X830 – Lets Twist Again

We get in a spin with Samsungs new release which is a little different from the norm!
Not content with just one deviation from the norm, Samsung went a little further and released a handset that differs from other handsets in three ways – it’s thin, it spins, and they’ve redesigned the traditional keypad. And that’s just the form-factor, the X830 is also a rather good mp3 player.

Holding the phone in your hand you’d be forgiven for thinking this was purely an mp3 player, it’s the right size, and has a navigation pad reminiscent of an iPod. However, a deft flick of the thumb swivels the screen round 180 degrees revealing the controversial two-column keypad, confirming this is indeed a phone.

Swivel phones aren’t new, Motorola were amongst the first to introduce one with the v70, they’ve always been notorious for being a bit flimsy. Although the X830 is a little plasticy, it makes things easier with a semi-auto open. When you flick it slightly open a mechanism catches the screen section and pulls it all the way round, swiftly.

Opening the phone with one hand is relatively easy as the phone is only 30mm thick, but that’s only for the right handed amongst us. For left handers it’s slightly more difficult due to the direction of the rotation. Once open you have in front of you the aforementioned keypad.

Text addicts will take a while to get used to the two column layout, as your thumbs will naturally wander to either the wrong key entirely or where there isn’t a key at all. However, after a bit of practice you’ll soon be banging them out in no time.

Reading a text message is a different story. Due to the limited screen size there are seven text lines, so reading a full text message means scrolling across two or three screens.

Above the keys is the round navigation pad. You can navigate around the menus by either rotating the pad much like an iPod, or by clicking in the relevant direction, but the music player has different functions associated with each. The pad can also be assigned one of seventeen specific functions when in standby mode.

Sitting above the navigation pad is the screen. A fairly middle of the road 128×220 pixels, displaying 262k colours. The resolution is fairly low, and the font used throughout is a bit blocky making it seem a little outdated. Menu items that are wider than the screen (which is most) have to scroll to allow the full word to appear. All the menu items are numbered, however, so to make things easier regular functions can be memorised and tapped into the keypad… ah.
As with most phones nowadays the X830 has a camera, which poses it’s own problems. The 1.3 megapixel camera is capable of taking shots up to 1280×1024, but with the display being so narrow you can’t see the full picture. If you want to view the snapshot in it’s entirety you have to limit the size in the viewfinder, making shooting a picture a hit and miss affair. Couple that with the dodgy placement of the camera button and you might as well not bother. Once you’ve got the picture, the quality isn’t great as the resolution isn’t enough.

To the phone then

Although this phone offers midi, 64-voice melody or mp3 ringtones, and a vibration setting, you can’t have both together. The phone either rings, vibrates, or vibrates then rings. Such a simple thing, but annoying all the same.

The large phonebook holds 1000 entries, plus the contents of the sim card, as it doesn’t differentiate between the two and shows both together. As is the norm you can include three numbers, an email address and a note to each entry. You can also create groups to which you can associate a ringtone and picture.

Your regular time management tools are here, in particular the calendar is useful even with the small display.  It offers well-arranged summary of tasks and reminders available to you at a glance. The default monthly view can be changed to weekly or daily view. There are three types of records – Plan, Anniversary, Tasks – the calendar capacity is up to 100 records for each of them. A very useful tool is the displaying of missed events, offering overview of what you have missed and what you have to carry out in the future.

It’s all about the music

So, this phone is really for the music fans. With 1GB of internal memory you can store a good amount of songs, but there’s no option to expand the memory with a card.

The music player is accessed through the application menu, but can only be activated with the phone closed shut. Once activated though, the mp3 player can run in the background and the phone used as normal. No taking pictures without turning it off again however, not that you’d want to.

Navigating through tracks is easy, rotating the pad left or right changes the song, clicking up or down brings up the context menu, which again is navigated by rotating the pad.

The music player has support for playlists too. Here the pieces are ordered either automatically or manually into few folders according to their genre, times played, etc. The player settings include options for repeating or shuffling the tracks, 3D sound and also selecting from nine preset equaliser settings.

The fastest way to store music files into the phone is copying them via data cable. You can use either the PC Studio mode for communication with the software on your desktop or the so called MTP mode, Mass Storage is not between the options. MTP mode (Media Transfer Protocol) enables fast transfer of multimedia files to/from Windows applications. Practically it means that for example you may copy music to your phone directly from Windows Media Player.

The headphones supplied aren’t the best. The sound quality is poor and is only just usable for making calls.

There is an option to use your own headphones. The cable is split into two parts. The part connecting to the phone ends in the fastening clip, and microphone which also has a regular headphone jack. Unplug the Samsung headphones, and plug in your favorite pair and the sound quality improves massively. Playing around with the equaliser can get the sound to stand-alone mp3 player quality.

The X830 is not the best mp3 player around, and it’s certainly not the best mobile phone, but if you’re a trendy, fashion conscious teenager who wants a device combining the two, then you could do worse than the Samsung X830.

Holding the phone in your hand you’d be forgiven for thinking this was purely an mp3 player, it’s the right size, and has a navigation pad reminiscent of an iPod

1.3 Megapixel Camera
128×220 262K TFT
1GB (Nand flash) built in memory 900/1800/1900 MHz
Bluetooth/ USB v2.0 MMS/JAVA/WAP 2.0
84x30x19.9 mm
75 g
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