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Samsung Beat DJ hands-on: DJing on your phone?!

Samsung's new flagship music phone is the Beat DJ, and Samsung hopes you'll actually mix and scratch your tunes right on the handset. We won't, but the kids might

Nate Lanxon

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As we were being shown Samsung's new flagship slider music phone -- the Beat DJ -- we heard another journalist in the background ask, "That's really it's official name?" Maybe they missed the point: Samsung hopes you'll actually play disc jockey on this phone.

Gimmickometer: 20 per cent full

Using the phone's 71mm (2.8-inch) touchscreen, the special 'DJ mode' allows you to virtually pick out a CD and 'scratch' it like a DJ would a vinyl record. Problem is, it's not really what we'd call 'responsive', and the slight latency issues we saw meant your scratching sounded out of sync and, to be honest, rather crap.

Gimmickometer: 60 per cent full

Another feature involves samples. Once you've had enough of playing a record scratch over the top of the latest release from Mr 50 Cent, hit up the samples menu. Now you're free to throw sounds like claps and cheers over the top of it, too. Except this sounded crap as well.

Gimmickometer: 100 per cent full

Quick! Record that mix! A record button allows you to record your mixes, set them as ringtones or send them to your buddies. Buddies you hate, naturally. Or buddies you don't want as buddies anymore -- they'll hate you for ruining Fiddy, and disown you as punishment.

The good stuff

Okay, sure, the DJ thing is just one feature, and it's a fun gimmick. But this is Samsung's flagship music phone, and the DJ thing just made us think this was a phone for teens on the bus. So what else can it offer?

Well, it's a quad-band handset with HSDPA, a 240x400-pixel touchscreen display, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, face detection and autofocus, support for MP3, WMA and AAC music formats (including iTunes Plus downloads), H.264, DivX, Xvid and MPEG-4 video support, GPS, stereo Bluetooth and 50MB of internal memory expandable up to 8GB with microSD.

Now they're features we want to see in a flagship music phone! Bang & Olufsen-powered audio is pumped through a top-mounted 3.5mm headphone socket, so your costly headphones are compatible natively, without the need for an adaptor.

Truth be told, its decent specs don't excite us that much, and we expect this will be a hit with the kids more than the grown-ups. If that's Samsung's target market for its flagship music phone, so be it. But it's not for us.

The Beat DJ will be on sale in Q2 2009 in the UK, with prices and networks to be announced. Check out our hands-on DJ photos over the next few pages, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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There's a mini-USB socket on the left-hand side, and speakers towards the bottom.
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Here's one of the DJ screens. Go ahead, stick your finger on the large central circle and scratch away.
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This lady has the clap. The clap sample, that is. Look, she's inserting a clap sample now.
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Album art is supported in the 'now playing' screen.
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A 3.5mm headphone socket sits up top.
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A better view of controls on the left-hand side, including a volume rocker switch.
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Finally, the 3-megapixel camera around the back. Nothing special, and we would've thought a flagship handset -- even a flagship music handset -- would have 5 megapixels in 2009.

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