While new digital music players with ever more innovations are being released, the one constant about these players that hasn’t changed is size. It seems with each new wave these little nuggets are getting smaller and smaller yet the list of features they pack is growing longer and longer. Inadvertently, consumers today are hopelessly spoilt for choice but with the Samba 1000 hot off Astone’s production line, your decision might just have been made a whole lot easier.
To remain on the radar, the Samba 1000 is delightfully small, lightweight and supports most popular music formats, but most strikingly of all is its loud orange color tone. The eye-catching color along with its matchbox size gives the Samba 1000 a very sporty and fun appeal, which should go down well with youngsters. There is also a small screen with blue backlight up front, making navigation easy for just about anyone. Also, the rewind, forward, mode, volume up, volume down, and play/stop buttons are all located together for a very short learning curve. Moreover, there is a lanyard loop and a 3.5mm earphone jack located on top of the unit, giving users the option to parade around with this lightweight player around their necklines. There is no proprietary data interface on the Samba 1000; music and data files can just be loaded into the unit via USB connection. In terms of battery power, the Samba 1000 is more versatile than many competing models because it uses your run-of-the-mill ‘AAA’ battery. This means the Samba 1000 will never leave you high and dry abruptly with a flat battery. It will only be down for as long a time it takes for you to walk to a convenient store for a fresh replacement.
The first thing that is right with the Samba 1000 is its format support.
As long as your collection of digital music includes MP3, WMA, ASF and WAV files, the little player will decode them into pleasurable music into your ears. It also allows line-in recording in addition to radio recording from the integrated FM radio tuner. The screen is just right for navigation purposes with the different modes of the player all but a button away. It may not be fancy but it all adds up as far as ease of use is concerned.
Audio quality of the Samba 1000 is as good as it is easy to use. We found playback to be reasonably loud for enjoying tracks with rich acoustics, however, boomy bass was sorely lacking for R&B music using the bundled earphones. That said, it’s best that you invest in a quality pair of earphones if loud R&B and hip-hop music form a huge portion of your daily music diet.
In order for one to completely appreciate the Samba, users must install the MP3 Player Utilities (found on the disk) into their PC. Besides being able to easily upgrade the Samba using the ‘MP3 Upgrade Tool’, users can also use the sound convert tool to convert recorded (ACT, RCD, REC) files to WAV files. The most useful application however, is the ‘MP3 Player Disk Tool’. This allows the storage of the Samba 1000 to be partitioned and encrypted as a “vault” for sensitive data. The whole process is simple enough: users specify the amount of space to set aside for encrypted data which is then followed by defining a user name and password for access and retrieval.
In the end, the Samba 1000 will surely please those who want “big” audio in small packages as it can be tucked away anywhere, has a 10-hour playback time, commendable sound quality and features like a built-in FM tuner, voice recorder, and encrypting software. It may not have video playback but there’s no denying it’s a highly music focused player – we love it.