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Samsung SGH-D307 (AT&T) review: Samsung SGH-D307 (AT&T)

Samsung SGH-D307 (AT&T)

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
6 min read
Samsung SGH-D307
As text messaging continues to gain popularity, cell phone manufacturers are starting to design phones with built-in keyboards to cater to the texting fanatics. First, there was the Motorola A630, and most recently, LG released its VX9800. Now, Samsung is getting into the game. The Samsung SGH-D307 for Cingular Wireless ($199.99 with the mail-in rebate) stands out from the pack with a slimmer form factor and an innovative flip design that opens up to reveal a mini QWERTY keyboard and a gorgeous 262,000-color internal display. It also boasts Bluetooth, EDGE support, and voice-recognition technology. Yet, all is not rosy with the SGH-D307. While we appreciate the phone's trim profile, the navigation controls, which hamper usability, can be frustrating. That said, once you master the controls, you can't deny the ease of sending messages. Oh, and it's not a bad phone either. From the outside, the Samsung SGH-D307 isn't much of a looker. Its blocklike design and standard silver dress won't impress anyone, and the flip phone is slightly bulky at 3.7 by 1.9 by 0.8 inches and 4.3 ounces. Compared with the LG VX9800, however, it's downright small. The phone fits snugly in a jeans pocket, but the trade-off is that it feels solid in your hands and comfortable when held to the ear. Also, there's no stubby antenna to snag on clothing or pockets, which we appreciated.


Samsung SGH-D307 (AT&T)

The Good

The Samsung SGH-D307 features a bright, large internal display; an innovative design with a QWERTY keyboard; Bluetooth; a speakerphone; and voice-recognition features.

The Bad

Sadly, the Samsung SGH-D307 has a monochrome external screen and a confusing navigation layout, plus it lacks a camera.

The Bottom Line

Rocking an innovative flip design and a mini keyboard, the Samsung SGH-D307 will please messaging fanatics once they master the unintuitive navigation controls.

The SGH-D307 is big overall, yet it still has a skinny profile.

There's a postage stamp-size screen on the front cover of the Samsung SGH-D307 that shows the date, the time, signal and battery strength, and caller ID (where available), but we were disappointed by the fact that it's monochrome. For a phone of this class, we would have expected at least a 4,096-color display. That said, the text--the date, the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID--is clear, and it's always readable even if the phone isn't in use. There isn't too much else to the exterior of the phone: On the left spine, there's a headset jack, as well as a volume rocker, which you can use to manipulate the easy-to-use menu, while a lone voice-recorder/speakerphone launch button sits on the right.

The SGH-D307's display flips up in two directions.

So everything about the Samsung SGH-D307's design has been standard so far, right? Well, it's time to move on to the twist. The mobile features an innovative dual-flip hinge so that you can open it like a traditional flip phone or to the side to view the display in landscape mode. And once you do open the phone, you're presented with more treats: a gorgeous 2-inch-diagonal, 262,000-color screen and a mini QWERTY keyboard. The display is bright and sharp, as well as great for playing games and viewing Web pages. It's too bad the SGH-D307 doesn't have a camera, since the display would be ideal for viewing photos.

While we love the screen, we were less enthused with the navigation controls of the Samsung SGH-D307. To make way for the QWERTY keyboard, Samsung did away with the traditional soft keys and navigation toggle. Instead, the Up, Down, Left, and Right arrows are paired with the A, D, X, and W buttons, respectively; they also serve as shortcuts to Messaging, Address Book, My Media, and IM. In the center of it all is the S key, marked in orange, which acts the part of the Select key. The Talk and End/power keys (V and R) flank the Clear button (F), while the two soft keys are marked by three tiny dots above the Z and Q buttons. We certainly appreciate the keyboard and sleekness of the device compared with that of similar phones such as the LG VX9800 or the Motorola A6340, but this layout is confusing and takes some getting used to. What's more, when in landscape mode, the setup is even more perplexing because it's not clear which keys perform which functions indicated on the display. There are also no dedicated number keys when in landscape mode, and you can access only certain menu items and others not at all. We recommend that you sit down with the user guide to get acquainted before using the phone and firing off messages.

With all that said, the Samsung SGH-D307's QWERTY keyboard is spacious, and the buttons are tactile. We had no problem typing messages with our thumbs; if anything, we wish the backlighting were just a bit brighter.

Messaging is the Samsung SGH-D307's forte, but it's not too shabby in the phone department either. To start off, the mobile features a healthy 1,000-name phone book, with room in each entry for three phone numbers and an e-mail address; the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts. For caller-ID purposes, you can assign a contact to one of 11 polyphonic ring tones, a caller group, or a photo. Just remember that since the SGH-D307 doesn't have a camera, you'll have to get images on to your phone another way. The mobile also supports custom ring tones, including MP3, AAC, and MIDI formats. Business users will appreciate the Bluetooth, EDGE support, the speakerphone, PC syncing, and 30-second voice memos. However, there's love for all with inclusion of a calendar, an alarm clock, a calculator, a to-do list, a currency converter, and a WAP 2.0 Web browser.

Crazy keys: While we like the SGH-D307's keypad, the overlap of the navigation controls is confusing.

The Samsung SGH-D307's innovative design and communication features give you something to write home about, and with its full QWERTY keyboard and multiple messaging options, you can do it right from your phone. The handset supports POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail accounts, instant messages (AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ), and text and multimedia messages. We were able to log on to our AOL and Yahoo IM clients with ease and chat away with our buddies. Strangely, you can't get to the Web in landscape mode, thus ruling out access to your e-mail accounts and the benefit of having a keyboard. Nevertheless, it was useful for firing off quick text messages and notes. And if you want to give your fingers a rest, the SGH-D307 also has VoiceMode so that you can speak, rather than type, your messages--a feature introduced in the Samsung SGH-P207. After a 3-minute exercise of reading select words into the phone, we started dictating messages using VoiceMode, and accuracy was around 75 percent. We had better luck with easy phrases such as "Call me later," but with more complicated messages, the accuracy rate dropped dramatically.

There's not much else to the Samsung SGH-D307. There's no camera or advanced multimedia features, and you can choose from a small selection of wallpaper, text colors, and menu styles to customize your handset; you can always download more options from Cingular's Web site. The SGH-D307 also includes four Java (J2ME) games--Bobby Carrot, Airship Racing, Arch Angel, and Freekick--but more titles are available for purchase.

We tested the triband Samsung SGH-D307 (GSM850/1800/1900; EDGE) in the San Francisco area using Cingular's network. Call quality was a mixed bag. On our end, callers sounded clear, and volume was more than adequate, but our callers said there was a slight echo, and they could tell we were using a cell phone. Speakerphone quality was excellent. Although we had to turn up the volume a bit, conversations on both ends sounded clear. We also had no problems pairing the Logitech Mobile Traveller, but conversations became slightly muffled through the headset.

The Samsung SGH-D307 is rated for 5 hours of talk time and eight days of standby time. In our real-world tests, we got 4.5 hours of talk time. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-D307 has a digital SAR rating of 1.01 watts per kilogram.


Samsung SGH-D307 (AT&T)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 7