In the past, Samsung's portable media players have had excellent audio and video quality, but the user experience was marred by some strange design choices. The company's latest, the IceTouch and MyFit, seem to fit into this tradition.
A follow-up to last year's P3, the IceTouch's (YP-H1) oddest feature is its 2-inch transparent AMOLED touchscreen. Yes, I'm confused too and the press images Samsung provided don't really demonstrate how this works. The player seems to be divided between the tempered glass display and a colored skin/grip below it. All of the hardware buttons appear to be located on the edges of the player. Flip the player over, and you'll see a reversed view of the display (shown in the image to the left). Besides the question of usefulness of a transparent display, I'm also concerned that 2 inches simply isn't large enough to comfortably watch videos or provide easy UI navigation.
Like other Samsung players, the IceTouch is quite flexible when it comes to multimedia playback. The player supports MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AAC, M4A, WAV and MP3HD audio codecs, and plays MPEG4, WMV, H.264, Xvid and Divx files. The player also has an FM tuner as well as Samsung's excellent DNSe 5.1 channel sound enhancement technology. It also features a version of Samsung's TouchWiz UI called Sweep. TouchWiz is found on many of the company's smartphones like the Omnia II and the Behold II. I don't mind TouchWiz, but many users find it too cluttered or difficult to use.
For fitness junkies, there's the MyFit (YP-H1), which features "wellness-promoting" technology. If you need help staying on track with your New Year's resolutions, the MyFit will keep you in check with its fat and stress sensors. I'm not exactly sure how these sensors work, but I'm certainly intrigued. The MyFit also has a smoking cessation tool--another feature I can't quite wrap my head around. Some more useful, realistic functions on the MyFit include an accelerometer-based calorie tracker as well as a tap control mode for uninterrupted use during workouts.
The IceTouch and MyFit will be available in the first half of 2010 with 16GB and 8GB capacity, respectively.
I can't make any real assessments until I actually get to play with the IceTouch and MyFit--hey, maybe the transparent touchscreen works quite well. I'll have a closer look at these PMPs on the show floor at CES and follow up with a hands-on review.
For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2010.
This story, "First Look at Samsung's Newest Portable Media Players" was originally published by PCWorld.