Nuggets: Samsung's M100 makes beautiful music

Is it a phone? Is it an MP3 player? Well, err... it's both

Samsung, one of the larger makers of MP3 players, and Virgin Mobile have come up with the neat idea of bringing phone and music player together.

At a glance the M100 looks just like any other of the small silver Samsung handsets. The only clue to what's lurking within the case is the large, and perhaps slightly over the top looking, "MP3" motif on the flip-down keypad cover.

The headphones and wired remote control double as a hands-free kit allowing you to answer a call mid MP3 with just one button press on the remote control. Samsung has also thoughtfully provided a small adapter to allow you to plug the M100 into your own headphones.

Uploading MP3s into the M100s 32Mb of onboard RAM is done using a parallel cable and some well-designed "drag & drop" software provided with the unit. Fillinq the phone's memory from empty takes three to four minutes, so not as fast as it would be over USB but not too bad.

The M100 has six different audio equaliser settings and three different bass levels. The M100 does all of the sound shaping with the analogue signal after is has been through the internal DAC -- unlike most other MP3 players where the equalisation is done with a DSP before the signal passes through the DSP.

After a little messing around with the different EQ and bass settings you can get surprisingly good sound from the headphones provided.

At £350 from Virgin Mobile the M100 is hardly cheap, in fact you could pick yourself up a better MP3 player and phone for the same price. It's a good gadget to show off to your mates, though.

The M100 looks good and sounds great, and is simple to use. However, the battery life is poor, 32Mb of non-expandable RAM isn't really enough and it's pretty costly.

  • Virgin Mobile M100

  • Mobile phone with MP3 capability

  • 97g

  • £350 (inc VAT)

  • Dual-band

  • 60 hours standby time, 180 minutes talk time

  • 32Mb Ram for MP3s

  • Six audio equaliser settings, three bass levels

  • Seven games

  • www.virginmobile.com

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