Samsung K3 Review

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$119
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Slim, attractive design; Animated icons; Long battery life

The Cons

Bundled headphones not as good as the K5's; Headphone jack located on the bottom of the player; Can't create playlists on the fly

Verdict

Samsung ditches the K5's speakers for a slicker, more streamlined device.

When we reviewed the Samsung K5a few months ago, we were impressed by the music player's long battery life, good sound quality, and unique (although somewhat gimmicky) slide-out speaker, which essentially made the K5 the world's smallest boom box. With the K3, the follow-up to the K5, Samsung ditches the chunky speaker to create a thin and sexy streamlined MP3 player that rivals the iPod nano's design.

Samsung sent us a preproduction 2GB model, and after unboxing it, we were instantly impressed by the K3's new slimmed-down design. Currently available in either a glossy black or red finish (with a green model hitting select locations soon), and weighing only 1.8 ounces, the K3 stashes away nicely in even the tightest pockets. Samsung kept the same blue-and-white touch-sensitive controls that made navigating the K5 a breeze. And, like its predecessor, scrolling through menus on the 1.8-inch display is a visual treat as the animated icons warp and morph into one another as you cycle through them.

The player produced stellar sound from our MP3 and WMA files once we swapped out the bundled earbuds. Unlike the K5's rubber-tipped earbuds, which are the best sounding and most comfortable bundled earbuds we've ever used, these were standard fare; hard and difficult to place in the ear properly.

The K3 supports music from subscription services such as Napster, Rhapsody, URGE, and Yahoo, but music fans who want to take advantage of Apple's new DRM-free iTunes are snubbed, as the K3 doesn't support AAC files. As with the K5, you can createJPEG slideshowsset to music, although the images are a bit dim. The K3's battery is rated at a staggering 25 hours per charge and we saw a very impressive runtime of 21 hours and 14 minutes on our tests.

Although the removal of the integrated speaker gives the K3 its nano-like look and feel, this player lacks one of the K5's coolest features: The built-in alarm clock that could be set to chime with your audio file of choice. As with the K5, users can't create playlists on the fly; WMP, Napster, or Yahoo are required to create and transfer playlists. Samsung also includes an FM radio with 30-presets that offers decent but not spectacular reception.

If you liked the Samsung K5's look, feel, and touch-sensitive interfacebut weren't too keen on the bulky speaker, the K3 may be the right player for you.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Display 1.8 inches
PC Interface USB
Audio Formats MP3
Audio Formats WMA Protected
Audio Formats WMA
Photo Formats JPEG
Battery Type rechargable
Battery Life 25 hours
Wi-Fi No
Bluetooth No
IR No
FM Radio No
FM Recording No
Voice Recording No
Memory Type Flash
Memory Capacity 2GB/4GB
Size 3.8 x 1.7 x 0.3 inches
Weight 1.8 ounces
Company Website www.samsung.com