Best of the Best 2007: Personal Electronics

The Samsung K5 MP3 player  (800.726.7864, www.samsung.com) is the world’s first MP3 player with built-in speakers. The speakers are cleverly concealed by a split-case design in which the back half of the player slides sideways to reveal a pair of 1-inch drivers. That motion automatically redirects the player’s output from its headphone jack to the speakers, which deliver greater range, fidelity, and punch than one would expect from such diminutive drivers. Even without the speakers, the K5 would earn our admiration for an elegant design that includes a polished black, button-free front panel and a sapphire OLED display. The K5 is available in 2 GB and 4 GB capacities for $210 and $260, respectively. 

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 8800 (519.888.7465, www.discoverblackberry.com) is evidence that some cell phone makers remember that their products are primarily communication devices, not vehicles to showcase Justin Timberlake videos. The 8800, which works with Cingular Wireless and is priced at $300 with a two-year Cingular plan, packs prodigious productivity features into a slim, elegant design. A qwerty keyboard, Internet browser, push-to-talk capability, and BlackBerry’s e-mail functions will keep you in touch with your business. The 8800 also has built-in GPS, trackball navigation, and best-in-class battery life. It even has a media player that will help pass the time on long business flights.

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