(Pocket-lint) - Samsung, keen to unseat Creative and Apple in the MP3 player stakes, has released the K3 its latest MP3 player launched as a direct competitor to the iPod nano.

Pocket-lint was given the opportunity to play with the new player before its launch in the UK at CES 2007 in Las Vegas. So can the K3 beat the nano?

0.27-inches silm, but not as slim as the nano (its thicker by a couple of millimetres) the K3 features the same funky looking interface as the company's K5 MP3 player launched last year. In fact, the K3 is virtually identical to the K5 in every respect just without speaker.

The controls as before, look like the iconic chocolate phone with the front panel simply a black glossy display that on first look smudges very easily.

Like the K5 and Samsung's e900 mobile phone the screen and buttons appear out of nowhere and glow in a very Samsung blue. The buttons are touch sensitive and appear and disappear when on and off and are very responsive and easy to use.

On closer inspection the front display is actually split into two areas, the touch sensitive buttons and a small 1.8-inch OLED 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. There is also a built-in FM radio tuner.

Sound, in our brief test was very good even on the show floor and bearing how noisy it was we wouldn't envisage any problems with sounds volumes in other environments like the train or on the street in the city.

The K3 and K5 players support a variety of music subscription services including popular services such as Napster, Rhapsody and Yahoo. In addition, the K3 supports MP3, WMA, DRM10.

Samsung states that the K3 player features an impressive 25 hours of battery life, however we weren't able to test this.

First Impressions

At first glance the K3 looks to offer a decent package with a good range of standard features in a box that does look rather funky.

For all incenses purposes the K3 is identical to the K5 without the speaker, so if the first one appealed, but you didn't want the speaker then this will fit the bill. Is it better than the iPod nano?

It's probably on a level par, however the nano does take the lead, not because of the player, but because of iTunes and all the accessories you can get.

Expect a full review shortly once the player has been launched in the UK. Samsung's K3 model will be available in March 2007 in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities.

Writing by Stuart Miles.