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Samsung YP-K5: MPFreedom to share

Behold Samsung's latest assault on the iPod -- a seriously stylish MP3 player with slide-out speakers and 30-hour battery life

Samsung unveiled a flash-based MP3 player, which it reckons could take the iPod nano crown, at Berlin's IFA 2006 trade show. The YP-K5 boasts a gang of new features, most notably a set of integrated speakers. These speakers slide away from the main body of the unit via a slick hinge mechanism, allowing the YP-K5 to be used as a mini ghetto-blaster -- great news for those who like inflicting their music on innocent commuters.

When you're not annoying passengers from the back of the bus, you can use it in a hotel room, or when sunbathing on the beach. The speakers don't sound amazing, but they'll be loud enough if you're somewhere reasonably quiet and are better than the integrated speakers on most mobile phones. Thankfully Samsung also includes bass-enhancing in-ear headphones to let people enjoy music in the privacy of their own head.

The YP-K5 has an FM receiver, so will work as a radio as well as an MP3 player. It has a touch-sensitive four-way control pad for scrolling through files, which gives it the look and feel of the LG Chocolate K800 phone. It's nowhere near as cool or intuitive as the iPod scroll wheel, though it's surprisingly accurate and responsive once you get the hang of it -- which takes just a couple of minutes.

One of our favourite things about the K5 is its 43mm (1.7-inch) colour Organic LED (OLED) display. This display is in a portrait orientation when the speakers are tucked in, but automatically switches to a landscape orientation when the speakers are in use, so you can operate it more easily. The animated menu icons on the display look awesome, but JPEG images don't look too hot.

The benefit of an OLED is that it uses less battery power then traditional LCD displays. The K5 has a whopping 30-hour battery life when using headphones and 6 hours when listening to music through the speakers at maximum volume.

There are 1GB (£139), 2GB (£159) and 4GB (£199) versions, all of which are expected to be on sale this week. Watch out for a full review shortly. -RR