By Richard Menta 7/13/07
What disappoints me most about B&O's lastest digital audio portable is that from the initial specs it looks like something I would have expected them to release in 2004. For $625 - or slightly above the price of a 4GB iPhone - I expect the Bang and Olufsen BeoSound 6 to be the first 16GB flash unit to hit the market. Instead, we get a simple 4GB unit that Beoworld.org thinks is a rebranded Samsung YP-Z5, an iPod nano competitor that sells right now on Amazon for $159.
Now B&O has always been about style, but even here the unit falls flat. It's not unattractive, just common. At least the company's first portable, the BeoSound 2, had a unique shape to it. The BeoSound 2 is still available from B&O and while that 128MB portable is woefully outdated by today's standards, when it was introduced in 2001 (yes, that's how old it is) it was at least on the high end of digital portable flash capacity.
In terms of simplicity, the BeoSound 6 is similar to the iPod nano. No FM tuner or line-in record. No Wi-Fi. No touch-screen interface. Just a straight audio player with a 1.8" 64K LCD display in a 3.5" x 1.7" x 0.5" shell.
But $625? We know B&O extracts a premium, but they can do better than this.
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