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Samsung’s Ultra range of handsets is well established, and its overriding theme is of thin and sleek mobiles. Between us, Riyad and I have looked at several Ultra mobiles as the range has developed, including the SGH-Z560 and SGH-D830.
The D840 is a slider and it isn’t all that different in size and shape from LG’s Shine. Like the Shine the D840 is sliver, though there is less metal going on here with much of the casing on the D840’s sides and back made of plastic. Only the front sliding section incorporates significant amounts of metal.
Overall, the D840’s dimensions (99mm x 51mm x 11.9mm) make it a fairly sizeable ask for a pocket, though its 104g is nice and light. When you open the slider to get at the numberpad the D840 grows to 132m - quite a chunk of phone to hold to your ear.
As sliders go the D840 is nice enough to use. There is a little ridge just below the screen which you can grab with a thumb and the slide mechanism itself is ‘assisted’ so you don’t have to hoik at it – just a gentle push or pull is all that’s required.
The front screen is a fairly standard 240 x 320 pixel 262,000 colour job, but Samsung, as ever, ensures it is clear and bright. I did have a bit of trouble framing photos and generally reading the screen outdoors in bright sunshine, but that’s nothing new for a mobile really. On a purely personal note, I like Samsung’s poppy wallpaper – its vibrant red just makes the screen look so appealing, and the date and time are nice and large so they can be seen at a glance.
Beneath the screen the front buttons are a fairly standard bunch but nicely designed and easy to use. The Call and End/power keys and softmenu keys are large. Under the navigation button is a long, thin delete key, and the navigation button itself has a central select key which doubles to start the Internet browser running.
This is a Tri-band handset with GPRS rather than a 3G so you won’t be wanting to Web browse a great deal. If you do decide to drop into the odd website, there is mixed news. The browser has two viewing options: ‘SmartFit view’ and ‘Desktop view’. The former does what it can to squeeze sites so that only vertical scrolling is needed but it isn’t always effective. In fact, the Desktop view did a better job with some sites.
A test page I use for mobiles is composed of simple HTML with a few jpegs and is organised using tables rendered very well in Desktop view, with only vertical scrolling required. The TrustedReviews home page is a different story. Much slower to load, the browser got a bit confused in its SmartFit mode, and the result was lost continuity of data. The better view in this case was Desktop. Take a look at the two photos below to see the difference.