With gorgeous looks, impressive performance and an ingenious user interface, LG's slinky media player is a right touch, despite the small screen
Video and sound quality
DivX not supported
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In the world of portable media players, the LG MF-FM37 is a bit of a touchy subject - quite literally. This astonishingly slim gizmo features a delightful 2.4in touchscreen LCD, which means all of its functions are accessed simply by poking your finger at the screen.
It also means there are no buttons or dials to spoil its minimalist metallic design, making it an attractive player overall.
It boasts a relatively small 2GB of Flash memory (a 4GB version is also available) and it'll play a wide range of file types including MP3, WMA (protected and unprotected), OGG, WAV, ASF, JPEG, MPEG4 and WMV9, although most video files have to be converted into .avi using the supplied LG Media Center software, which doesn't convert DiVX files.
This program is laid out in a straightforward way and can be used to transfer your files onto the player quickly and easily, though you can also use Windows Media Player 10 or simply drag and drop required files using Windows Explorer.
Among its features are a MP3 voice recorder, a couple of fiendishly addictive games and a text viewer, though not the FM tuner alluded to in the instruction manual.
The player's user interface is nothing short of genius and makes the most of the responsive touchscreen. The main menu features recognisable icons for each function - simply tap one and you're away. Any time you want to leave a screen, you tap the return icon in the top left corner. The small menu text does occasionally cause you to select the wrong option, but overall it's a joy to use.
The onscreen presentation for audio playback is superb. The unit displays the album art as well as the song and album info, and you can play files by artist, album, genre or create your own playlists using Media Center.
Audio quality is superb though decent-quality headphones, with 192kbps and 320kbps MP3 files sounding dynamic and bassy. Of the seven processing modes on offer, only Bass Boost and X-Live are worth using, while others such as Stadium, Concert Hall and Club are rather annoying.
Video files play back smoothly and look surprisingly well-defined on the 340 x 240-pixel, 4:3 display, while colours are superbly reproduced, thanks to the Mobile XD Engine picture enhancer inside.
With our WMV rips of This Morning With Richard Not Judy, the intentionally garish colours of the studio look vibrant, backed up by impressive black levels. Also pleasing is that the screen's pixel structure is virtually invisible.
On the downside, the limited screen size can make it hard to make out fine detail, and the image suffers from some block noise but not enough to detract from the overall clarity.
Overall, the FM37 is an achingly stylish and attractively-priced portable media players, with brilliant touchscreen operation that sets it apart from the crowd. The 2.4in screen is too small to deliver a top-notch video experience but MP3 playback is superb.
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