Samsung G800

Optical zoom comes to your mobile

Samsung G800
  • Samsung G800
  • Samsung G800
  • Samsung G800
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Five-megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and face detect, solid chrome casing, HSDPA-capable, A2DP Bluetooth

Cons

  • Bulky design, keypad tactility, sluggish user interface, proprietary headphone jack

Bottom Line

The G800 is the cream of the crop when it comes to camera phones. Five megapixels, 3x optical zoom and face detect make this a handy imaging device to have in your pocket. Camera aside, the rest of the handset is solid, but not outstanding.

Would you buy this?

The first mobile phone released in Australia to feature a five-megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom, the G800 represents a huge step forward for the camera phone market. In addition to its imaging capabilities, this chunky beast is also an HSDPA-capable device.

The first thing most consumers will notice when they pick up the G800 is its size. It's definitely larger and heavier than most other units on the market, but none of these competing models offer a camera with 3x optical zoom — largely the reason for the G800's chunky frame. With this in mind, we weren't too concerned with the size of this unit and our only complaint stems from the cameras lens cover — its protruding nature means the phone can't sit flat on a desk, which is somewhat annoying.

The G800 ticks all the other boxes in terms of design. Its glossy front, chrome edges and etched metal front and rear casing all combine to produce a handset that feels extremely well built and capable of taking one or two knocks. The spring operated slider is smooth and sturdy. The phone features a large and comfortable five-way navigational pad.

Unfortunately, although it looks sophisticated and smart, the G800's keypad is a slight weakness. The flat nature of the keys and their metal style means they require a firm press to activate; we weren't able to achieve overly fast messaging speeds. The bright white backlighting on each key is certainly a nice touch though.

As a camera, the G800 certainly lives up to expectations. It's not brilliant in any sense, but images possess accurate colour reproduction and, unlike most other camera phones, they don't suffer from fringing or halo effects. Image noise is moderate and the xenon flash works extremely well for night time photography — it's a handy device to have in your pocket for parties and get togethers. In addition to producing reasonable images, the camera has a host of options including red eye reduction, a self-timer, face detection and an anti-shake feature. It still doesn't compare with a standalone digital camera in terms of image quality. However, this is the phone that comes closest at this stage, so it's definitely worthy of some plaudits.

Perhaps the strangest feature of the G800 is the user interface. Recent Samsung models including the i560 and i450 have moved to a Symbian Series 60 interface, which provides more options in terms of third party applications. Samsung has stuck to its regular interface for the G800, and although it's intuitive to use, it's not as speedy as we'd have liked. Browsing menus, scrolling through lists and messaging all suffer from slight keystroke lag.

Aside from the camera, the G800 doesn't offer any other spectacular features. The most disappointing oversight is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack — the G800 relies on a proprietary headphone and charger port, which means you can't listen to music and charge the handset simultaneously. Thankfully, the A2DP Bluetooth profile means you can stream your music to a compatible set of Bluetooth headphones.

The handset is HSDPA-capable and operates on the popular 2100MHz band. Call quality was reasonable during testing, though we did note that volume lacked punch at its highest setting. The G800 features SMS, MMS and email messaging, all with T9 predictive text input. There is also a Google search function and a host of PIM features, a voice recorder, video and image editors, an FM radio and an RSS reader.

Optus offers the G800 for $0 upfront on an $79 Cap Plan over 24 months.

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