There's no need for a tortured intro here: Samsung's latest MP3 player -- the YP-Q1 Diamond -- may be the best it has ever made. We've just been given a pre-production model to play with, and we're totally sold.
Not only does this guy play FLAC audio, it fully supports the BBC iPlayer's downloads. We've been enjoying heaps of iPlayer programmes over the weekend, all of which could've been watched during this morning's commute to the office on the train.
The Q1 comes in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities, with a 61mm (2.4-inch) QVGA display. It has support for MP3, WMA, OGG and FLAC audio formats, WMV and MPEG-4 SP video formats, and JPEG photos. It's got an FM radio and voice recorder too, and should give you up to 30 hours of battery life for music, and 4 for video.
Within minutes of using it, we loved the Q1's menu system. It's a clear, icon-driven effort, with a dead crisp screen. For once we're convinced the touch-sensitive control pad won't force users into an irate frenzy that leads to suicide or, worse, buying something by Katy Perry; it's actually quite usable.
Using iPlayer is a blast, too. On the BBC iPlayer Web site you're now given the option to download a full-resolution version of a programme for playback on your computer, or a smaller version for transfer to a portable device. The latter is a simple direct download from the BBC server (rather than the P2P full version), though you'll need to sync via Windows Media Player. Quality is superb for such a small screen -- only the Creative Zen beats it in terms of capacity and screen quality.
So far we're happy with sound quality as well. Side-by-side with the Creative Zen we got a comparable performance from the Q1, with a generally balanced, clear and punchy sound, with no noticeable distortion or sonic issues. We'll have our usual in-depth analysis for you in our full review, expected very soon.
We really think Samsung may have nailed it with this one. It's easy to use, offers great sound quality and support for lossless audio, provides mobile access to the BBC's awesome catch-up service and all on a large, bright screen.
The player is on sale now at some excellent prices: £59 for 4GB, £79 for 8GB and a full 16GB for £109. We've got a heap of photos for you over the next few pages. -Nate Lanxon