When it comes to sound quality, a tiny speaker like this is never going to fill a room up, or even give you full, thumping bass response. But what you do get is a very clear sound, that can be pumped up to pretty high volumes without too much distortion. I took the K5 with me to San Francisco recently so that I could listen to music while I was working and getting ready in the morning, and in that hotel room environment it performed very well. I was also able to test out arguably, the K5’s best feature – the alarm clock. Many MP3 players have an alarm feature, but I don’t want to go to sleep with headphones in my ears; the K5 on the other hand makes a viable alarm clock, waking you up with your own music played through its integrated speaker.
Of course things get a bit messy if you want to listen to the radio through the integrated speaker, because like all MP3 players with FM tuners, the K5 uses the headphones as an antenna for the tuner. Therefore if you want to listen to the radio through the speaker, you’ve still got to have the headphones plugged in so that you can get a signal.
So, the speaker gives a pretty good account of itself, but would that be a feature that you’d be willing to pay more for? Or more importantly, would you be willing to put up with a larger and heavier device for the odd occasion when you’d want to share your music with friends? You see the K5 is pretty large and heavy compared to its competition – looking at the image below you can see that the K5 looks massive compared to an iPod nano, while it still manages to dwarf the SanDisk Sansa.
To be fair, without the speaker the K5 would be roughly the same size as the Sansa, but of course the speaker is the whole USP. And it’s not just size of course – while the nano is a featherweight 44g and the Sansa a quite negligible 74g, the K5 weighs in at a hefty 104g – although that’s a couple of grams lighter than Samsung states in its spec sheet. Actual dimensions are 98 x 48 x 18mm (LxWxD), which isn’t huge, but you’ll definitely feel it in your pocket, unlike a nano.