Samsung X830 review: The small big player

Ivo Mareček, 25 January 2007. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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The controversial Samsung X830 won’t leave you indifferent. It is a MP3 player with 1 GB of built-in memory on one hand, and a mobile phone, supporting Bluetooth and EDGE on the other hand. The unusual design also draws the attention – it will amuse some, while it will definitely inspire others.

Key features

  • 1 GB internal memory
  • Small size
  • Quality music reproduction
  • Keypad lightning
  • EDGE support
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack

Main disadvantages

  • Unusual keypad layout, keys located in two columns
  • Bad location of the built-in camera lens
  • Unstable construction of the swivel hinge mechanism
  • No memory card slot
  • No email client
  • Low quality of retail package headphones
  • Software issues

The topic of the this year’s Christmas time when it comes to mobile communications was clearly the music player capabilities of mobile phones. After the music-oriented models such as 5200 and 5300, the specially designed smart phones such as 3250 Xpress Music and 5500 Sport Music Edition of the Finnish brand Nokia and after the top Sony Ericsson W850i and W950i Walkmans, here comes the Korean Samsung. The untraditional X830 model again predisposes to thoughts, whether the music players’ integration into the world of mobile phones won’t take to an exactly opposite direction.

We have already met

The X830 concept comes from the SPH-S4300 model, being available from the first quarter of 2006 in Korea; we have already seen this model on the CeBIT Fair in Hanover. Physically, Samsung appears more like a music player than like a mobile. The multimedia functions in a phone are essential for a certain group of people. On principle, however, we expect that the phone functions won’t suffer from the multimedia ones. Unfortunately, the manufacturers often do this.

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Official pictures • Samsung X830 offers a variety of colors

The overall phone design is contradictory in many ways. To some it may look stylish, to others – the new form may look rather controversial. True fact is that the dimensions of 84 x 30 x 19 mm are at least unusual and hardly remind of an ordinary phone. I thought that the Samsung weighs less at first sight. The weight of 72 g however was no such a big surprise, having in mind the phone size. Yet, from current models it compares only to Sony Ericsson J100 in terms of weight.

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The phone in pink • held in hand • size comparison with N73 • and with a credit card

According to the available information Samsung X830 will be sold in six color variants: blue, green, orange, pink, white and black. I would unambiguously prefer the more conservative black variant. I didn’t like much the orange-silver cover of the sample model we had for testing.

Ah, those swivel hinges

There aren’t many models with rotating construction on the market. Unfortunately the Samsung X830 swivel mechanism is not very successful. The disadvantages aren’t visible at common manipulation, but the construction won’t stand at thorough testing. The deflections in closed, semi open and fully open positions may be felt clearly and you have to get used to them in the phone’s everyday use. Moreover, while in closed position the lock mechanism does its job satisfactory, but when opened, it fails to lock the upper part in an upright position. A little consolation is the fact, that rotating it about ten degrees activates the opening mechanism, which provides the movement to the upper position side. So, you don’t have to push it all the way up.

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The phone open • swivel mechanism details

Opening the phone with one hand is easy due to its width of only 30 mm. It’s enough to turn the phone with display down and push with thumb to the right side board. It’s easy for right-handers; left-handed people have to make bigger effort. Right thumb manipulation is after all simpler than pushing with the other left hand fingers.

The outsides

The Samsung body is made of plastic covers, supplemented by metal buttons. One such button serves for locking the music player controls; the lower edge of the same side features the traditional eyelet for a neck strip. The opposite side incorporates two buttons, intended for volume control. The cover of the common connector for headphones, data cable and charger is situated above them.

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All side views

To loosen the battery cover, use the buttons, located on the upper. They seem more as dummy buttons, because pressing them is practically impossible and removing the battery will cost you some more efforts and strain. The battery cover takes ? of the mobile’s back side; the built-in camera lens is located on the remaining area.

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Details of the side elements

The provided battery is Li-Ion with capacity of 800 mAh and maximum indicated lifetime of 120 h in stand-by and 3 h of talk time. The real values move about two and a half days in stand-by mode. Using the music functions shortens the battery charging cycle, of course, but still it easily lasts one day without need to be charged.

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