Fall is an anxiously awaited time of year in the gadget world because it's when tech companies roll out some of their hottest gadgets in preparation for the holiday buying season. September in particular seems to be the prime month for MP3 player announcements, with last year marking the debut of the Apple iPod Nano. It looks like 2006 is set to continue this tradition, with the sleek Samsung YP-K5 leading the way. This unique flash player, available in 2GB ($210) and 4GB ($260) capacities, may be a bit pricey and thick around the middle, but that's not stopping it from turning some heads.
In the closed position, the K5 isn't that remarkable looking--rather reminiscent of the Olympus M:robe MR-100--but its smooth, black body feels good in the hand and its shiny face is eye-catching. Once the device is powered on, the visual experience becomes even more pleasing. Like the M:robe, the K5 features touch-sensitive controls, backlit in pleasing shades of blue. A center circle select key is surrounded by four arrow indicators, while Back and Menu selectors sit kitty-corner to one another on the outskirts. A smallish (1.7-inch) color OLED screen resides above the controls, and along the top edge is the power/hold switch. The bottom edge of the player houses the headphone jack and a proprietary USB port.