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Samsung SCH-i830 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung SCH-i830 (Verizon Wireless)

Samsung SCH-i830 (Verizon Wireless)

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
5 min read

The Samsung SCH-i730 ranked as one of our favorite smart phones of 2005. It was pretty revolutionary at the time, with its five forms of wireless, its sleek slider design, and its full QWERTY keyboard. Since then, however, the smart-phone landscape has changed, with powerhouses such as the Cingular 8125 and the Sprint PPC-6700 dominating the field, and the SCH-i730's successor, the Samsung SCH-i830, falls short of the competition for several reasons. First, the SCH-i830 suffers from poor call quality, and it's still running the old Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition OS. Yet, there are bright notes. It's a dual-mode CDMA/GSM phone, so you can use it globally, and it's equipped with Bluetooth and a full QWERTY keyboard. Like its older sibling, the SCH-i830 has the tools to keep the road warrior on track, but there are just better, more up-to-date models out there. The Samsung SCH-i830 is available through Verizon Wireless for a hefty $599, but you should be able to get it for less with a service agreement.


Samsung SCH-i830 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The Samsung SCH-i830 boasts EV-DO support, Bluetooth, and a full QWERTY keyboard. As a dual-mode CDMA/GSM phone, the SCH-i830 can also be used overseas.

The Bad

The Samsung SCH-i830 runs the older Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition OS and lacks integrated Wi-Fi. Also, it suffers from poor call quality, and there's no camera option.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SCH-i830 offers some nice features for the mobile professional, such as dual-mode functionality and a full QWERTY keyboard, but poor performance and outdated features put it behind the competition.

The Samsung SCH-i830's design is largely unchanged in comparison with the SCH-i730's, as it retains the same dimensions (5.2 by 2.8 by 0.6 inches; 6.4 ounces) and smooth slider design. Overall, it's a solidly constructed phone that's comfortable to hold in the hand, although the external antenna adds unwanted bulk. Comparatively speaking, the SCH-i830 is roughly the same size as the Cingular 8125 and the Palm Treo 700w. In its closed state, the 2.8-inch touch screen dominates the face of the SCH-i830. It displays 65,536 colors at a 240x320-pixel resolution, but the screen was hard to read in direct sunlight. There are four customizable shortcut keys and a five-way navigation toggle below the display, and just beneath those are the Back button and the Talk and End keys. On the right side, you have an SDIO/MMC expansion slot, while a 2.5mm headset jack, a voice-memo key, a volume rocker, and a hold/backlight switch are on the left.

The Samsung SCH-i830's keyboard is spacious, but you can use it only in portrait mode.

To expose the QWERTY keyboard, just slide up the Samsung SCH-i830's face. Unlike with other slider phones we've tested, the gliding motion was smooth, and the screen locked into place with a satisfying click. The keyboard features tactile, oval-like buttons, and we found the overall layout to be fairly spacious, even better than the Treo's. In addition, the keys are raised above the phone's surface and brightly backlit, making it that much easier to type messages without error. That said, we much prefer the design found on the UTStarcom XV6700. The keyboard slides out to the left, so by turning the device 90 degrees, you get a better thumb-typing experience, and you can take full advantage of landscape mode. On the SCH-i830, however, you can use the keyboard only in portrait mode.

Aside from the form factor, another common factor between the SCH-i730 and the SCH-i830 is the operating system. We were dismayed to find that the SCH-i830 runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition instead of the latest Windows Mobile 5. Sure, you'll be able get work done on the road with Pocket Word and Pocket Excel, but you won't get the new Mobile Office Suite, which includes enhancements such as support for tables and embedded images in Word Mobile, the ability to view charts in Excel Mobile, and the new PowerPoint presentation viewer. On the bright side, the Samsung SCH-i830 ships with the Picsel Browser app preinstalled, so you can view the PowerPoint slides as PDFs and images. Of course, you get Pocket Outlook for your e-mail needs, and the SCH-i830 is equipped with Verizon's VZEmail for wireless synchronization. The smart phone can also handle POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP accounts, plus text, multimedia, and instant messaging.

Samsung and Verizon made some changes to the Samsung SCH-i830's wireless connections. While the SCH-i730 boasted five forms of wireless (IrDA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, CDMA 1xRTT, and EV-DO), the SCH-i830 does away with integrated Wi-Fi in favor of dual-mode CDMA/GSM functionality. This means you can use the smart phone domestically and overseas while keeping the same number. The continued EV-DO support also alleviates the need for Wi-Fi in order to connect to the Web, but we still like to have that option. For pairing with a wireless headset, Bluetooth is on board, but since it's the older 1.1 version, you won't be able to take full advantage of the higher transmission speeds of Bluetooth 1.2 or 2.0. Other phone features consist of a speakerphone, voice dialing, speed dialing, and 10 polyphonic ring tones.

For multimedia mavens, the Samsung SCH-i830 comes with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile so that you can listen to your favorite tunes and view streaming video. There is support for PlaysForSure WMA files from online music stores such as Napster and Musicmatch, and if you have TV programs recorded on your Windows Media Center PC, you can transfer them to the SCH-i830 and enjoy it on your phone. The smart phone is also equipped with 3D stereo speakers. You won't be able to record any video yourself or snap any photos, as Verizon will not offer a camera-equipped Samsung SCH-i830. While we realize more and more businesses are banning camera-equipped mobiles for security purposes, we would still appreciate the option of a camera. Some other highlights of the SCH-i830 include 128MB of memory, a 520MHz Intel Bulverde processor, a ring-tone manager, a world clock, a backup utility, a remote-control app, and two games (Solitaire and Jawbreaker).

Aside from 128MB of internal memory, the Samsung SCH-i830 features an SDIO/MMC expansion slot.

We tested the Samsung SCH-i830 in San Francisco using Verizon's network, and call quality was subpar. On our end, audio sounded crackly, and our callers reported the same. They also said they could hear the conversation only half the time, which was frustrating. Using the speakerphone actually improved the sound quality, resulting in clearer sound and adequate volume. We also had no problems pairing the SCH-i830 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

The Samsung SCH-i830 is rated for 2.2 hours of talk time and up to 5.4 days of standby time. In our tests, we got 2.5 hours, which is on the low side for cell phones these days. You'll want to keep a charger handy if you make a lot of calls. According to the FCC, the SCH-i830 has a digital SAR rating of 0.55 watt per kilogram.


Samsung SCH-i830 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6