Samsung D900 review: Slim slider extreme

Jan Horalík, 26 September 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Keypad is virtually perfect

The keypad is divided into two areas: a functional one, which is constantly accessible, and a numeric one only usable when the device is open. All functional keys are spacey enough and seamless to work with. Along with a standard four-way navigation key with a confirming center here you will also find a couple of context keys, keys for call initiation and termination, as well as a standard cancel key. In other words, SMS can be read, music played or WAP accessed even if the phone is closed.

Samsung D900 Samsung D900 Samsung D900
Typing is comfortable • keypad's functional area is accessible even when the handset is closed

The numeric part of the keypad constitutes of an even matrix of equally sized keys, the latter being divided one from another by spaces. The keys are large, but utterly flat, which makes touch orientation somewhat complicated. Press is accurate but accompanied by a rather loud click; in result, SMS typing in quiet environment may sometimes be considered disturbing.

Samsung D900 Samsung D900 Samsung D900 Samsung D900
Details of the keypad's functional area • the numeric part is utterly flat

Keys' legends are illuminated in white. The red and the green keys are the only ones with a different color but white, that is, they keep their red and green backlighting respectively. The keypad backlights can also be set to go on in certain daytime, for example from the evening to the morning; during the rest of the day the phone maintains the keypad backlighting off for energy-saving reasons.

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Keypad's backlights can be active in certain daytime interval only 

Superb display again

Samsung handsets have also been distinguished for their brilliantly elaborated displays. Samsung D900 is no exception to the rule: thanks to the active TFT,with its 240 x 320 pixels and 262K colors it stands out in any aspect. Images are detailed; pixels are nearly impossible to distinguish with bare eye. Colors are true, animation is fast, and legibility under direct sunlight is superb.

Samsung D900 Samsung D900 Samsung D900 Samsung D900
Display is brilliant • featuring extremely fine images and vivid, real colors

The backlighting intensity as well as its duration is user-configurable from the main menu. When the active time runs out, first the backlights fade away and then the display goes out completely. In case of need to check for missed events it is necessary to press a random key or simply open the phone.

Samsung D900
Speaker's grid is decently elaborated

The display is protected by a glass reaching the very edge of the phone, also covering the black glossy frame with the manufacturer's logo around the display. On the other hand, the material this protection is made of allows fingerprints to be quite visible and will require frequent cleaning. The speaker grid located above the display is decently elaborated and decorated with a silver band.

Interface and control: background for travelers

Samsung D900 is controlled in a way very similar to manufacturer's former models. The main menu is accessible from the stand-by display through a press on the left context key. The right context key is reserved for the phonebook. The central area of the navigation key opens the WAP browser, again from stand-by. At the same time each way of this basic key - but the up one - can be assigned the function of instant access to one of 22 items. The up way is fixed to open the My menu, where you can configure your preferable and most frequently used functions.

 
Stand-by display • main menu in black

The stand-by display offers an extensive number of settings. The top bar is reserved for standard details like signal strength, battery status, GPRS connectivity, ringing mode etc. Beneath that you will see a grey band with the current date and a digital clock. The operator's logo can be located in the bottom or simply deactivated (its color and font type are user-configurable as well). The bottom bar features description of the functions assigned to the context keys. Samsung D900 could also be set to constantly visualize the month view of the calendar on its stand-by display, which is quite a practical option.


The selected icon is the only one colored • deeper menu levels use pop-up windows

The phone offers a total of 10 wallpapers, each of which can be applied as background of the stand-by display. Any other image could be used as well. Besides, Samsung D900 features a rather unusual animated traveler background with analogue clock, which recognizes - with the help of the respective operator - the country where the phone is being used and subsequently selects a proper background design. If you visit France, for example, an image of the Eiffel Tower will dominate your display. Background wallpaper is animated: birds are flying in the sky, clouds are moving etc. From 7 pm till 6 am it gets wrapped up in night mood: the sunny sky gets dark, while houses start to gleam with lights.

 
A sample of the white version of the main menu and its deeper levels

The main menu can be displayed either as a matrix of 9 icons or as a standard list. In any case it is colored moderately and has nothing in common with the "cartoons" in other Samsung phones. The menu has two color versions: a stylish black one, where only the selected icon is color-toned, and a more vivid and more colorful white one. The rest of the items consist of text only. Sub-menus are visualized as pop-up windows accessible through the horizontal ways of the navigation key. To my opinion however, the main menu has one disturbing minus: it memorizes the last visited item and the next time you open the menu it shows you the way to this item as a priority-one. In result, you will have to sometimes make steps back in the menu in order to open a different item. Generally, Samsung D900 leads you inside the menu relatively fast. Shortcut keys are available too.

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