Samsung X820 Review

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Samsung X820

The propaganda

Currently holding the title of skinniest-mobile-in-the-world, the Samsung X820 attempts to squeeze all the essential functions you’d expect from a mobile handset, and then some, into a chassis that is only 6.9mm thick. Features include a 176 x 220 pixel display, digital music player (MP3, AAC and WMA compatible), web browser, document/spreadsheet viewer and even a 2.0 megapixel camera (!).

The handset, although a touch taller and wider than some at 113 x 50mm, is still nothing short of minute. But there surely must have been some compromises made to squeeze it all in there – check the turn to find out what we think.

The good

Sorry to state the obvious, but freakin’ hell – it’s only 6.9mm thick! It’s hard to imagine without seeing in the flesh, but if you want to get a rough idea, it is almost the same thickness as six credit cards stacked together. And that is also just under half a centimetre thinner than Motorola’s skinniest offering, the L6. It is definitely a head turner and ideal of you’re either very fashion conscious or are wanting it to fit into a very tight pair of jeans (along with yourself of course).

A brief poll yielded mostly positive opinions about the general aesthetics, although one concern was that you could snap it by sitting on it. Actually, while this must be a risk factor, the handset does feel pretty strong and robust – it would probably take a fair bit of weight to really kill it.

The menu interface is incredibly easy to use and takes no time at all to learn your way around even if you have never picked up a Samsung mobile before. The screen is also really good and yields some really crisp, bright images. This is especially good when combined with the 2.0 megapixel camera, which does produce some really decent pics when used in well lit areas, although it lacks a flash. The fact that Samsung didn’t shirk off with a 1.3 megapixel camera is a really pleasing addition.

The bad

There are two areas in which the X820 loses out to its bulkier competitors: sound quality and battery life. Playing MP3 tracks offers pretty decent sound (but with only 80MB of storage and no card slot, you probably won’t bother with it much), yet call quality suffers a little. There tends to be some occasional popping going on and background noises from the other person’s end often pick a strange garbled effect. It wasn’t enough to detract heavily from the phone’s performance but these are issues that have been eliminated from other larger handsets.

Battery life is claimed at an underwhelming 2.5 hours talk-time. Unfortunately I didn’t get a charger with the review kit so I couldn’t run a full test, but along with the 210 hours of standby time, a single charge did allow me to use it comfortably for a couple of days before it started complaining. Nonetheless, such a short talk-time is far more like what you would expect from a 3G mobile – not from a GSM.

Geek Sheet

Dimensions: 113 x 50 x 6.9mm

Weight: 65g

Tri-band, GPRS, EDGE

Screen: 262,144 colours, 220 x 176 pixels

2.0 megapixel camera

Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB

Compatibility: MP3, AMR, ACC, ACC+, e-AAC+ and WMA audio, JPEG images, H.263, AMR, MPEG4 video, DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and TXT files

Battery: up to 2.5 hours talk-time, 210 hours standby

Overview

The Samsung X820 is eye-catching and convenient if your pocket space is at a real premium. The very straightforward menu design is a big plus, yet even with the 2.0 megapixel camera, etc, the feature set might still prove too basic for some. The short battery life is by far the biggest weakness, however, and it threatens to eliminate a lot of the practicality of such a compact handset. Serious fashionistas probably won’t let hold them back though.

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