Run your eyes down the specs list for the tri-band, HSDPA F500 and you'll probably think it sounds like a top-notch device. So did we, until we got the chance to use one.
We've seen a lot of unusual form factors in phones, but this one takes the cake. A double-sided, two-screened model that splits in half, the F500 is unique among handsets, and continues Samsung's form factor experimentation phase -- also exhibited in the unconventional .
On the media player side everything is sleek and minimalist. There's a 2.4-inch QVGA wide-screen display and some touch-sensitive keys that you can either press once or drag your finger along in order to perform different functions. A centre hinge allows you to place the phone on a flat surface and watch your video content at a comfortable angle.
Flip the F500 over to the phone side, however, and it's like you've travelled back in time to 1992. The screen is very small -- 1.5 inches -- and most of the real estate is taken up by a retro-looking keypad and menu navigation keys. With its black-and-silver colour scheme and blocky contours, the phone reminds us of Nokia and Motorola models from around seven years ago.
While the phone is slim at 10.7 millimetres, the footprint feels larger than its 116.5 millimetres by 50 millimetres. This is due to the squarish silhouette, which tends toward high-school calculator shape -- especially when you attach the backup battery cover.
One of the big selling points of the F500 is that it supports the DivX video format. This format provides high quality, highly compressed video, so you can cram more onto your memory card and it will still look decent. It's also the format of choice for illegal file sharers, but we certainly wouldn't endorse that method of acquiring your video content. DivX converter software, which will turn your video files into DivX versions optimised for playback on the F500, is included with the phone.
The F500 has 350MB of internal memory -- expandable by up to 2GB courtesy of a microSD slot. Our review model came with a 1GB card. There's a 2-megapixel camera on the phone side, and a TV-out cable is included, should you wish to view your snaps on the big screen.