Portable TVs have an uncomfortable late-80s feel to them. Back then, we all walked around with handheld gadgets from the future that weren’t really handheld at all – the ‘brick’ style mobile phones and laptop computers that weighed more than today’s desktops.
Samsung look like they might have overcome the stigma of the portable TV. The YH-999 is a world away from the clunky ‘pocket’ sized TVs we were once lumbered with. Although the Samsung doesn’t actually let you watch live TV or record it, it does play back TV, video, photos and music transferred from your Windows PC.
The YH-999 is worth considering if you’re a commuter who’d like to spend the wasted hours of your journey watching last night’s episode of Eastenders, or sobbing along with Elliot when ET dies. There’s nothing quite like senseless outpourings of emotion on a packed commuter train.
We can see how the YH-999 might also appeal to those who need to give media-heavy business presentations but hate carting a bulky laptop around. We did find the Samsung’s short battery life to be something of a turn-off though.
It’s a miracle! A ‘pocket-sized’ device that we could actually fit in our pockets. The YH-999 is portable in real-world terms, not just on the packaging.
Imagine the biggest wallet you’ve ever seen – packed with ten pound notes, credit cards, receipts, business cards spilling out the sides – now you’ve got an idea of the YH-999s size. No one could call it tiny, but it definitely will jam into your jeans.
The YH-999 is finished in anodised silver and it remained unscratched throughout our review. The controls on the front are what you’d expect if you’ve used a video player in the last ten years – power, play, fast-forward, rewind. There’s also a small joypad for navigating through onscreen menus, and a small button with a tiny Windows logo on it to bring up the main menu.
The 3.5 inch colour screen is extremely generous given the limitations of keeping this thing pocket-sized. A solid plastic cover means pressure applied to the Samsung’s screen is distributed across its surface – you’re unlikely to knock this hard enough to do any real damage.
On the top edge of the Samsung there’s connectors for your headphones, and a socket labelled “A/V OUT”. There’s a cable for connecting your TV to the Samsung bundled in the box and this is where it plugs in. On the right edge there’s a rotary volume control and reset button. The YH-999 also has a hold button, power supply socket and USB port.
The USB and power ports are covered by a rubber flap which quickly lost its grip on the ports after a week of use. This will leave an odd rubber tongue dangling off the edge of the YH-999 – which will either amuse or irritate you as it jiggles about. A swift tug on the tongue removes it completely from the chassis.
Finally, there’s a kick-stand on the back of the Samsung which props it up in a vertical position for watching movies on a desk or table.
A 20GB drive seems a bit cruel given that you’re likely to be packing videos onto the Samsung. The manufacturer claims 80 hours of video playback on the YH-999, but this will depend on the level of compression you’re willing to deal with.
Considering the Samsung’s 3 hour video-playback battery life, running out of stuff to watch is not going to be your biggest problem – the battery will expire long before your movies do. If you’re near a power socket, this low battery life won’t be a problem, but since the Y-999 is billed as a portable media centre, it’s cheating to leave the thing constantly plugged into the wall.