One of the slight annoyances on the D600 was that Samsung chose to remove the raised ridge beneath the screen that aided sliding. This left you having to push from the screen itself with the flat of your thumb (easier if you have sweaty fingers), or push from the base of the phone, which was quite precarious and could often result in you dropping the handset. Thankfully Samsung has learned from this mistake and reinstated the ridge below the screen on the D900, making opening and closing the handset a breeze. Good thing too, because you couldn’t slide the D900 from the bottom even if you wanted to, since the sliding section no longer covers the entire body of the phone; instead there’s a lip at the bottom. This could be a result of user feedback from people who dropped their phones when trying to slide them from the bottom, but the lip does make the phone longer than it needs to be.
The button configuration below the screen is standard fare, and pretty much identical to the D600. The D900 uses real buttons rather than the touch sensitive controls seen on the E900 – whether this is a good thing depends on your view of touch sensitive buttons, but personally I’d rather have buttons that need to be pressed. What you’ve got is a four-way navigation pad with an OK button in the centre. You’ve also got two soft buttons, a Cancel button and finally Call and End buttons.
Slide the front of the phone up and you’ll reveal the keypad. Unlike the D600, the keypad is completely flush with the surface, making it slightly less tactile – this makes it harder to dial your number without looking at the keys, although the keys still have some travel to them when pressed. I’ve heard reports that it’s hard to press the bottom row of keys due to the lip at the bottom of the phone, but I didn’t encounter any such problems. That said, I do have pretty small fingers and I can see how anyone with large hands could have a problem.
On the left side of the chassis is a volume rocker and a microSD card slot. The latter allows you to augment the internal 70MB of user accessible storage. You don’t get a card in the box, but since memory cards are so cheap these days, that’s not a huge issue. On the right side is a camera shortcut button and the charge/sync/headset connector. Unlike the D600 which had separate connectors for power/sync and headset, the D900 has rolled them all into one, although the downside is that older Samsung chargers won’t work with the new phones. Having everything using one connector also means that you won’t be able to listen to music while you’re charging the phone.