Packing looks and character into slim form factors seem to be Samsung's forte and they've proven it time and again with devices like the much touted YP-K3 MP3 player. Following its success, Samsung has released a limited, special edition model of the K3 known as the K3 Maestro Edition. With only a thousand units up for grabs locally in Singapore, the K3 Maestro Edition is quite the exclusive item.
Clad in captivating white, the K3 Maestro Edition features a glossy front finish with matching chrome metal highlights, sexy curves and an overall sleek footprint. It also comes with a special lanyard plastic case to carry around with. Together with Samsung's touch sensitive keypad, and accompanied with cool blue hues for backlighting, it is a visual experience to behold. The only drawback here is the major smudge prints virtually guaranteed due to its high gloss surface.
The touch sensitive buttons on the K3 Maestro Edition offers excellent response and is very intuitive, making the player a joy to use every time. Four navigational buttons represented by arrows allow fast selection, while the center button confirms your decision. Above these, you have the Menu and back buttons. The only physical button is situated on the right edge, doubling as the Power and Hold function of the K3.
There are still no dedicated volume controls on the player and the proprietary USB port for file transfer is still used, which may be a deal breaker for some. Otherwise, the K3 uses a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
Switch the K3 Maestro Edition on, and users will be greeted with a very pleasant UI and menu system. Together with a bluish theme that matches the keypad backlighting, it is an art form that has been mastered by Samsung's design team. Sadly, the K3 Maestro Edition is still only an MP3 player, capable of only audio playback, FM radio and photo viewing. It has a brilliant OLED display, but at 1.8-inches, we do understand why video support was not included.
Other little features include a handy screensaver which can be set to show the clock and furthermore, the player pauses audio playback when it detects that earphones have been plugged out.
Besides its limited edition white color, the K3 Maestro Edition also features Samsung's proprietary DNSe 2.0 sound technology; the reason behind its 'maestro' nomenclature. In our tests, the performance of the K3 Maestro Edition was good. Bass was loud and voice vocals were crystal clear. Equalization options such to boost vocals, bass, and 3D sound are also available to suit the preferences of the consumer. Radio reception was excellent as no obvious interference was experienced. Through regular use, we found that the battery life lasted for about a week before the player warned that it needed charging.
For S$219 (~US$154), the Samsung K3 Maestro Edition comes in at a reasonable price for a 2GB MP3 player, and if audio playback is all you're looking for, its limited edition chassis and DNSe 2.0 support will add value to the regular K3.