. 2.08) brought some user interface changes, including a modified Now Playing screen, taking better advantage of the real estate by increasing the size of the album art or visualization. In all the browsing interfaces, more room is given to the scroll bars, making it easier to quickly scroll through lists.
Bluewave 2 (v. 3.07) brought several feature additions for the user interface as well the supported touch gestures. Now in photo and video modes, double tapping will zoom in, while drawing a circle with the finger in photo or text viewer mode will rotate the viewing orientation.
Browsing by albums now presents a new interface mode. Up to 5 album covers are arranged in a semi-circle. The list is advanced either by swiping up and down or by tapping on the album covers.
One improvement, that was oft requested, is the ability to delete files directly on the player. There’s no need to remember photos or music that you no longer want on the player until the next time you sync with your computer. Now, you can go ahead and delete them right in the File Browser.
The user now has the ability to record FM radio. A record button is conveniently placed in the radio user interface. Recordings are done in MP3 format at 128kb/s.
Bluewave version 3.15’s only improvement as far as I can tell is a new ‘instant startup’ feature. If the player is ‘asleep’, turning it back on will bring you immediately to whatever screen you left off at. Previously, you’d have to wait through Samsung’s startup screen, which took 10 seconds or so.
I think one of the biggest bonuses of all these firmware improvements is the fact that Samsung is listening to the user community and actively supporting this device. The Samsung P2 was already a great MP3 player, but these continued feature additions by Samsung has made it even easier and more fun to use.