As audiophiles are probably aware, Samsung has again partnered with in developing the i450, similar to the recently released Serenata, however, the i450 is definitely the first phone in this partnership we can actually afford.
The most surprising feature of the i450 is that it runs on Nokia's S60 operating platform and is one of a very small list of non-Nokia phones to use S60. While we've criticised the platform in the past for being drab and uninteresting to look at, there's no doubting the platform is both stable and intuitive to use. Best of all, recent users of Nokia phones will feel immediately at home with the menus and shortcuts, making a transition to the i450 very easy indeed.
In terms of Web access, the i450 is an HSDPA-capable handset, though unlike similarly featured Nokia handsets, there is no Wi-Fi. The pre-installed Web browser is the same Web 2.0 compliant browser found on all S60 handsets with feature pack 3.1 and it does a decent job of navigating most sites. If you think you might prefer a different browser, the flexibility of the S60 platform means you can download just about any mobile browser available.
We definitely think the i450 is a music phone to rival the best of the Walkman range of devices, and for this credit must go to the Bang & Olufsen audio technology it calls ICEpower. This title seems inaccurate to us as the sounds we heard were rich and warm, with thumping bass and nice clear mid tones. We tested a variety of headphones with the i450, and even connected stereo speakers to the handset, and the results were outstanding. Even the handset speakers sounded good for music playback, like a decent quality portable radio.
We were similarly impressed by the 2-megapixel camera; real proof of the great. Even though it may not sound like much, this pint-sized shooter outperformed many higher res cameras, particularly the 3.2-megapixel cameras we've seen on recent Walkman branded phones. This camera is assisted by a LED photo-light, which works well to fill in shadows for day-time photos, but struggles to light an image at night.
In terms of basic calling functions the i450 worked as expected with clear voice calls and a loud internal speaker. Accessing the menus is speedy, and the phone processes quickly, giving instant access to selections even when multitasking. During our tests we saw battery life cycles of between three and four days, which is about standard for an HSDPA capable mobile phone.
Shabby aesthetics aside, the Samsung i450 is an excellent music phone and sure to give the Walkman range a run for its money. Our favourite Walkman phone of late has been the ; a sexy, slimline phone with great music playback but with a less than attractive AU$899 price tag. The i450 trumps the W890i in price — at AU$599 through 3 Mobile — and in the outstanding quality of the music we heard. Add to this the Nokia S60 operating platform and the decent performance of the 2-megapixel camera and the i450 should be one of the first phones you check out when shopping for your next handset.