Samsung's latest MP3 Player holds a dark secret. No, not that secretly inside it’s an iPod nano, but that a slide of the design reveals a speaker so you can share the music with others.
It's an interesting concept and one that makes it stand out from the crowd compared to other models like the Nano or the Zen micro. But it also means that the unit is twice the thickness it could be.
On the surface the MP3 player, which is available as a 1GB, 2GB or 4GB model, looks like the iconic chocolate phone with the front panel simply a black glossy display. The screen and buttons appear out of nowhere and glow in a very Samsung blue. The buttons like the company's E900 mobile phone and LG's Chocolate phone are touch sensitive and appear and disappear when on and off.
On closer inspection the front display is actually split into two areas, the touch sensitive buttons and a small 1.7 inch screen on which you can view stuff like track info, as well as viewing jpegs although the screen itself is very small and we wouldn’t recommend looking at anything in great detail.
While designed, when using with the accompanying headphones, for use in portrait - ie with the screen at the top, sliding out the speaker makes the display automatically rotate so you can see and use it more easily (see pictures).
Sliding out the speaker from behind also allows it to sit comfortable on a desk or bedside table and the unit has been designed to position the speakers so they point at you maximising the sound in your general direction.
With a built in FM radio and alarm clock its easy to see the appeal of the K5 and while most people we showed loved the idea of the speaker most didn't get why it was included until we mentioned these two elements.
With so many portable speakers available for MP3 players, it’s a logical step to include the speaker in the device, however you have to ask at what cost?
It's clear by the pricing that Samsung is expecting you to pay a premium for the compact design - currently its over £50 more expensive than a nano - and a premium in size, as the speaker does doubles the units size making a larger dent in your pocket than other players on the market.
The final factor is how much do you really need a mini speaker to play your music all the time. While we got lots of ohhs and arhhs we also got a lot of whys when we showed the unit off to people we know.
Samsung should be praised for the innovation, but some users while excited by the idea, might be left wondering why.
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