Out of the box, Samsung phones often struggle to impress. Maybe it's the egg-carton packaging that Samsung uses, or perhaps it's the gun-metal grey plastic bodies of recent Samsung phones, but the G600 and i450 have both made poor first impressions, defying their much hyped features.
Sliding the i450 open to reveal its recessed keypad did little to raise our opinion; a flat plastic layer with numbers defined by tiny raised strips. It was only when we slid the body in the opposite direction that we encountered the first of many pleasant surprises.
Similar to Nokia's N95, the i450 employs a dual-slide design with music controls under the top half. Media controls for the i450 are comprised of a single-ribbed rubber semi-circle that gives the impression of being a spinning wheel. Dragging a finger over the ridges scans the music menu like an iPod's touch wheel. Combined with the on-screen interface, this feature looks great, though we found the wheel to be too sensitive when scanning menus, and often ineffective when trying to make a selection by pressing down on the "wheel".
On the back of the i450 is a 2-megapixel camera, and on the top of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone port; a very welcome addition to any music-centric mobile phone. For some reason Samsung bundle headphones with a proprietary input — similar to the input on the charger — even though the 3.5mm headphone port is crying out to be used. The i450's paltry 40MB of internal memory is expanded by MicroSD memory cards with the slot for these on the left side of the handset.
As audiophiles are probably aware, Samsung has again partnered with in developing the i450, similar to the recently released Serenata, however, the i450 is definitely the first phone in this partnership we can actually afford.
The most surprising feature of the i450 is that it runs on Nokia's S60 operating platform and is one of a very small list of non-Nokia phones to use S60. While we've criticised the platform in the past for being drab and uninteresting to look at, there's no doubting the platform is both stable and intuitive to use. Best of all, recent users of Nokia phones will feel immediately at home with the menus and shortcuts, making a transition to the i450 very easy indeed.