BeatDJ is the application, which turns your phone into a DJ deck. It can be run from the music menu or directly in the music player.
We faced a very intuitive and clean interface again. BeatDJ is landscape oriented and in its center is a large circle, which takes after a vinyl record. There are no special visualizations here, just the track name, album and running time.
There are six buttons that grant control over the mixing deck - REC, Scratch, Filters, and Samples. By pressing the REC key you can record a sound file, which will keep all user actions that affect the sound of the played track. Scratch, quite logically, turns the circle into a virtual vinyl, which you can spin on the touchscreen to do scratches.
Unfortunately things didn't turn out quite as we expected in the retail unit. We hoped for scratches to be almost real-life-like. Instead of nice and fluent backspins, slow-downs and speed-ups as on a normal vinyl, the Beat DJ offered very basic back and forward scratching.
It feels quite choppy too and any time you touch the virtual vinyl or sharply change spin direction, the track stops and takes about a second to resume. It doesn't feel right but we acknowledge it's a first attempt.
There are 10 filters to choose from, looping, echo, tempo change to name a few. Most of the effects are easily controlled by the central vinyl - tuning or toggling on/off the various parameters.
You can have only two active filters at a time. When you start a new one, the first one gets automatically canceled. That's another thing that needs changing in future products obviously.
The other option we have at hand is samples - there are 20 of them preinstalled. Basically, this means you can put a little sample in the track, like chimes or siren. Once you've selected the sample you want, a small "play" button appears in the center of the vinyl. You can press it as many times as you want and create some nice mixes.
There's no way to use own samples though, which could've been even more fun - another point on the wishlist, please!
For scrolling filters and audio samples you use the virtual scroll wheel. Topped with the virtual vinyl, the Beat DJ handling offers a really unique user experience.
To sum it up, the Beat DJ isn't quite so well implemented but occasionally it can be fun to use. Better response by the virtual vinyl would've made a huge difference. The filters and samples are just fine and do a fine job of tuning a popular track.
We guess a way to mix two separate tracks is well beyond the Beat DJ capabilities at this point. Maybe two virtual records onscreen and a fader is just too much to ask for now, but should definitely be on top spot in our wishlist for future Beat DJ products.
Here's a short demo video of the Samsung M7600 Beat DJ we took back on a pre-release unit. The whole thing is essentially the same in the retail unit with the only difference it's a tad more responsive now - but still not quite to our expectations.
The Samsung M7600 features an FM radio with RDS. The Beat DJ's radio app offers intuitive controls and has the Find Music recognition service implemented, which works much like Sony Ericsson's TrackID.
There's an option to record radio broadcasts as well, which can be a cheapo way to get individual tracks or whole sets off the radio.
The radio app is in the Applications menu but the Radio widget on the home screen gives you more immediate access. Tapping on it brings up the radio or you could just use the widget's controls to start/stop the radio or change the station. It can only skip between saved stations though, and if you want to search you'll have to do it in the actual app.
Speaking of stations, you can save stations but they are labeled by just their frequency and you can't rename them. There's a separate list for your favorite stations.
Unfortunately we couldn't analyze the audio quality of the Samsung M7600 Beat DJ. It turned out the sound volume of the handset is too low to be recorded properly by our regular equipment. Subjectively, music sounds just fine with the supplied headphones but it's not as loud as needed by the equipment, which makes it way lower than any other phone we've tested.
You can learn more about our audio quality testing here.