Samsung i320 review: Smart goes slim

Jiř Kuruc, 09 August 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
Pages: 123456

Samsung i320 is worth admiration. In its tiny (11.5 mm thin) but extremely elegant body the manufacturer has fit a full-function QWERTY keypad, a rather good display, and most importantly - Windows Mobile OS.

Key features:

  • Excellent construction
  • 11.5 mm thickness and less than 100 gr. weight
  • Windows Mobile 5 OS for Smartphone
  • QWERTY keypad
  • EGDE
  • microSD memory card slot
  • Plenty of useful pre-installed applications

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-Fi
  • No miniUSB connector
  • No hot-swap memory card functionality
  • Not much available applications for the OS

Samsung i320 tunes with the latest trend in the mobile world, that is, the thinner the better. Motorola was the first to challenge users, but lately the slimmest mobile phones are being manufactured by Samsung, with the X820 model being merely 7 mm thick. What's more, after common phones have been put on a diet, it is now the smartphones' turn. The first to hit the market is Samsung i320 - a device on the border between a smartphone and a communicator with a thickness of only 12 mm.

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Samsung i320 looks rather big, but in reality it is pleasantly small

Samsung i320 features a Windows Mobile 5 OS for Smartphones. So all Compact, Vario and iPaq owners chill out! The Korean manufacturer has gained significant experience with smartphones already. Remember the interesting i300 model equipped with a 3GB hard disk or its improved version i310 with an 8GB hard disk presented at this year's CeBIT fair.

The classification of Samsung i320 as a smartphone is entirely and only mine so do not feel obliged to agree with it. According to my opinion it does not belong to the communicators' class, mainly due to the OS used and then also because of the absence of touchscreen display. Generally, there are rather few smartphones equipped with a Windows Mobile OS for Smartphones on the market (compared to the amount of Nokia models based on the Symbian OS): these are Qtek 8310 and 8500 (known as HTC MTeoR) plus the currently presented Samsung model and Motorola MPx220, which however features an older OS version.

Is it black or not?

Samsung i320 is 111 mm long and 59 mm wide. It forms a rectangle with slightly convex sides. Thanks to its slimness (11.5 mm), it is a pleasure to carry the phone in one's pocket. Its 95 grams are another reason for this device to be comparable in size to common mobile phones.

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11.5 mm thickness is pretty nice for a smartphone

When I first touched Samsung i320 I was impressed by both its brilliant construction and the materials it is made of. In spite of its slimness the phone has a solid body, which does not give out a creak even if pressed or twisted. The thin part covering the battery does not show any gaps either; just on the contrary, it holds firmly as if having been fixed for good. If you do not change SIM cards frequently, I am convinced it is going to keep its qualities during the entire life of the phone. I have to confess that I have a soft spot for both the materials used on Samsung i320 and its color. The device is dark-black when looked at under artificial light or in twilight. At the same time, it gets a unique reddish nuance when placed under direct sunlight. It is only the glossy cover of the display that will definitely require regular care, as it catches fingerprints all over. In any case Samsung i320 looks classy and stylish.

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Pictures of the phone in a palm provide a better idea of its size

Located on the right side of the device are a couple of connectors protected by rubber covers, the latter being caught to the body of the phone. The bottom cover protects the system connector, which assures the electrical connection of the synchronizing cable. A little bit upper is located the earphones slot, different from the standard jack connector. Unfortunately, the Samsung i320 model our team obtained for testing was not accompanied by an earphone set. Yet, I believe such will be available in every standard phone package.

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Connectors along with application keys on the right

The upper one of the double keys opens the system menu, in which profiles can be altered, broadcast switched off etc. A longer press on the same key locks the keypad. The bottom key can be programmed to separately react to short and longer press. On the opposite side you will find another double key, which regulates the earphones volume levels. Hidden in the top edge is the Infrared port, while the microphone is to be found in the bottom of the device.

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Pay attention to the thin strip above the camera lens. The LED is hidden right there

The most attractive element on the rear side of Samsung i320 is the digital camera lens. Pay a closer attention to the tiny strip inside the frame. Here you will find a highly powerful LED. The camera separates two speakers, which are meant to create a stereo effect. The result is rather poor though. Beneath the plastic cover you will find a Li-Ion battery of unknown capacity, a MicroSD memory card slot (TransFlash), and a SIM card slot. The fact that the removal of the SIM card does not require removal of the battery, while the exchange of the memory card does require this operation is quite interesting. Once the SIM card has been removed and replaced, the phone restarts itself automatically.

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