It has been a while since we’ve looked at a sliding handset from Samsung: it was way back in November that Riyad reviewed the SGH-D600. It came away with a coveted Recommended award from him, and from my own experience I’d say the award was fully justified.
Now I have the SGH-E900 in my hands. This is another slider and it shares quite a few features with the SGH-D600 such as a 2-megapixel camera and 80MB of built in memory. But of course the SGH-E900 is not a clone of the earlier handset.
Now, I am quite a fan of the slider format. It is ideal for phones designed to be small in the pocket and a good slider lets you do pretty much everything except number dial calls and write SMS messages without using the slider mechanism.
On the size front the SGH-E900 is not quite as small as I’d like at 90 x 45 x 16.5mm, but it is certainly smaller than candy bar handsets. It is light too, at just 93g.
The slider mechanism is superb. Spring loaded, it takes just a slight push or pull to open and close the handset.
The only button on the front fascia is the navigation key. Samsung has used a touch sensitive panel for the rest of the front features. There is no doubting this makes for a very clean design. The front of the handset is sleek, shiny black punctuated by a silver frame around the navigation button, silver central select button, silver Samsung branding and small silver flash under the speaker at the head of the handset.
When you turn the SGH-E900 on its 240 x 320 pixel, 262,000 colour screen is beautifully clear and bright. I can’t complain about the backlight for the touch sensitive area either – the low-light white that pops up when buttons are available is subtle and stylish. I also really like that the three music playback controls (pause/play, forward and back) are only lit up and available when you run the music player.
But touch sensitive buttons just aren’t my thing. Tactile buttons are easy to find without looking too hard for them, and there is a physical response to indicate that you have actually pressed something. The touch-sensitive approach left me often needing to look at the SGH-E900 to be sure I pressed the right area for the action I required. I felt the same when reviewing LG’s revolutionary Chocolate KG800 phone, which also has a touch based interface.