Mambo Phone

Do one thing, and do it well: that's supposed to be the mantra that drives the design of portable digital devices.

Do one thing, and do it well: thats supposed to be the mantra that drives the design of portable digital devices.

Well, heres a happy exception to that rule. The Samsung Uproar — a combination wireless phone and MP3 audio player — does two things, and it does them both very well indeed.

The Uproar, for which Sprint PCS provides digital voice and wireless Internet service, has all the features you would expect, including voice-activated dialing and a built-in organizer with a phone book and to-do list. But wait — theres more! It can also hold up to 64 megabytes of MP3 audio files — enough for about one hour of music.

While the idea of fusing a business communications tool with an MP3 player may initially seem absurd, the 4-ounce Uproar combines the functions brilliantly. If youre listening to music, the headset "rings" when you receive an incoming call. The mini remote control attached to the headset lets you answer the call, automatically pausing the music. You can hear your caller through the headphones and can speak into the microphone — all without taking the phone out of your pocket. Standard headphones also work, but then you lose the remote-control features.

The units standard lithium-ion battery has impressively long life. Samsung says the Uproar can play 10 hours of MP3 audio on a fully charged battery; my review model continuously played the Gipsy Kings version of Volare for 9 hours and 45 minutes.

The battery doesnt last quite as long for phone calls. The Uproar provides up to 200 minutes of talk time, Samsung says — but thats better than many other wireless handsets.

At $400, the Uproar is a somewhat pricey executive toy. But its a fair price for this very well- designed, pocket-size jukebox. And, oh, right, it also lets you make calls.