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Review: mobiBLU B153

It's not easy competing with Apple in the music player market, but the Korean company Hyun Won is giving it a shot. (Hyun Won are the same folks who came out last year with the tiny cube-shaped mobiBLU DAH-1500i. )

The company's new mobiBLU B153 is a mixed bag of innovation and clunkiness. It doesn't have a prayer against Apple in the vast consumer market, but just might thrill a significant number of people who want more features rather than elegant simplicity.

Roughly the size of a Zippo lighter (one Zippo thick on the top and a Zippo-and-a-half on the bottom), the 2.6 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches, 2.3-ounce B153 sports a minimalist, two-color (blue and yellow) 128- by 64-pixel OLED screen, a mini, 5-way joystick, and four buttons on top.

It comes in white and 512 MB (about $100) as well as two black versions: 1 GB (about $130) and 2GB version (no price yet). It plays MP3 and WMA files.

Most of the action is controlled with the joystick. While listening, moving it to the right advances to the next file, and to the left, to the previous. Up and down turns the volume up and down. That part is the only simple thing about its user interface.

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