MP3, Mobiles and Digicams: Is it really a good choice to buy those multi-function phones?

samsung-e3For many people who purchase these items regularly, the following MP3 player ‘review’ is probably old hat. I didn’t buy an MP3 player since my first one… OK, it’s got 64MB internal, plus external, it can accept external cards… Anyone care to guess how long ago that was? So I am a little out of the loop in that respect…

So, on Saturday we were shopping in the local Carrefour when my wife expressed her interest in buying a small type MP3 player, something she could use easily and slip intor her bag… So we perused all the sixty or seventy types on offer: a lot of cheaper OEM type stuff, a few notables, including Creative, Ipod and Sony, and a bunch of other tweenies.

I explained the plus and minuses of each model, including the fact that Sony and Ipod tend to use proprietary technology that makes some things much harder, including copying and adding MP3 files, as well as requiring additional software other than a file system! So, we settled on the Samsung model pictured (the YP-E3), priced at about NT$1800 only.

“The digital audio player is a flash-based USB stick DAPS and offers lithium-ion battery. The YP-E3 delivers color screen with four texts and an ability to display song lyrics. The YP-E3, a portable music player comes with: 1GB memory, an OLED screen, FM tuner, DNSe sound enhancement technology, Dimension – 2.85″ x 0.91″ x 0.47 and Length – 50mm.” (Quoted).

In addition, we found that we can squeeze about 10-11 hours on each charge. But most surprisingly we found that the sound quality that was reproduced in the earphones was excellent. That was the best thing about this.

My only two concerns: losing it because it’s pretty small as you know, and getting a battery replacement (let’s hope the battery lasts more than a year!).

So, in this unreview (because the product isn’t new!), I’m just going to share the few observations we had about buying this and many similar devices.

  • #1: if you are a regular user of some smaller devices, like notebooks, mobile phones, and MP3 players, etc.. it’s really quite amazing to see how far and fast products develop in a number of fronts. Even products just a year old look quite dated.
  • #2: If you are looking for excellence in any particular area, don’t bother with the multi-function devices such as phones, etc.. They all involve some kind of compromise in some ways. You will only be disappointed. If you do find a phone with good camera functions, the MP3 player will be crappy.
  • #3: If you buy a multi-function device, like a mobile phone: with MP3, Tuner, Phone, Camera, etc.. all thrown in, when the device breaks down, you lose the function of ALL the devices!
  • #4: When these devices do break down, and they do, often they are designed just to be thrown away. There’s really nothing TO repair. Many of the lower priced items, such as MP3 players, Palms, etc. will just end up in the consumer’s garbage can. It’s certainly much cheaper to replace an MP3 player than a mobile phone, and many cameras (of FAR better quality) are usually cheaper than their Phone equivalents (if you can find one).
  • #5: When you have more than one device, you’ll find that using them at the same time won’t present that much of a problem: you can listen to your MP3 player AND look at your pictures AND answer the phone AT THE SAME TIME if you need to. You can also lend one of them to your buddies!

While it’s a hassle to carry about a camera, MP3 player and a phone, you’ll find that there are a lot of hidden benefits: non-interdependence, wider choice, better quality for each device. And of course, you are not locked into contracts, providers, or ‘unlocking’ issues with devices (unlike the iPhone!).