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Samsung SGH-X830 review Ė ęa hot chewing gumĽ with a gigabyte of memoryThe first impression from the phone is that I have a regular flash player in my hands. The device size and control organs, scroll wheel like in the first iPods Ė everything speaks for the player.
And how can you build into a miniature and obviously not a phone construct into a full-fledged mobile phone? But after you unravel the X830 secret and move aside the upper half of the frame, the impression changes. And itís not that small. Only long and narrow.
X830 has a lot of distinctive features. Firstly, itís a phone in a folding rotary construct, very compact and nice. Secondly, it does not have a flash card slot, but it's not lacking memory Ė there is a gigabyte of memory, almost a record for modern mobile phones. Thirdly, the phone is fully packed including a Bluetooth and camera with a 1.3 mega pixel sensor. FourthlyÖ itís just a wonderful gadget. A real ďfashion modelĒ. The dandies will lose their mind from longing (not even mentioning the fashionable women Ė the phone is manufactured in six design versions).
In short, itís a hit by all parameters. Although, I do not have the absolute confidence that this will actually happen. The phone came out to be interesting, very attractive in appearance, but a bit doubtful in the sphere of ergonomics. Will talk about thatÖ
Two halves of the foldingÖ knife
A black plastic frame with a silvery framing, a narrow vertical screen, a scroll wheel with a central button below, a lack of any phone buttons Ė thatís how the X830 looks in the folded mode. Nothing in the folded mode. You have to open the phone in order to answer. You are even more surprised by an upside down picture on the screen of the folded phone. The ďupsideĒ, in this case, is the large scroll wheel that coincides with the axis of the phoneís revolving halves.
Well Ė you have to pay for the compactness. The price isnít that big, really (itís a question of habit) and the phone really is wonderfully compact. Its size is 84ű30ű19.9 mm and it weights 72 grams. Truly, a pack of chewing gum. Just a bit bigger, of course. But very similarÖ
The larger part of the front (upper) panel is covered by a transparent plastic cover plate. There is a phone speaker slot above, the ďSamsungĒ, brand logo (writing) below and ŗ narrow vertical screen under it. An unusual screen. Bright screen. The matrix resolution is 128ű220 pixels. And this is a lot as the screen itself is miniature Ė its diagonal is 1.46 inches, but it looks tiny. Nevertheless, the screen fits a lot of information. The X830 user will not feel impaired. Although, there are specific difficulties with displayís work as a viewfinder of the built in camera. But we will talk a bit later about that (those difficulties are of a comic character).
The control wheel if located under the screenÖ This device left a complex impression. Firstly, itís not an iPod (and not anything close to it). The control system itself is somewhat unpredictable and illogical. The wheel can be turned and pressed in four directions. The central pressure is applied to the built in button. So, you donít have to turn the wheel, you can just deflect it. And thatís more comfortable in practice as you make less mistakes in choosing menu options. But there is no access to the next screens via the wheel as patents reliably protect the Apple products so it is impossible to copy the control logic of the Apple player. And the wheel becomes unnecessary without that systemÖ Or necessary? It turned on the player and tried to navigate the tracks via the wheel. Itís quite comfortable. Although, you can easily manage without the wheel using it as the navigation buttons. Anyway, itís a personal thing. I havenít taken much liking of the wheel.
The phone frame has a strict form of an oblong brick. There are only three buttons on the frame and one adapter. There are two sound control buttons and a tiny system adapter with a cover on the right edge Ė if you look at the front panel upside down (the control panel is below the screen). You can only connect the set earphones (stereo set) via the adapter. You cannot connect any other acoustics Ė only if you find the brand adapter for a 3.5 mm mini jack. They say it is included into the phone set. But, traditionally, I get all I get is the phone itself with a charger. By the way, it connects to the same adapter behind the removable cover.
The cover itself and its loop can be a problem. When the set is connected (and its plug is made in the form of an improper trapezoid), the cover sticks out. If it gets caught on to something Ė the silicon loop disappears. Thatís why you have to treat this device with great care. Itís a player all right, but you can ďundressĒ it very easily.
Only one button Ė hold Ė is located on the left edge of the frame. Itís indispensable for a player phone.
Finally, a loop axis for the neck lace is located in the corner on the lower edge (that becomes the upper edge when the phone is open). Considering the size of the device, its place is right on the chest. Like an every small flash playerÖ
The battery compartment cover with the built in battery takes up the most of the back panel. It is fastened by a lock thatís not easy to open in the beginning. A lens of the built in camera is located above (or under?) the cover Ė battery. The optics does not look serious and it photographs the same way.
The battery has a volume of 800 mAh that should be enough for 3 hours in the conversation and player modes and for 120 hours in the waiting mode. Less than would be desired. Even too little, I would say.
The SIM card fastening is comfortable and reliable. There is no memory card slot here. Why would you need it anyway with a gigabyte of memory?
Letís open the phone. First, we have to turn it upside down - i.e. the control wheel is on the top and the screen is on the bottom. Then we have to move the upper part to the left with our big finger (only to the left as the phone opens only to one side). AndÖ and it opens. Now it looks like a folding Swiss knife more than a chewing gum.
