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Samsung D830 review: Samsung D830

Samsung's Ultra Edition series boasts some of the slimmest phones made to date and the D830 is jostling for top spot, measuring just 10mm in depth. It's not shy on features, either -- it packs a 2-megapixel camera, an image editor, a music player and Internet connectivity, but the keypad is a real disappointment

Andrew Lim
4 min read

It appears Samsung is still trying to get in on that Motorola Razr action, and with this ultrathin offering it looks like it's going in the right direction. But is it a case of too thin, too soon?


Samsung D830

The Good

Slim form factor; expandable memory slot, external OLED LCD display.

The Bad

Difficult to open quickly; keypad; lack of flash.

The Bottom Line

Samsung has really done well in the thinness stakes. It has managed to cram a whole bunch of features into an impressively compact package. Some sacrifices have had to be made, though, and the D830's keypad just isn't responsive enough. Unfortunately this ruins what might be a very enjoyable experience

The Samsung D830 is the company's slimmest clamshell phone to date -- it's noticeably thinner than Motorola's Razr V3, measuring just 10mm in depth. It weighs 91g and feels light, and has a metal and tough plastic casing so it won't shatter if you drop it.

On the top of the front section of the D830 there's a 2-megapixel camera surrounded by a silver border. Underneath this is a small blue OLED screen that displays signal strength, battery life, the time and date, and incoming calls or text messages. The rest of the front section is minimalist, as is the back.

On the right side there's a microSD slot, while on the left there's a dedicated volume rocker and a charging port that doubles up as the headset port.

Opening the D830 can be fiddly at times. The slim nature of the handset makes prising it open like trying to crack a pistachio nut. Once opened, however, there's enough space to manoeuvre. The D830 is 54mm wide, making it easy to hold, and 188mm tall when open, fitting comfortably against the ear and mouth.

Inside, there's a bright 240x320-pixel colour screen at the top that displays 260,000 colours, and at the bottom is a flat alphanumeric keypad.

The keypad, unfortunately, suffers from a serious lack of feedback -- you find yourself having to press the keys rather hard in order to get a response. On a positive note, the lip at the bottom doesn't interfere with you pressing the lower half of the keypad, in the same way as the D900's lip does.

For a range so slim, the Ultra Edition series is feature-packed and the D830 is no exception. There's a 2-megapixel camera that takes still photographs and video. You can adjust the size, quality, white balance and ISO of shots, and even add effects or frames to make things a little more interesting.

After you take a photo you can do basic editing with the image editor and view your pictures on a TV using the TV-out option and an adaptor.

You can listen to music on the music player, which lets you set your songs on shuffle and repeat, and adjust the equaliser. It will support MP3, ACC, ACC+, eAAC+ and WMA files, and there's an expandable microSD slot so you can store all your favourite tracks and pictures.

If you need to browse the Internet you can, using the WAP browser and GPRS connectivity. It's not as fast as a 3G connection, but it will serve to access WAP sites or send MMS messages. There's also an email client, so you can check your POP3 or IMAP4 email accounts on the go.

Connecting to your PC is made possible with the bundled software and USB cable. You can synchronise your contacts and calendar tasks, manage files, photos and Internet connections, edit movies and sounds, play your mobile phone's content and compose multimedia messages, all from the comfort of your computer.

Other features include a calendar, alarm clock, polyphonic ringtones, MMS and SMS messaging, Bluetooth connectivity, calculator, timer, stopwatch, unit converter and memo. There's about 80MB of internal memory and you can store 1,000 contacts and 200 SMS messages.

One feature that continues to annoy Samsung users, and remains on the D830, is the inability to select vibrate and ring at the same time. You can either set the phone to vibrate first and then ring, or just ring or vibrate. While this isn't a major problem, it is rather frustrating that the option isn't there.

Another problem regarding tones is the inability to select your own tone for SMS or MMS messages -- it would be nice to see this in future models.

The D830's biggest feature-related problem, however, is the navigation interface, which is severely hindered by the problematic flat keypad. This is definitely a case of too thin, too soon, and we would rather Samsung had put in a normal keypad, sacrificing some of the thin design for a better overall user experience.

The keypad doesn't react properly to every push and after a while becomes quite a hindrance.

The audio during calls is good -- Samsung has perfected audio quality on most of its phones and hearing another person over the D830 isn't an effort. The speakerphone works as expected, but don't expect to hear it over a radio while you drive.

The 2-megapixel camera takes sharp and relatively high-quality photos that are suitable for small prints and MMS messages. It's a shame that there's no flash, though -- taking photos in low light is impossible.

The battery life is quoted at 215 hours of standby time and 2.5 hours of talk time. We found that we had to recharge it every two days.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield