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Adding to the ever-growing crop of media players with wireless features is the Samsung T10, a 4GB flash device with integrated stereo Bluetooth functionality. At $170, it's not the most competitively-priced player on the block, but it's packed with features and comes in your choice of five high-gloss colors (black, white, green, red, and purple). For style-conscious users who want a multifunctional device, the T10 hits the mark, but audio purists and those who prefer tactile controls should look elsewhere.
The Samsung T10 may be the successor to the T9, but it looks more like the love child of the Samsung K3 and the flash memory-based Microsoft Zune. The face of the T10 features the same smudge-prone, high-gloss finish and backlit touch controls as the K3, but the 2-inch color screen and brushed metal backside are distinctly Zune-like. Overall, its sleek and stylish look (measuring 3.8 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.3 inch) will appeal to design-conscious users. As with both parental players, the T10 has a proprietary dock connector (bummer) and offers no dedicated volume buttons (double bummer). The right edge of the player houses the solitary tactile control: a power/hold switch.
The interface of the T10 is also decidedly designy. You can choose from three interface styles: a standard Samsung mode called Pendant, a customizable wallpaper mode, and Sammy, a Flash-based option featuring an animated dog and other moving graphics. Sammy is the most engaging interface, though some may find it distracting. We're hoping that in the future, Samsung will open up the system for custom Flash-based menus. Overall, the menu system is clear and easy to operate, though the touchpad isn't always accurate. Music (MP3 and WMA only) is organized into the standard Creative-based structure, with step-downs into artist, album, playlist, and so on. Sadly, there's no separate podcast sort, but there is an option to browse by folders, which gives the opportunity for manual organization. Thanks to Rhapsody DNA integration, there is a menu item dedicated to Rhapsody Channels. This integration also allows users to save songs from the Channels to the player.
In addition to Rhapsody support, the Samsung T10 offers a multitude of other features. As the color screen (QVGA; 320x240) suggests, you may play back photos (JPEG) and videos, though video support is limited to Samsung's proprietary SVI format and very particular WMV files. Transcoding to SVI via Samsung Media Studio is a mixed bag, so we recommend just running videos through Windows Media Player, which will (in most cases) convert to the proper-size WMV. The player also offers a voice recorder and an FM tuner with an auto preset mode and recorder, as well as support for Datacasts (RSS feeds, put simply). Last, though certainly not least, is the integrated stereo Bluetooth capability, which allows wireless streaming to compatible headphones and speakers. (The T10 cannot yet be paired with cell phones but will gain that capability in a future firmware release.)
Considering the design-heavy interface, the Samsung T10 has admirable processor speed: selections register quickly. The rated battery life of 30 hours is similarly impressive, although CNET Labs was only able to get 20 hours (still a decent number). Videos and photos (which are displayed in landscape orientation) look nice and crisp and offer good color saturation, but the viewing angle from side to side isn't great--it's actually better up and down, which is the reverse of most players we've seen. Audio quality is good, but not stellar, and seems lacking compared to some other Samsung players (such as the T9 and P2). It's pretty balanced, but music doesn't sound as warm as we'd like, and bass response is decidedly understated. There are plenty of EQ presets from which to choose (10), plus a seven-band customizable setting, but we daresay this player still won't satisfy audio purists. However, users who want an engaging interface, plenty of features, and a device that will turn heads should definitely consider the T10.