Samsung SGH-D900i review: Samsung SGH-D900i

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Typical Price: $599.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Intuitive, easy to navigate interface. Slim, comfortable form factor. Semi-auto 3MP camera with flash.

The Bad Smudge-magnet screen. Call interface may be a bit too cutesy.

The Bottom Line Samsung's SGH-D900i is a phone with an identity crisis -- ultimately a 2G phone with 3G multimedia aspirations. It does a couple of core things pretty well, but not well enough to make an exciting name for itself in a crowded 2G market.

7.1 Overall

Design
The Samsung SGH-D900i is a mid-range, quad-band slider-phone that finds much strength in its simplicity. Designed for professionals and the style-conscious, it fits function with "must-have" features (such as a music player and camera) into one of the slimmest form-factors on the market. Weighing in at 93g, the SGH-D900i has been designed for single-handed use, with its sliding front-panel revealing a spacious keypad with a flick of the thumb. The slightly raised keys on the sides provide quick access to the camera and volume features of this phone, alongside discreet slots for a MicroSD card and Samsung earphones/charger.

Like a Fashion Week catwalk model, the Samsung SGH-D900i garners most of its appeal from being super-skinny, shiny, and appearing to have not much on. Having most of the keys hidden away under its thin, sliding face is a definite aesthetic boon; given that the menu and contacts can be navigated without sliding the phone open, the Samsung SGH-D900i can be appreciated at its smallest the majority of the time. However, the Samsung's sleek lines and mirror-finish have a fatal flaw -- while looking gorgeous in the box, it only takes a few uses to develop a scratch or two and a grubby layer of smudges. Sadly, you cannot imagine the Samsung SGH-D900i ageing gracefully.

Another line-in-the-sand is the Samsung SGH-D900i's interface -- while the menu navigation may be comfortingly familiar to prior Samsung and Sony Ericsson users, it's the call screens that bite our noodle. As soon as you start entering a phone number, it displays an animation of a pen writing it on a pad ye olde way - is it nifty, or just plain kitsch? A similar effect is garnered when you enter numbers during a call. We love the cheery sentiment of Rainbow Brite-esque coloured numbers, but it's a positive that could be better expressed elsewhere. Ditto for the keypad tones -- the moment you work out how to turn them off (and it isn't entirely obvious), you will never choose to turn them on again.

Features
The Samsung SGH-D900i has thrown in its all with its 3MP camera and video recording mode. There are oodles of ways you can get more creative with your photos, beyond changing more conventional shooting options such as ISO and white balance. Included are effects such as sepia and black-and-white, plus the sort of frames that would be at home in a Japanese sticker-photo machine. The camera and video include 4x digital zoom and auto-focus. Thankfully, the quality of the photos can be matched by Samsung's 2-inch, 262k-colour QVGA TFT screen, which is bright and displays crisp images.

Tucked away amidst the Applications are a Music Player, Voice Recorder and FM Radio. All of which are best enjoyed when using the provided Samsung headphones, unless you're one of those types that mercilessly belts tunes on the train, to the chagrin of everyone else. The Music Player supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, and e-AAC+ audio formats and can also play through Bluetooth-enabled speakers.

The Image Editor is another rather whimsical application, which lets you change basic settings such as brightness and contrast in your pictures, as well as built-in add frames, clip art and emoticons. Be warned that this little app adds artefacts as it heavily compresses your photos.

The Samsung SGH-D900i is a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM phone, which also comes with Bluetooth and USB for transferring files, as well as a WAP browser for Internet connectivity over EDGE and GPRS networks. As this is not a 3G phone, data transfer speeds are ho-hum, so save your high-speed Web aspirations for your PC. The Samsung includes about 67MB of in-built memory, which is enough for an album, or around 140-150 photos. This is expandable with the use of a MicroSD card; a mandatory if you intend to use the Samsung SGH-D900i as a serious music device.

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