• Jeremy See

Review: Is the PSR-E273 (YPT-270) Yamaha's Best Beginner Keyboard?

Updated: Aug 13, 2020


Review:

Yamaha PSR-E273 (YPT-270)

$129 USD


Whilst unboxing the Yamaha PSR-E273, you get a user manual and a music rest made of plastic out of the box which is very solidly built. The keyboard itself is a a beautiful, plastic keyboard with a glossy base with matte bits and pieces. Even though this is made completely from plastic, there is a certain degree of quality feel to it. There isn't any flex even when I tried to press it down pretty hard in the middle. There is a little bit of flex on the base of the keyboard, but nothing that actually feel like it’s going to break off. It can be powered by using an AC adapter (they may or may not provide it depending on where you live), and also by using AA batteries. The speaker grill found on this keyboard is better than those found on the PSR-E363. The LCD screen is unfortunately not backlit and thus, can be hard to see when in a lowly lit room.


The keys on the PSR-E273 are really glossy and made of hard plastic. Unfortunately, the keys are not touch-sensitive, which means that no matter how hard or how softly you hit the keys, it will not affect the volume or the dynamics of the instrument, which is not ideal when it comes to expressing acoustic instruments.



Let's take a look at it's interface,


The volume knob has a nice quality feel and moves pretty smoothly. The little jelly knobs does feel slightly premium, but it is quite a bit of a dust magnet as well.



Keyboard Features (+ 3 Brand New Features)



The PSR-E273 boasts of this "Portable Grand" button which allows you to go back to the grand piano voice no matter which setting you are at. This proves to be a very convenient feature when playing the keyboard.


On the rear panel, you get an opt-in where you can plug in your mobile devices and stream your music from your phone or your tablet and a headphone jack that you can also use to plug into an amplifier if you so desire. There is also a sustain pedal input jack for more granular control over your sustain. However if you do not have a sustain pedal, the PSR-E273 consists of a panel sustain to simulate a sustain pedal. Of course, it will not be of the quality of a proper, physical sustain pedal, but it does get the job done. In addition to that, you also get 3 wide stereo modes to simulate a wider sound than you already have! However, there is no USB MIDI port on this keyboard which is a shame for a keyboard of this price.


The Yamaha PSR-E273 also has the phrase recorder, which is essentially a very simple, single-track, one-song recorder. However, you do get the usual lesson feature with about 112 songs from Yamaha.


The speakers are 2.5W on each side, and are as powerful as the more expensive PSR-E363. The best thing is, even when the volume is pushed to the maximum, there is no distortion of the sound whatsoever!



New Feature #1

New User Interface


The new colour-coded interface on the Yamaha PSR-E273 proves to be very logical and user friendly. It allows for a smoother and more straightforward selection of voice, song and style as you can follow the colours on the interface. For example, if you are trying to select a style, which is coloured in a mustard colour, you would then go to the group that has the same colour to select the different categories of your style. Once the category has been selected, you can actually use your "+" and "-" buttons to increment or decrement to the exact style that you want.


Other than the colour-coding of the interface, there is also this nifty "Num Lock" feature that allows you to do a quick number selection of styles, songs and voices if you hold this button down. For example, if you want to choose a piano voice which is the number 003, you hold the "Num Lock" button button down and punch in 0-0-3 to get the voice immediately. This is a very smart feature that I am very impressed by!



New feature #2

Smart Chord Mode


Instead of the usual single fingered and multi-finger mode that is found in Yamaha keyboards, now, Yamaha has included just the multi fingered mode as well as the smart chord mode. This mode means that it no longer requires more than two fingers to produce a chord. In the previous models, if you wanted a major chord, you just have to press a single finger which is really easy. However, if you wanted a minor chord, you still have to press two different fingers. With this new smart chord, what it does is that it will play the chords diatonically based on the key or scale that you selected.


For example, in the key of C, when you press this, this will appear as a C chord. When you press the key after that, it will not be the D chord, instead, it will end up as a D minor chord. When you press the fifth chord, it will appear as a G dominant seven chord. It’s pretty intelligent in the fact that if you were to press the seventh note, going by the diatonic scale, you should get a pretty complex chord, which is called the B minor seven flat five chord, all by pressing one single finger.


New Feature #3

Quiz


This "Quiz" button leads to the PSR-E273's quiz mode. There are 3 different modes that has 3 levels respectively that you can access with this quiz mode. With the invention of the internet and the advancement of smartphones and tablets, there are lots of musical apps out there which does the quiz mode in a more interactive and exciting manner. This quiz mode would thus not be a strong factor in purchasing this keyboard, but it is something new about the Yamaha PSR-E273 that is worth noting.



Keyboard Sound



The sound quality of the PSR-E273 is definitely decent, but there is no real quality development from the previous models. It still uses the same AWS sampling technology and keeps the same 32 notes of polyphony. It does give you 143 styles (which comes with an intro, ending, 2 style variations, and 2 different fillings to lighten up your pieces).


On the PSR-E273, you get 401 voices that is divided into 10 different categories which is an improvement of 1 voice from the previous model. This additional voice is actually a "SFX kit" which comes with a couple of effects and a few different reverb effects as well. You can also control the amount of reverb you send to the voices and accompaniment. In addition to that, it also boasts of a couple of different chorus effects for a richer sound. You also get 15 preset dual layer voices, but you are unable to layer and split the voices according to the way you want it.


However, even though you have all these different effects and voices you can play around with, you are not able to store your registration setting on this keyboard. This means that you have to manually set all your effects and voices from scratch to produce that same sound every time you want to play a new song. This is definitely something to keep in mind when looking to purchase this keyboard.



Conclusion


In conclusion, the Yamaha PSR-E273 has no touch-sensitive keys and does not have any MIDI capabilities and therefore it doesn't scream a “value buy”. However, it is still a very decent keyboard with really nice sound and it's something that any beginner will be happy with. I hope that this article was informative for you and helped you in making your decision to purchase the Yamaha PSR-E273. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest prices.


Take a look at my other articles to find the perfect instrument that would suit your needs and objectives! If you want to learn how to play the songs with rhythm and chords like this, make sure you check out my online course that I will link here.




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