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.
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.
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.