Samsung includes its own media player that can pick up tracks you’ve synchronised via Windows Media Player 10 or copied across manually. It sports an equaliser so you can tweak the audio to your tastes.
Of course the reason for the far larger capacity is that the i300 is a hard drive based handset, whereas Sony Ericsson’s Walkmans and Apple’s nano use flash memory. At first, it is a bit disconcerting to the ‘tickticktick’ sound of the spinning hard drive emanating from the handset and I did worry about the hard drive inside the phone being robust enough to survive the falls and knocks that a handset has to take during its everyday life.
Though you might think that 3GB was enough capacity for a hard disk, the Samsung i300 actually supports removable media as well. There’s a TransFlash (aka MicroSD) slot on the right edge of the casing. A 512MB card will set you back less than £40 at www.valuemedia.co.uk
Though the Samsung i300 is a Windows Mobile Smartphone it runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition and not the more recent Windows Mobile 5.0. It is tri-band capable and features Bluetooth.
The phone sports the usual array of Windows Mobile applications, such as a phonebook, calendar, to do list manager and calculator as well as the already noted Windows Media Player. ActiveSync enables the i300 to synchronise with Outlook on your PC. There’s email, SMS and MMS support, and via Pocket Internet Explorer you can hop onto the Web if you are keen to see what sites look like on the 240 x 320 pixel, 262 thousand colour screen.
You also get voice control, which enables you to launch software applications as well as initiate calls, a unit conversion utility, and a collection of stopwatch and alarm tools. There is also an icon driven application launcher, in case you prefer this way of getting into applications.
Also squirreled away on the system is the Picsel viewer for reading Word, PowerPoint, PDF, Excel, plain text and other document. I think this viewer is a great achievement, and was very impressed with how well it worked. For example, it readily coped with an 800k PowerPoint document, opening it from a TransFlash memory card more quickly than I’d expected. But the sad fact is that i300’s 30mm wide x 40mm tall screen is simply too small for adequately reading formatted documents like PDFs or PowerPoints, or spreadsheets that are more than about 3 cells wide, even though you can switch the screen into a landscape orientation to make the most of it.