When I first clapped eyes on the Samsung Q1 Diamond I have to admit that I wasn't overly impressed, but ladies and gentlemen a leopard can change its spots because following a hands-on and the device's formal UK launch I must admit I see it in a rather better light.
Specs remain the same: 2.4in LCD, FM tuner, voice recording, text viewer, landscape widescreen playback, the company's DNSe 3.0 audio technology and a good range of codecs including most notably Ogg and Hugo's wet dream: FLAC for lossless audio. You'll get 30 hours of battery life playing music which is rather impressive too though video falls slightly short at four hours. Measuring 49.9 x 97.8 x 10.9mm and weighing 61g however means the Diamond is also extremely pocket friendly.
So why the change of heart? Two factors.
Firstly, yes I'll accept the pull of FLAC and Ogg for many, but particularly interesting is new found support with BBC iPlayer and the Diamond will natively playback any content downloaded from this rather fantastic site.
Secondly, price. At just £50 for the 4GB version the Diamond represents the second serious butt kicking given out to Apple's lazy £45 2GB iPod shuffle in 48 hours (following the £50 8GB Sansa Clip). With 8GB and 16GB versions equally good value and topping out at just £99 the Diamond is a swanky player that'll go easy on your wallet in these uncertain times.
Ok, you got me. I like it...
Secondly, lurking in the shadows of the Diamond is the launch of the 'U4 Litmus' a budget 2GB or 4GB USB stick player with OLED display and choice of graduated rose, purple and blue finishes inspired by - yep - litmus paper.
Personally, my vague memories of chemistry class don't remember litmus paper looking so elegant, in fact it was more like this but I'm down with the pimp-my-mp3-player look it gives. Prices here start at just £23 for the2GB version, rising to £29 for the 4GBer.
Samsung, you may just crack this MP3 player market yet...