Samsung W880 AMOLED 12M preview: First look

GSMArena team, 29 September 2009.
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Tags: Samsung, Touch UI

Samsung W880 AMOLED 12M 360-degree spin

A device like Samsung W880 AMOLED 12M certainly makes you reconsider cellphone evolution. Back in the day we witnessed manufacturers started putting small cameras on mobile phones only to see them add mobile phone functionality to cameras today. And it seems that from user's point of view the rich feature set somehow makes up for the increased bulk, which would have been unacceptable only an year or two ago.

You've all seen mobile phones turn into mini computers thanks to 1GHz chipsets such as the Snapdragon and there are even tablets getting phone functionality such as Nokia N900. We wonder how long will it take before the cellphone hardware makes its way to other personal items as well. GPS navigators and dedicated music players are already succumbing to the pressure - will the mobile phone turn into the ultimate personal gadget in the years to come?

Design and construction

The Samsung W880 AMOLED 12M looks more like a digicam than a mobile phone. We're not really sure how many times we've said that before, but it's here that the words meet its true meaning. The protruding lens, the rubbery hand grip and the rotating mode dial on the edge will hardly allow you to guess that it's a mobile phone we're displaying here.

The front panel is dominated by the 3.3-inch touchscreen of WVGA resolution. It's a capacitive unit and naturally its sensitivity is among the best in the business. Above the display is the videocall camera, the ambient light sensor and more importantly - one of the two stereo loudspeakers.

Below the display there are two call receiver keys and the Back key plus the second of the set of stereo speakers. The two receiver keys are the only elements that give off the dual purpose of this digicam look-alike.

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Samsung W880 front is dominated by the 3.3-inch touchscreen

The back of the Samsung W880 is where it gets interesting - the protruding lens is what distinguishes this cameraphone from the most other that you may have seen. Purely, digicam style, once you turn the camera on, the lens protrudes outwards and retracts back again when you're done taking your snapshots - and those are some snapshots, but more on that later. The opening and closing of the zoom lens is extremely fast, causing no delays in the camera start time.

Next to the zoom lens is a full-featured xenon flash plus a regular LED one for use when capturing videos.

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The back is where it gets interesting - the protruding optical zoom lens is here

As you can see, when you're not using the camera, the lens doesn't get in your way.

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The zoom lens retrackts fully when the camera is not used

The optical zoom is among the key selling points of the device, but equally important are the optimized camera controls. We give theme that, having a mode dial on a mobile phone (even a cameraphone) is quite rare.

The Mode dial allows for quick toggling between Macro, Landscape, Portrait, Program, Manual, the proprietary SmartAuto shooting mode and finally, Video recording.

Next to the Mode dial there are several other controls such as a dedicated key to start the camera and the large shutter key just next to the Mode dial. In fact the zoom ring and the shutter key are just like on a regular digicam.

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True digicam controls on a mobile phone - the Mode dial and zoom ring

The top and bottom parts of the Samsung W880 are pretty bare of any control elements, while on the left-hand side there is a dedicated key for starting the Mobile TV application (T-DMB transmission standard in Korea) and the Home key. The proprietary connectivity port is also on this side hidden under a protective cap.

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From other angles the Samsung W880 looks like any other phone

The Samsung W880 is a pretty large and thick (16.3 mm) handset but its ergonomics are quite nice and it feels nice in hand. Still, we're not really sure if it will be equally comfortable to have it all day with you as say, a more compact mobile phone.

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Held in hand, the Samsung W880 seems a bit too much to handle as an everyday gadget

User interface

We are not going to go into much detail about the user interface of the Samsung W880 AMOLED 12M. All Korean handsets have region specific UI, which won't be available in the global version.

What you need to know is that the Samsung W880 will be a feature phone, running on whatever version of the Samsung TouchWiz is the latest at the time of its release. Still, you can check out the video below to get an idea of its speed and responsiveness.

Now let's not waste any more time and get to the device most important feature - its camera. You can find out more about it and loads of samples after the jump.

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