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Windows Mobile Smartphones are pretty widely available these days, both from operators and SIM free. But Windows Mobile Smartphones with hard drives in them are another matter. Until recently there weren’t any at all but now there are, though admittedly you can only choose from a range of one. This is the Samsung’s i300. It’s available only from O2 and will cost you £50 on one of its pay monthly contracts. And it has a drive capacity of 3GB.
The hardware is a mix of black and silver colouring, and the left and right edges are peppered with slots and buttons. Given that there are plenty of other Windows Mobile Smartphones around, not surprisingly it’s the hard drive that’s the main selling point of this handset and judging from O2’s web site the emphasis is very much on using the space it provides to store music files.
It is odd that O2 wants to position the i300 as so squarely consumer. Imagine what you can do as a professional user with 3GB of storage space. If you want to buy 3GB of key drive storage it’s going to cost you a whole lot more than £49.99. It could well be that if you need to shift a lot of data you could justify moving to the i300 on the price per MB alone, without taking into consideration its smartphone features.
To give the music idea its due, it is incredibly easy to get tunes onto the i300. It runs Windows Media Player 10, and if you also run that on your PC you can set things up so that music synchronises. If you don’t have Windows Media Player 10 on your PC, or don’t want to do the synching thing, then copying music files and folders across manually is just as easy.
What the i300 is being billed as here is a competitor to both portable music players like the iPod nano and music phones like Sony Ericsson’s W800i, W550i and the new 3G W900i. It beats the Sony Ericssons hands down on storage capacity, but doesn’t outperform either on sound quality. Through the i300’s built-in twin speakers, it’s mediocre at best. It’s better through the provided headset, but still not outstanding, though things are improved by using your own headphones.