4.0 star rating

Samsung U3 Review

$89.00
Pros: Small and light; Includes FM radio tuner; Responsive touchscreen
Cons: No AC charge capability; Cant play music while charging
The Verdict: Samsung's snazzy little MP3 player delivers enough power for the road.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

A portable music device doesn't need to cost hundreds of dollars or start with "i" to play your tunes in style. Samsung's slim U3 provides all the evidence you need to show that an $89 MP3 player can deliver. With 2GB of flash space, a simple touch user interface, a handy plug-in design, and a built-in FM radio, all the bases are covered.
Article Continued Below

 
The size and shape of a pack of gum, the 3.4 x 1 x 0.5-inch player (ours was hot pink) easily clipped onto a pair of gym shorts (with the included attachable clip) and fit into our jeans pockets when walking around the streets of New York City. The device is also available in black, blue, green, and white.
 
Turning the player horizontally lets you control it. To the left, a one-inch, blue-and-black OLED screen is indented into the player, and to the right is the player's smooth, touch-sensitive control pad. You get volume up and down and shuffle keys, which also act as directional arrows within the menus. A dedicated back button lets you maneuver through menus as well. These buttons were very responsive--perhaps too responsive: Even slightly grazing them changed the song. But you can enable the Hold switch on the bottom to restrict those touch-sensitive controls. Along the edges, you'll find a retractable USB adapter, a play/pause/power button, a record/user-defined key, and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. A blue LED indicates whether the player is on or synching. This blue light looks especially cool when playing your tunes and easily lets you locate your player in a bag.
 
Though the device comes with Samsung's proprietary music-synching software, we had no problem getting our music onto the device through Windows Media Player 10. Samsung's Media Studio software was easy to install, and the interface was simple for transferring songs to the device. The U3 can support MP3, OGG, ASF, and WMA files, but not AAC. The U3 organizes music by artist, album, and songs.
 
The included pink earbuds offered good sound clarity. The music was loud enough to hear over blasting gym music and a treadmill. We also tested out the FM tuner while walking around the streets of New York. We got a decent signal and could hear all of our favorite stations, but toggling through the stations was slow with the touch buttons. A dedicated radio button would have solved this problem, since we had to keep quickly pressing the shuffle buttons to move through the channels. The ten presets make toggling through your favorite bookmarked FM stations easier, though. The device's voice recorder works well for quick recordings or quotes, but the built-in mic didn't pick up sound more than five feet away.
 
The rated 15-hour battery life is strong for such a small device, but the U3 fell short of that in our testing, at about 12 hours for general use; nevertheless, it will outlast Apple's shuffle any day. It charges via USB only, with its cool flip-out connector, which means traveling without your laptop is out of the question. On the other hand, we were happy not to have to carry around any extra charging cords; you can't play your music while the device is charging.
 
The U3 exceeded our expectations as an MP3 player and radio. As an inexpensive player, it goes beyond its call of duty with an FM tuner and a voice recorder. Its small, cool design and built-in USB interface make it perfect for those who need music without all the bells and whistles.
 
Suggested Stories:
MP3 Player Gift Ideas 2007
When it comes to MP3 players, there’s Apple, and then there’s everyone else. But this year’s competitors have some pretty cool tricks up their sleeves.

Microsoft Zune Review
The new Microsoft Zune is flash-based and flashy.
Browse our reviews of the latest portable audio/visual devices.

Tags: Samsung U3, MP3 Players, reviews, portable media player, portable media players

Technical Specifications
Samsung U3
www.samsung.com/us


PC InterfaceUSB
Audio FormatsAIFF; ASF; MP3; OGG; WMA; audiobook
Battery Typerechargable
Battery Life15 hours
Wi-FiNo
BluetoothNo
IRNo
FM RadioNo
FM RecordingNo
Voice RecordingNo
Memory TypeFlash
Memory Capacity2GB
Size3.4 x 1 x 0.5 inches
Weight0.8 ounces
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE