Initial impressions of the Samsung Z5F
2 minutes read

I have been walking to and from work lately and have become increasingly restless over not having anything to listen to, so I bought a small media player, a Samsung Z5F. First impression is it’s tiny. Really tiny and I used a little while to get used to touch-buttons. Upgrading the firmware is trivial, both from Linux and Windows: the firmware download is a zip file, inside there’s .dat file which you place in the root directory. When you disconnect, the player says “new firmware detected. Upgrade?“, I answered yes (who wouldn’t? It gives me 30% better battery life and gapless MP3 playback), it rebooted, upgraded itself and rebooted again. After a long (probably 15-20 seconds) wait where it just displayed the Samsung logo, during which I was a bit scared it was bricked, it booted up fine.

It works well, it plays music and podcasts, but I have run into one strange problem with it. I was about 13 through the latest episode of Lugradio when I wanted to go ten seconds back to catch something somebody said, but it entirely failed to seek backwards. It seems like it either doesn’t support seeking in big .ogg files or doesn’t support seeking in big files or doesn’t support seeking in .ogg files. Anyway, annoying bug. I’m going to download the MP3 instead to see if it has the same problem or not.

Apart from that, it’s a lovely, tiny little player with 44 hours of battery life and 4GB storage. Nice little toy.

Update (2006-12-26): I got an email from one of the firmware developers about the problem of seeking in large Ogg Vorbis streams and this is now fixed. The fix isn’t public yet, but is somewhere in Samsung’s QA chain. And the problem is only large Ogg Vorbis files, not large MP3s, so it can be worked around in most cases. Yay!

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