Unlike many MP3 players these days, Samsung’s miniscule new Muse was boldly designed to function with smartphones, not in spite of them. More specifically, the former “S-Pebble” brings special functionality with a variety of Samsung’s Galaxy products — including the wildly popular Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.
Musical Galaxy owners just need to download the free Muse Sync app in the Google Play store, and hook the Muse up to their phones. That’s it. From there, music can be freely exchanged from phone storage to MP3 player, making the Muse a computer-free experience. Of course, the clip-on player can still transfer music files through typical drag-and-drop means too, so traditionalists need not worry.
The Muse itself was designed for one thing only: playing music. Its touch-based, smooth oval design sports only the basic playback buttons and switches, but sounds themselves are crisp, distinguishable, and surprisingly loud. The optional SoundAlive EQ can really get the bass pumping in the right headphones too, making the Muse a particularly good choice for electro and hip-hop lovers on a budget. There’s no LCD display or touchscreen to be found here, but for just $50, the Muse’s simplicity can be mostly forgiven.
The Muse will never be a heavy listener’s primary MP3 player, though. It only features around 6 hours of battery life, and 3.6GB of available space. It isn’t compatible with streaming music services like Spotify, and having to convert iTunes’ AAC files or Google Play Music files can be a pain too.
But again, it’s $50. All in all, the Muse is a solid stocking stuffer for anyone who uses their smartphone for music but would like a more hands-free, tunes-only experience this Christmas.
Be sure to check out our full 12 Tech Days of Christmas list for new suggestions and picks by TechnologyGuide editors through Christmas Eve on Dec. 24th! Spend some time with our 2012 Holiday Buyers Guide as well, for high-tech gift suggestions from across our product news and review sites.