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It seems appropriate that I am writing about Samsung’s SGH-X830 just as the chat about Apple’s newly announced music playing iPhone reaches fever pitch. This phone is a combination of music player and Tri-band phone that is designed like no other combination of these two features I have ever seen.
The Samsung SGH-X830 looks more like a portable music player than a phone – it is tall, thin and undersized for a mobile – the dimensions are 84 x 30 x 19.9mm. It weighs 72g, which is less than any mobile I can remember seeing and supports MP3, ACC, ACC+, e-AAC+, WMA file formats.
My review sample came from O2 and has stunning white and silver casing. It is also available in pink and black. I will refrain from raging against those colours here, but read my latest editorial to the editorial for a whinge.
The front fascia comprises a tall, thin screen – 19mm wide, 32mm tall and 128 x 220 pixels wide - and a wheel for navigation. This is all very music player like, and when you press and hold the navigation wheel’s central select button the music player springs into action and the display activates in wide format to show you what’s playing.
The navigation wheel’s centre button will now pause and resume playback, while pressing the wheel at the top opens the playlist, left and right skip back and forwards between tracks, and pressing the wheel at the bottom opens the music player controls and options. From here you can edit playlists, send files via Bluetooth, set a tune as a ringtone and configure the shuffle and repeat settings. Two buttons on the top edge of the handset let you control music volume.
When a call comes in the music player stops. If you take the call, at its end you can resume playback either by ending the call by moving from phone mode back into music player mode, in which case it resumes automatically, or by ending the call by pressing the ‘End Call’ button and then tapping a softmenu button to resume music playback.
So where is the End Call button and what is this ‘phone mode’ and ‘music player mode’? The answer is all in the swivel. The Samsung SGH-X830 is made in two sections, which pivot around the central select button in the navigation wheel. The pivoting action is spring loaded and feels very slick, though it only works in one direction and you’ll need to practice a bit to get the knack just right. Open the phone up and a two column numberpad is revealed.
This houses Call and End buttons, two softmenu buttons and a combined cancel and camera launch button. The navigation wheel turns into a scroll-or-click navigation button while its central select button becomes a Web browser shortcut. You can lock these keys with the only other side mounted button, marked ‘Hold’.
I found the two-column number pad easy to get used to, though if you are a frequent texter the very different alpha-key layout may prove quite painful at first.
Getting tunes onto the phone is achieved by download from the Web, Bluetooth transfer or from a PC either by synchronising with Windows Media Player or using Samsung’s PC Studio software. This is provided on a CD and accompanied by the necessary connection cable – USB at the PC end, proprietary at the Samsung SGH-X830 end.
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