Admittedly I’m not a big fan of MP3 Players without screens since I like to be able to browse what is one my player, but I do see their appeal. Samsung is the third major brand to release a screenless player right after the Shuffle and the Zen Stone. While players lacking screen lack overall functionality the do their best and make up for it in style. Samsung has done a good job with the S2’s design making it more of a wearable accessory with the lanyard style headphones.
If I had to choose one of these faceless players, the S2 may be it since I get a kick out of the glossy finish and extended on the go playlist functions. If you are looking for something simple, please read on.
- Quick Look
- File Type: MP3, WMA, OGG
- Max Folders: 2000
- Max Files: 2000
- Rated Battery: 13 Hours
- Dimensions: 1.62 x 1.67 x .66 in
- Weight: 0.61
- Colors: Black, Green, Purple, Pearl White, Red
Inside The Box
The S2 includes very little, yet everything you need: The player, USB to 3.5mm jack adapter, headphone lanyard and Samsung Media Center software.
Similar to the Zen Stone, the S2 has a polished river-stone-like design. It is fairly light, almost a bit hollow, but the buttons are tight and on point. It is slightly larger than the Zen Stone, but the ultra smooth finish makes is much more fun to hold in your hand.
With the minimalistic design, one sacrifice had to be made; There is no standard USB plug. Transferring media is handled though the 3.5mm jack. So you will have to carry along an addition plug, but not a bid deal since its compact (although something that is easy to lose).
The S2 works like a standard thumb drive: plug and play, drag and drop media transfer. Its stated on the package that only Windows is supported but it will work with any modern OS including Mac or Linux. Samsung likely says they only support Windows since the included Samsung Media Player is Windows only, but this software is totally unnecessary. It’s just another media player and doesn’t offer too much beyond what drag and drop would offer as far as filling up your player. Keep is simple and avoid installing Samsung Media Player.
Media can be separated into folders with limits of 2000 folders and 2000 files. This is not so much a limit since you can only fit about 200 songs at an average of 5MB per file on the 1GB capacity. The files will playback in sequential order by file name and sequentially by file folder name.
Playback is obviously very simple with 5 basic buttons controlling pause/play/power, volume up, volume down, forward, backward. Anyone can pick up the player and operate it. However, there are some advanced features for a screenless player that are available with an additional smart button. The smart button will allow you to allow you to turn off the LED, enter shuffle mode, enable DNSe sound enhancement, and even add songs to the on the go playlist. Granted these features have a bit of a learning curve and may require reading the manual, but its great that they are there.
The playlist feature is really unique for a player without a screen. It will only allow you to have 30 songs on it max but still much better than nothing.
If you have VBR files you may want to think twice about the S2 since there are some issues with being able to skip backwards in your track list. Samsung warns of this in the instruction booklet and I have confirmed it. At times it will not allow you to go skip back one track while listening to an VBR encoded MP3s.
The sound quality is mediocre at best so this is not a player for the discerning ears. It simply lacks overall dynamics. However if you are using the supplied headphones, since they work well to wear
the player, you will not care too much about the utmost sound quality.
DNSe: There are three modes of a sound enhancement operated by the smart button: normal(off), Studio, and Concert DNSe modes. In all honesty they are rather useless, both modes make your music sound fake or like you are listening in a tunnel. I never liked DNSe on any of Samsung’s player’s but it’s there if that is your thing.
While there is not much to a screenless MP3 player, the S2 has managed to pull off some advanced features like DNSe sound enhancements and a single on the go playlist. The S2 is not the best bang for the buck, since something with a screen at the same price like the Sansa Clip easily would take the cake. However, this is not to say the S2 should be dismissed. The design is fun, fashionable, and easy to wear with the included lanyard earbud combo. The S2 definitely gets a nod of approval.
You can pick up this player at the cheapest price with free shipping and no taxes on Amazon.