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The Samsung K5 MP3 Player: It Doesn't Have to be All About You Anymore.

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Now you don't have to enjoy your music all alone. The Samsung K5 is the first MP3 player to feature built-in slide-out speakers. The K5 model is comprised of a full-color 1.7-inch OLED display and delightfully illuminated touchscreen controls. Equipped with an FM tuner and a JPEG viewer for slideshows set to music, the K5 player allows users to subscribe to Microsoft Plays For Sure, through which they can access services from Napster, Rhapsody, and MTV Urge. It supports MP3, WMA, and JPG files; it has 30 hours of battery life (six hours with speakers); and its 2GB unit stores up to 500 songs.

Although users will be impressed by the flashy, colorful imagery displayed during track play, as well as the pretty blue lights that appear where you tap for control functions, the two main drawbacks to the K5 player are its lack of a shuffle option (a major oversight in its overall design) and its less-than-perfect PC menu for managing files.

The K5 player's ability to locate album information is not as expansive as the iPod's but is still impressive, as it does successfully seek rare titles and imports. Its track transfer is significantly slower and a touch more involved than that of the iPod, so prepare to get frustrated when after selecting five tracks of an album to rip, you discover only the first track went through. And if you want to rip a whole album, you might want to be online doing other web activities or take a nap during the process, which takes at least five times as long as it does with the iPod and is considerably noisier.

Also, the selected tracks don't always transfer without error. After listening to the tracks you've ripped, you might discover that some tracks end in the middle or play the wrong song altogether. The alarm function works very well, but it is not readily obvious how to use the K5 player's advertised means of replacing its stock chimes with songs.

Perhaps these experiences will be contingent upon the level of tech savvy of the consumer. But those users who immediately pick up a Samsung K5 MP3 Player no doubt will find it less prete a jouer than the iPod. Essentially, the user-friendly aspect of the player falls slightly short.

Otherwise, the sound is fantastic and highly pleasing, especially since the player comes with a pair of impressive, ergonomically ideal, bass-enhanced earbuds. The sound is what makes the Samsung K5 a good buy. The best feature, of course, is the slide-out speaker, a handy addition for those who would prefer to set their devices on tabletops and listen without earphones. Now you can enjoy travel-ready music with friends and family. You can dance if you want to and not leave anyone behind.

While it is nice to have the option to listen to music free of earphones and without purchasing accessories, consider the obvious fact that the music will sound like music coming from a four-inch speaker. The price you pay for this convenient speaker feature is size. The body of the K5 is twice as thick as the standard iPod.

An added bonus is the photo option. It operates very well, the pictures show up clearly on its 1.7-inch screen, and it is a useful choice for those who like mobile photo albums. Its 2GB/4GB units can hold 25,000 JPEG photos. (The 1GB holds 15,000.)

Overall, the K5 Player is a lot more fun than most other MP3 players on the market, including the non-video iPod models, but it is lacking when it comes to more serious functions.

Although I would not say Samsung hit the mark with this one, the Samsung K5 MP3 Player certainly is an interesting alternative, particularly for those who like private and public listening options, as well as a little imagery with their music-device experiences.

Definitely worth considering when shopping around for portable music players, the 2GB version retails for $179.99; the 4GB for $229.99.

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 users  MP3  PC  Samsung  battery life  MTV  iPods  plans  FM  storage

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