Samsung X830 review: Samsung X830

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The Good Compact size. Swift and satisfying flick motion. Easy to transfer music.

The Bad No expandable memory. Two-column keypad takes a while to get used to. Scrollwheel navigation very slow. Very small display.

The Bottom Line The compact contours of the X830 make it a conversation starter, but usability has been sacrificed for looks.

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6.7 Overall

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Music-focused phones have been popular lately -- we've seen Sony Ericsson's Walkman series, Nokia's Music Express models, and now Samsung's X830, a tri-band swivel phone that sports 1GB of space for your song storage.

The X830's box is emblazoned with the phrase "phone-enabled MP3 player", which does a good job of explaining its looks. When closed, the 84 by 30 by 19.9mm phone resembles a flash-based MP3 player from a few years ago -- compact, but still a little chunky. A skinny TFT display (128 by 220 pixels) occupies most of the front face, with a scroll wheel setting up shop beneath. Unlike the touch sensitive wheel found on devices such as iPods, this version mechanically rotates. To scroll down menus, you either spin the wheel or press the bottom section.

Flicking open the X830 is akin to drawing a switchblade, such is the swiftness of the swivel. The hinge does feel a little loose though, especially compared to more robust swivel models such as Nokia's 7373. With the thin form factor comes a few sacrifices, and the major one is that the keypad has been squished into two columns rather than the standard three. Seasoned texters will be driven mad by the need to overhaul well-established thumb patterns. As a side benefit, the extra thought required when typing an SMS may prevent those late-night impulse texts being sent to inappropriate people.

The earbuds that came with the X830 felt too big for our ears, but as they connect to the handsfree section with a standard 3.5mm plug, you can always replace them with your own. The headphones/handsfree plugs into a proprietary port on the right of the phone, which also serves as the socket for charging and USB connection. All cables plugging into this port stick out at least a centimetre from the socket, which makes the phone take up more pocket space.

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