The MP3 player market does nothing but benefit from the decline in flash memory prices. One of many examples can be found in the Samsung S3 Slim, a super slick-looking device that comes in 4GB and 8GB versions for just $79.99 and $119.99, respectively. The S3 delivers a good value, thanks to excellent sound quality and a handful of useful features. However, we're a bit letdown by the player's shrunken screen and lack of integrated Bluetooth, a neat feature that is included on its sibling, the Samsung T10.
The Samsung S3 Slim is fairly similar in design to its predecessor, the Samsung T10, although the S3 has a sturdier feel and more rounded edges. The clear-coated metallic body gives the player a smooth feel and stylish look, and at least some of the colors aren't completely smudge-prone--a rarity in shiny devices. The S3 is available in a choice of five colors: black, blue, green, red, and white. Glowing touch-sensitive controls live beneath the shiny exterior and light up only when activated by your finger. On the one hand, this gives the player a sleek and stylish look; on the other, it adds an extra step to navigation. The singular tactile control, a combo power/hold switch, resides on the right spine. The bottom of the S3 houses a proprietary syncing port and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, you won't find a dedicated volume rocker anywhere on the device.
As its name suggests, the Samsung S3 Slim is slender and compact, measuring 3.7 inches by 1.7 inches by 0.3 inch, which is just fractionally larger than the 4G iPod Nano. Sadly, the S3's screen is 0.2 inch smaller than that of both the T10 and the Nano at 1.8 inches diagonally. This seemingly minor decrease is definitely noticeable when it comes to portable devices.
Despite the decrease in screen size, the onscreen interface remains one of Samsung's strong points. On the S3, content is neatly ordered into separate music, photo, and video menus; alternatively, there's a folder selection for those who prefer to navigate files based on desktop organization. Once you dig into the music menu, you can find tracks by artist, album, playlist, and so on. The standout, however, is the graphic interface. Samsung offers a choice of three menu themes, one of which lets you set any photo as wallpaper. The playback screen may be set to display album art, song info, or one of three animated visualizations. We suspect the latter may affect battery life, but it's a nice option for those who like eye-candy.