Samsung i300 review: Smartphone with a hard disk

Roman Krejča, 22 November 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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There is no doubt that the new Samsung i300 smartphone represents the best of the best Windows Mobile OS can offer nowadays. It has a 3GB hard disk, a high-quality display, a unique steering control button as well as plenty of functions, of which the music ones are probably the most successful. The phone's equipment is wrapped up into a compact and quite elegant body.

Key features

  • Windows Mobile OS
  • 3 GB hard disk
  • Brilliant display
  • Standard connector for earphones
  • Megapixel camera

Main disadvantages

  • Slow data transfer (USB 1.1)
  • No EDGE, Wi-Fi or 3G
  • 3.5mm audio jack only through adapter

As smartphones represent a top-class technological achievement in the business with mobile phones, it is a matter of prestige for each manufacturer to be able to offer a smartphone. Hence it is no wonder that a device of that high a category has appeared in the offer list of the Korean company Samsung. By the way, Samsung is known for its tendency to often change the OS of its smartphones. The mobile phone we have just tested - Samsung i300 - was announced with Microsoft Windows Mobile 2005, but the final version works with Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 OS Second Edition.

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Samsung i300

Samsung i300 was shown for the first time this year, at the European trade show CeBit, along with several other smartphones: the slider Samsung D720 featuring Symbian Series 60, the clamshell D730, also with a Symbian OS, and the communicator i750, which has a touchscreen and a slide-out keypad, and works with Windows for Pocket PC OS. Yet, Samsung i300 was the most successful in holding visitors' interest, mainly because of its 3GB hard disk.

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Samsung D720 • Samsung D730 • Samsung i750

This phone is a tiny spectacle

When I first saw Samsung i300, I could not help but getting the impression of a quite big and edgy device. However, after having tested the phone for several days now, I would not dare change its size of 113 × 48 × 20 mm even a little bit. The phone is comfortable to hand-hold and stands firmly. The edges are round enough and thus assure easy work. In addition, the location of the control buttons is nearly perfect. It is only the weight of 130 g that makes difference when compared to other mobile phones.

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It looks like Siemens, doesn't it?

Nearly half of the front side of the phone is occupied by its big color display. As expected, the latter is active and allows the TFT technology to brilliantly show all its strengths. Display's surface is 3 X 4 cm big. It fits 76800 pixels in a 240 × 320 matrix. Each pixel is able to show 262K colors. The display can fit from 6 to 11 text lines according to the used mode.

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It sticks to your hand... • comparison to a credit card

The new Samsung i300 display is truly a top-class one. Its quality exceeds all expectations. The graphic image looks very natural due to the combination between high resolution and reasonably big surface. Diagonal lines are far from jaggy. Redrawing speed is exceptional, just like the evenness of the backlighting. The display is perfectly readable under direct sun light as well.

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Display is very good

Spin it around

Have a look at the discreet silver cover of the receiver. On both its sides there are two color LEDs, which alert you about phone's basic functional states. Personally, I am quite fond of this type of indicators and I am sorry to see that the more the time goes the less it is being applied by the manufacturers.

The real control innovation however can be seen on the block below the display, where 6 functional keys are dominated by a silver control button. The latter is quite strange and at the same time habit-forming. Its silver ring can be used as a standard navigation button. In other words, you can move within the phone and control its functions by pressing the wheel in four ways. A press on the black middle part confirms the choice. The silver ring, however, features an additional peculiarity - it steers both clock- and anticlockwise, in a way similar to the one we know form the iPod first generation music players. A small projection on the ring prevents user's finger from slipping away when steering. Navigation within the phone by means of a steering ring seems to be a most logical and natural solution.

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All-way control button - can be both pressed and steered

The block of functional keys is quite standard. Right below the display you will find a pair of soft keys, followed by the back button and the one for quick access to the main menu. The last to come are the red and the green receiver buttons, which serve incoming and outgoing calls.

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Keypad is extremely comfortable

The keypad gives no reason for complaints. The keys are made of solid plastic; individual lines are separated by clearly cut spacing and touch orientation is easy. Perhaps the touch marks on the middle key could have been a little bit more tangible. The keys show no delay, their uplift is ideal and their reactions are easy to notice. All this allows for quick and comfortable writing with minor, if not insignificant keying mistakes.

Samsung i300 Keypad backlighting is deep blue

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