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The sides of this handset contain just a couple of buttons. There is a volume rocker on the left side and one for the camera on the right side. Lift the slider and the flat number pad is reasonably responsive. I’m coming round to flat number pads as handset manufactures learn that to be effective they need to be large and tactile. Both characteristics apply here.
As I’ve mentioned the camera let’s deal with that next. It shoots stills at resolutions up to 2-megapixels, has a 4x digital zoom, LED flash and self portrait mirror. The lens is on the back of the casing so it is available when the handset slider is closed, which is a plus. The downside of this arrangement is that the lens is not afforded any protection against scratches as it would be if tucked under the slider.
As usual all my test shots were taken with the camera on automatic settings. Outdoors it performed quite well as long as the subject was still. I was able to get pretty close to the flowers and whites were not, for once, dramatically over exposed.
The cat shots were good too with honest colour reproduction. As soon as the cat gave even the slightest twitch, though, I got a blurred image. Indoors the camera again reproduced colours well, but photos were not very vibrant. The coloured dish shot under normal household lights is an example.
There is 80MB of memory built into the SGH-D840 and microSD cards can add more. The slot is on the right side of the casing with a protective cover. Music playback quality through the provided headphones was reasonably good, which is just as well as they share the power cable’s proprietary connector. Samsung’s in-ear headphones are ergonomically a disaster for my ears, though. They just won’t stay in place.
Other software includes a calendar, POP email client, voice recorder, and image editor with colour effects including a rather nice embossing overlay to augment the more everyday likes of sepia, negative and greyscale. There is also a calculator, unit converters, alarms, timer, and stopwatch. Bluetooth is built in and there is a TV out mode but the phone doesn’t come with the leads you’ll need to achieve that.
On test the battery lasted for a total of six hours 48 minutes, but it only gave me five hours 31 minutes of non-stop music. After music playback ceased I got low battery warnings every few minutes till it finally gave up.
The SGH-D840 has some strong components: the camera stands up well, the front screen is impressive, the slider mechanism is smooth and comfortable. But in general the specifications are average, the phone is a little large in the hand and pocket, and there are no really ‘must have’ features. If you have the same trouble with in-ear headphones that I do then steer clear.