The Samsung X830 definitely tries to buck the current trend of smart phones that (try) to do everything. Personally, I have been caught up in the task of finding myself the ultimate mobile phone, something for emails, music, computer connectivity, web browsing, the list is just endless. With all this going on inside my mobile often ends up being a bit brick or slab-like.
When the X830 arrived in the office and I opened the box, the first impression, after picking my jaw up off the floor was "Where's the phone". This thing is tiny, a really beautiful handset. About the size of a Milky Way (the edible kind) the front sports a thin upright screen with a 128 x 220 resolution. Underneath the screen is a click wheel, which physically rotates for navigating the menus. It also acts as a 4 way directional button, with a fifth button for selecting items in the middle.
The left side of the handset has a hold button, for preventing accidental clicks whilst listening to music. On the right are the volume buttons, plus a nice hard plastic cover that swivels around to reveal the earphone and charging sockets.
The back of the phone sports a 1.3 megapixel camera, with 4x digital zoom, night mode and various other effects.
Getting inside the phone is wonderful, you rotate the whole front in a clockwise motion, to reveal the keypad. The swivel action is fantastic, you will be playing with it for hours. It snaps out in a nice vertical position every time, obviously a lot of thought went into this. The keypad is a nice size, with two additional soft keys and a clear button that doubles to activate the camera.
The menu system carries on the brilliant design of the handset. Although you can change the colour scheme, the default duotone, red and white, is really effective. You can move through the menus either by clicking the wheel in the appropriate place or by rotating it. The main screen menu gives you access to a call log, applications, messages, camera, phonebook, browser, files and your settings.
I won't delve into every menu here, but should mention the two great java based games you get. First up is Cannonball, which is a modern day pong type game. It has nice colourful graphics and is surprisingly addictive. The second game, Forgotten Warrior is a mini RPG game with a platform flavour. Seems like Apple's influence is everywhere, the first item I found was a iKey! Well, the graphics are nice and colourful and it kept me amused for a good half hour at a time…
Now onto the biggest feature, where the X830 really excels. This tiny tiny little phone houses an MP3 player, plus the ability to record and playback MPEG4 files. The music side of things supports MP3, ACC, AAC and WMA files. You get 1GB of built-in memory, so plenty for carrying around a couple of days worth of tracks. In closed mode you simply press and hold the centre button to get into MP3 mode. The display tells you the track title, duration, time played, and number of tracks in current selection. In the background the display shows you exactly what the click wheel and centre button will do the the track (eg. play, pause, skip). You can select your tracks by recently played, mot played, artist, album, genre, podcasts, or by playlists. The built in speaker does a very good job for playback and actually goes quite loud. However, it goes without saying that things sound a whole lot better though the earphones.
With the screen rotated into the open position, you can also play back your music tracks accompanied by a nice visual display, which is very colourful and effective.
So, the camera is pretty good, with nice clear outdoor images. Even indoor snaps (see Excite Truck) are acceptable. The screen, although small, is bright and nicely detailed. The user interface is brilliant and a joy to navigate with the scroll/click wheel. Where the phone intends to excel, it really doesn't disappoint, the music playback is awesome. All this is wrapped up in an ultra cool design. If you are looking for something a bit different, that does all the above with style, plus makes a very usable mobile phone too, then the X830 is the way to go. Well done Samsung, if you keep releasing handsets like this my piggy bank will empty pretty quickly.