When you buy a mobile phone with a view to using its camera instead of having a dedicated digital camera for your snaps, you inevitably make some compromises. Even the best mobile phone camera can’t match a nicely specified pocket digital camera for features and capabilities.
How much longer that will hold true is questionable, though. Phones with below par 2-megapixel (and lower) sensors will probably continue to be around for a long while, but at the higher end of the market things are getting better and better with 5-megapixel sensors and impoved optics now appearing in handsets.
Samsung’s new G800 brings 3x optical zoom alongside 5-megapixel images to the mobile phone – a pairing that was pretty desirable in a dedicated digital camera not that long ago.
I’ll get to the camera – the unique selling point for this mobile – in more detail later. But even before looking at any of the features I need to point out that if you have small pockets or want a tidy and neat mobile, then maybe the G800 is not for you.
Styled in silver and black the G800 is a reasonably good looking phone. It is a slider, and an exceptionally large navigation button sits beneath the screen, flanked by two tall, thin softmenu buttons. Beneath these and very close to the bottom edge of the phone, are the Call and End keys and a Cancel key.
Slide the lid section upwards and the flat number pad is revealed. This is large, and easy enough to use. Opened, the phone is a generous 135mm tall. Closed, it is 101.5mm tall and either way it’s 52mm wide. As for thickness, Samsung lists that at 18.8mm, but that doesn’t include the back-mounted camera lens cover which protrudes from the main body of the phone. Include the cover and by my reckoning the G800 measures in at a substantial 22mm thick. Weight-wise you are looking at 129g.
The screen is a 2.4 inch, 262 thousand colour, 320 x 240 pixel affair and as we have come to expect from Samsung it is clear, sharp and bright. No problems there.
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