Yet another contender to the iPod nano, the Samsung YP-Z5 is Samsung's attempt at knocking the nano of its perch and stealing the limelight. But can it win us over? We take a closer look.

Black and thin (although slightly thicker than the iPod), the Samsung YP-Z5 front is dominated by two things, the large screen and the control pad.

Aside from a volume rocker switch on the side and the headphones jack on the top, the sleek design offers little else.

The 1.8-inch TFT colour display (0.3 inches larger than the nano) is crisp, bright and clear and understandably is the main point of focus for the player. The interface, designed by the same team behind the first iPod is fast and easy to use, but hindered by poor controls.

The problem exists in the fact that Samsung, it seems, hasn't really decided how it wants you to control the player and it caused us lots of frustration trying to access tracks and images on the player.

Where the YP-Z5 gets confused is that the central d-pad is both a four way d-pad and a touch sensitive control pad at the same time. Confused? We were. Scrolling through song listings requires you to touch the pad, but not depress it too far and while we are sure it sounded like a good idea on paper, in practice it doesn't work.

The problem is further exasperated by the control pad not working in the same way throughout the different modes such as images and music.

Get past this and as we mentioned above the interface is very easy to use and very quick to load and zip through the choices.

As for transferring songs to the player, the manual suggests users will have to use Microsoft's Windows Media Player as this device is branded PlayForSure. However we had no problem connecting it to the Mac in the office, dragging the MP3 files we wanted to transfer over and then them automatically appearing in the player music listings.

Of course those who do want to use Windows Media Player are welcome to and it means that the player is supported by online stores such as Napster, HMV and Virgin Digital and the like, as well as being able to double up and help you transfer your images for viewing later, all with ease.

Like the player, the accessories are short on supply. Samsung limits those in the box to a pair of black earphones and a USB-to-dock cable, sufficient to charge the unit's battery and transfer files across.

That battery is yet another point where Samsung gets one over on it competitor. A boast of 35 hours is considerably more than the nano's 14 and in our tests we've yet to charge the batter having used it on our daily commute for some time.

As for sound the player offers plenty of it and although you can set your own equaliser settings you can choose from up to eight preset option such as Rock, Dance or Classical.

Verdict

Like the iPod, the YP-Z5 doesn't offer an FM radio nor, unlike the iPod nano, the ability to make playlists on the fly if that's your thing.

Unfortunately these, along with a control pad that is just confusing to use, without getting frustrated and for us the YP-Z5 isn't one we would happily recommend.

While the Samsung YP-Z5 will appeal in its design and interface, we would recommend having a play in the shop first before you dive right in.