The phone opens easily. The mechanism has a spring that, in any case, is not that tight so the phone does not open with a swooshing sound.
There is a spherical mirror with a rectangular framing on the back surface of the upper panel in the opened mode. There is nothing interesting except for that hereÖ Well, you can notice a gap between the halves Ė the phone is fastened together in the area of the pivot shaft. But the gap isnít big. Itís quite solid.
The keyboard is the most unusual moment in this very unusual phone. It's double-row (a third row won't fit on the narrow frame). But the under-the-screen block has five buttons. The upper row has three buttons Ė two soft keys on the edges and a joint ďCĒ and shutter release button in the center. But thatís very uncomfortable Ė while the big finger of the right hand is on the button, the index finger is right on top of the lens. Also, there is a risk of touching the wheel and accessing the menu instead of making a shot.
The upper row of the phone keyboard consists of the dial and end phone buttons (red and green receivers). The buttons are prominent, a bit rounded in profile, with a short stroke. But itís very comfortable to work with them. You unmistakably dial the number (most of the time, I have to add).
You can switch on the phone by a long pressure on the red phone buttonÖ
Very Samsung-like. Beautiful design themes (there two of them Ė light and dark, but the dark one is nicer). A nice system menu Ė in a column of two rows. Very detailed menu with lots of settingsÖ Itís not russified, thoughÖ The market versions should be russified. And I try what I can. And describe what I see.
And I see excellent applets that are well adapted for the small screen. How will the games behave? Most likely, they wonít, as the screen resolution is not standard. But if you find any games (and you will find some in the great abundance of the Global net), it will not be very comfortable to play, again, because of the small screen size.
I wanted to experiment with Java books. But didnít. The screen fits only 12 lines of text with 12 symbols in each line. A word will take up 2 Ė 3 lines and a text page Ė about twenty screens. What kind of reading is that? So I left that ideaÖ
In any case, X830 is a player phone or a music phone. And the player is excellent here. But I found some shortages. Firstly, you have to put all the music files into the Music folder, otherwise, they wonít be recognized. Secondly, the player has a powerful equalizer with lots of options, but there are no user options. Thirdly, you can rewind or forward the tracks, but only in discrete portions of 15 seconds. Itís very uncomfortable to search the dictaphone recordings, although, it does not matter in terms of music.
Work with play-lists seemed very tiresome. Than I realized that you have to load the music into the phone memory only from the system Windows Media Player. I did not have the synch cable, so I have nothing to say about that. No iTunes, no WinAmp. Itís a pityÖ
How does the phone sound? I cannot say anything concrete, as I did not get a set with the phone. But other testers say it sounds mediocre. I.e. on the level of regular flash players, without any prominent characteristics and without any collapses. A good music device. Well, Iíll take their word for it.
For a player with a gigabyte of memory the synch characteristics are extremely important. So, you have two options for loading the music Ė via Bluetooth and via USB cable. Bluetooth works excellently, but slowly (the phone is not to blame for that). USB works faster (but not as fast as you would expect), howeverÖ the phone does not support the USB Mass Storage specifications. I.e. you cannot transfer the music straight into the phone memory opening it as an external storage device. You can use only the Windows Media Player (great health and prosperity to it). And I killed mine on my computer, in principle. I apologize, of course.
Using the Media Transfer Protocol instead of a widely used USB Mass Storage is very uncomfortable. What if a Macintosh user will like the phone? What does he have to do, change the computer? For this phone? OhÖ
And one more thing. I lacked the radio in the phone. It seems like such a minor detail, but the device is multimedia. Would it bother the manufacturer?
This the story of the camera. Itís a player phone and not a camera phone. And the photo capability is secondary in the X830. Look at the photos to get a clear picture.
In principle, 1.3 mega pixel CMOS sensor should make photos of a better quality. But this is where the weak optics comes in. The phone lens is tiny. Thatís where the shot disadvantages come from.
One of the positive factors is that the camera works fast. A second plus is the quite good video quality (relatively, of course).
And, finally, Iíll tell you about one funny feature that I found in the course of testing the camera of the phone quite unexpectedlyÖ The Samsung SGH-X830 has a very narrow display. And the picture in the built in camera viewfinder mode, when the phone is held diagonally, looks like a picture on the display of the regular phone turned 90 degrees. I.e. the shot orientation on the screen in the normal position is portrait, vertical. And on the final shot itsÖ landscape, horizontal. Is you turn the phone horizontally, the shot is in landscape mode on the screen, but really it is portrait.
Itís fine with the photographs; you can rotate them on the PC. But we can you do with video? I had to reshoot.
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Video sample, MP4, 1.82 MB >>>
This phone will surely get the attention of those, who try to buy high technological novelties. You should not judge the X830 prospects as the new modification is already out. Surely, that model accounts for the disadvantages of its predecessor. But, in any case, the phone is extremely interesting, original and beautiful.
Letís me put it this way Ė a very interesting device that will be a great joy for its ownerÖ I think thatís a good mark. With a plus.
© Nikolay Nadezhdin, Mobiset.ru reviews
Translated by Olga Mexina (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published ó 07 march 2007
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