Samsung SPH-M300 review: Samsung SPH-M300

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.3
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Pricing Unavailable

The Good The Samsung SPH-M300 features a stylish and compact design. The cell phone also offers integrated Bluetooth and good call quality.

The Bad The M300's VGA camera produced poor pictures. Speakerphone volume is weak, and there's only 8MB of internal memory with no expandable media.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a basic and affordable cell phone for just making calls, the Samsung SPH-M300 delivers with style. However, if you want a good camera phone, look elsewhere.

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In addition to the launch of the multimedia-centric Samsung SPH-M510, Sprint also introduced the Samsung SPH-M300 this week for customers looking for a more basic and budget-friendly camera phone. The stylish and compact flip phone is equipped with a VGA camera and a speakerphone, and it even manages to throw in a couple of nice extras, including voice dialing and integrated Bluetooth--all this for $29.99 with a service agreement. The phone offers good call quality, but it's disappointing as a camera phone. As such, we think you can get a better camera phone and more for your money with the Samsung SPH-M500. However, the M300 is a fine and stylish choice if you just want a cell phone for making calls. The Samsung SPH-M300 is available in red or silver; our review unit came in red.

A cell phone doesn't have to be flashy or superthin to be considered stylish; there's beauty in simplicity and the Samsung SPH-M300 is proof of that fact. Plus, it's got some sass of its own as the entire front flap has a cool mirrored face and you can choose from two color choices: dark silver or misty-rose red. At just 3.6 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.7 inch and 2.6 ounces, the clamshell M300 is compact, light, and functional. And despite the featherweight design, the handset has a solid construction and is comfortable to use as a phone.

The Samsung SPH-M300 features a sleek and stylish design.
Hidden behind the mirrored face, there's a 1-inch, 65,000-color screen with a 96x96 resolution that shows the time, date, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). You can switch between a digital and analog view, but there's no way to change the font size or the screensaver of the external display. You can, however, use it as a viewfinder for self-portraits; the camera lens is located just above the screen. There is a camera activation key on the right spine along with a 2.5mm headset jack and a power connector port, while there's a volume rocker on the left side.

The Samsung SPH-M300 features a smallish 2-inch diagonal internal screen with a 128x160 pixel resolution. Colors are bright and we had no problems reading text or numbers on the screen, even under sunlight. We do wish the screen's resolution was slightly higher, as images looked very pixilated. Unlike on the external display, you can change the font size, color, screensaver, and backlighting via the Settings menu.

The M300's navigation controls and alphanumeric keypad are easy to use.
You shouldn't have any problem mastering Sprint's menu system; everything's clearly identified and you can choose from three menu styles. To operate the M300, there are two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, a back button, and a navigation toggle with a central OK/Menu key just beneath the display. Most of the controls are large and easy to press. The only one that may give some users problems is the Back button, since it's squished between the toggle and the dialing pad. Now, we'll fully admit that we were skeptical about the Samsung M300's alphanumeric keypad. The lacquered buttons are completely flush with the phone's surface and there is no separation between the keys, so we thought they'd be slippery and hard to press. However, we were pleasantly surprised, as the buttons were tactile and quite spacious. They're also adequately backlit for dialing and text messaging in darker environments, but the lack of separation between keys will make it hard to dial by feel.

The Samsung SPH-M300 has a 299-contact phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, an e-mail and Web address, nickname, and memo. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo, a group ID, and one of 29 polyphonic ringtones to your contact. Sprint includes a couple of extra utilities on the M300. First, there's a service called Wireless Backup that automatically saves all the information in your contact list so you can transfer it when you get a new phone. Be aware that this is an add-on service and it costs $2.00 per month. Next, a feature called VoiceSMS allows you to record and send a voice message to a contact without ever having to call them. It's a nice option if you know someone is in a meeting and can't get to their phone; each message is charged as a text message.

Other phone features on the M300 include a speakerphone, voice commands and dialing, a scheduler, a memo pad, a task list, a countdown timer, an alarm clock, and a calculator. In addition to text and multimedia messaging, the M300 also offers e-mail and instant messaging support for popular clients, such as AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, via the phone's Web browser.

The Samsung M300 has integrated Bluetooth, which you can use to connect to wireless headsets and hands-free kits. You can even use the phone as a wireless modem for your laptop. However, without the support for Sprint's EV-DO network, you're not going to get broadband-like speeds, so that takes away a lot of the appeal of this functionality.

The M300 is only equipped with a VGA camera, which...

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Where to Buy

Samsung SPH-M300 - black (Sprint)

Part Number: SPH-M300 Released: May 16, 2007
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 16, 2007
  • Talk Time Up to 192 min
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Combined with With digital camera
  • Service Provider Sprint Nextel
  • Weight 2.7 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 0.3 pixels