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Samsung U600 review: Samsung U600

Just when you think Samsung has made the thinnest slider phone possible, it manages to go one better. The U600 is part of Samsung's new Ultra Edition Range II and boasts a plethora of features crammed into a casing that's just 11mm thick.

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8.3

Samsung U600

The Good

Slim design; large screen; 3.2-megapixel camera.

The Bad

Touch-sensitive keys don't give much tactile feedback; lack of built-in 3.5mm headphone jack or adaptor; no xenon flash on the camera.

The Bottom Line

Samsung has made yet another ultrathin phone that doesn't skimp on features. Key are the 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and an easy-to-use music player. Our only niggles with the U600 are the lack of 3G connectivity and the touch-sensitive keys that some people might find annoying

Design
Compared to Samsung's last ultrathin slider, the D900, the U600 is not only 2mm thinner, it's also 2g lighter, weighing a mere 81g. The combination of the U600's thin profile and lightweight design made it practically unnoticeable in our pockets.


The U600 is only 11mm thick and slips easily into a pocket or bag

The U600 comes in an attractive misty-blue colour that manages to look smart without being too 'businessy'. Of course, as with previous Samsung phones, other colour variations will probably appear later on in the year.

For such a compact phone, the U600's screen is surprisingly large, measuring an eye-pleasing 34mm wide by 45mm tall. If you can't see the screen properly in bright light, there's a useful sunlight mode that optimises the screen's contrast.

Beneath the screen are two touch-sensitive soft keys, a mechanical four-way navigation key and touch-sensitive send and end call keys. The touch-sensitive keys are responsive and work well but some people won't like the lack of tactile feedback.

Slide the phone open and you'll uncover the U600's numerical keypad that isn't touch sensitive and is fairly easy to use, although due to its flatness there is a lack of distinction between each individual key, which again may annoy some users.

On the reverse of the U600, Samsung has wisely hidden the 3.2-megapixel camera behind the back section so that it's protected when not in use. The U600's spring-loaded slide mechanism is smooth and pops open with a small push.

Features
When it comes to features, the U600 is really impressive given its size. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera on the back, an MP3 player, an FM radio, stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) and a Web browser among other things.

The U600's camera comes with autofocus and an LED photo light. Pictures came out well focused and suitable for small prints. Our only niggle is that there's no xenon flash, which would help the problem of the blue tinge created by the LED photo light.

One of our favourite novelty camera features is the ability to take photos of business cards using the namecard recognition service. This nifty feature then magically inputs all the important information from the photo of the business card into your contact database.

The U600's music player also left us rather impressed as it plays a variety of music formats including MP3, AAC files and protected Windows Media files. It looks rather similar to the Sony Ericsson W950i's player and has some similar features, too.

You can set music to shuffle or repeat, rate individual tracks, create playlists and adjust the equaliser. We were disappointed, however, that you can't attach your own headphones and have to use the proprietary ones, particularly as the sound quality isn't great.


With about 60MB of onboard memory you can store around 15 songs on the phone itself or pop in a microSD card (up to 2GB) and store around 200 of your favourite songs on it. The microSD card can also hold all your photos among other things.


Around the round four-way navigation key there are touch-sensitive keys that might annoy some people

Indeed, the U600 can be attached to your PC via a USB cable and used as a mass storage device that will hold anything you can fit on to it, or a microSD card, including applications and work documents.

By attaching the U600 via USB to your PC you can also charge it, synchronise media files, use the provided Samsung PC software to connect your PC to the Internet via your phone, and synchronise your Outlook contacts and tasks.

Other noteworthy features include the various small improvements Samsung has added to the U600's interface, making the overall user experience easier and more straightforward than on older Samsung phones.

For example, when you finish writing a text message and go to send it, a list of recent recipients pops up. Then there's an application called Smart search that lets you search through your entire phone for files, in a similar way to how you would on a PC.

Performance
The U600's camera performs well and produces clear, well-focused pictures that are great for MMS messages and suitable for small prints. Our only niggle is the lack of xenon flash that means shots come out with a blue tinge in low light.

Audio quality during calls was good. Everyone we called on land lines said it sounded clear and loud. The loudspeaker worked as expected but it could do with some more volume and you'll probably want to use a headset for hands-free.

Battery life was good for such a thin phone and we didn't need to recharge the handset for over two days of moderate to high use. Samsung quotes 4 hours of talk time and 270 hours of standby time.

Conclusion
If Samsung's latest thin offering doesn't convince you then you should check out the Sony Ericsson K810i, which also comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera, MP3 player and expandable memory slot. If you're set on getting a thin phone then another Sony Ericsson phone, the W880i, is worth a look.

Otherwise, niggles about the lack of built-in 3.5mm headphone jack or adaptor and the fiddly touch-sensitive keys aside, the Samsung U600 is a good thin phone with plenty of features that we enjoyed using.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield