Samsung HD Icon smartphone

Samsung's HD Icon is the first mobile phone in the world to record 720p HD video

Samsung HD Icon
  • Samsung HD Icon
  • Samsung HD Icon
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • HD video recording, excellent 8-megapixel camera, TouchWIZ interface, large AMOLED display, 3.5mm headphone jack, good music player, 16GB internal memory with card slot

Cons

  • Glossy design is a fingerprint magnet, no lens cover for camera, some Symbian UI issues, no dedicated app store

Bottom Line

The Samsung HD Icon is recommended for anyone after an excellent camera phone. HD video recording is superb, it can take excellent photos and it's a very capable music player, too. The Symbian OS isn't perfect and can be the cause of some frustration, but Samsung has done a much better job than Nokia with this touch-screen smartphone.

Would you buy this?

The Symbian S60 operating system powers the HD Icon, but it's been tweaked with Samsung's TouchWIZ interface. Used on a range of the latest Samsung mobile phones — including the Windows Mobile powered Omnia Icon — TouchWIZ is widget-based skin that sits on top of the phone’s operating system. The use of widgets may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they work reasonably well. You simply press and drag icons from the panel to the main area to use a particular program or function. The HD Icon's three home screen pages are fully customisable. The widgets aren't labelled in the sidebar, so it's hard to distinguish what many of them do. Additionally, the Facebook and YouTube widgets are merely links to the Web page of each service rather than dedicated apps.

Samsung HD Icon

The Samsung's TouchWIZ UI is a highlight of the HD Icon and features a widget-based home screen.

Interface tweaks unique to the HD Icon include the ability to swipe left and right to reveal the main menu and photo contacts application respectively. The screen transition is smooth and the 3D effects feel polished and fast — terms usually not associated with Symbian phones, especially touch-screen handsets.

Although there is a similar version of Symbian used on the Nokia N97, the HD Icon's capacitive touch screen results in a far better user experience. There is minimal lag and it feels like a far more polished smartphone than the N97. There are still some issues: scrolling is a mixed bag (annoyingly following your finger when trying to flick through a list), single and double click inconsistencies remain in various functions, and there is no dedicated Symbian app store, despite the wide range of applications available for the platform.

Samsung HD Icon

The interface eye-candy, like the above effect when sliding from the home screen to the main menu, gives the Samsung HD Icon a polished feel.

The Samsung HD Icon smartphone is a capable music player, with a 3.5mm headphone jack, FM radio application and a tweaked music player. The music software features large touch buttons that make it easy to navigate. Using the built-in accelerometer, turning the phone to the side allows you to slide through your album covers, similar to Apple's Cover Flow system on the iPhone.

The included Web browser supports Flash and has no problems loading most pages, but typing an address requires too many presses and moving around the page isn't as smooth as we'd have liked. There is no multitouch zooming (you double tap instead).

Samsung HD Icon

The Samsung HD Icon's music player has been tweaked from the standard Symbian offering and features large, easy to press buttons on the Now Playing screen.

The Samsung HD Icon is an HSDPA-capable phone and also boasts built-in GPS, a digital compass, Bluetooth with A2DP, USB with a standard micro-USB interface and Wi-Fi. It has 16GB of flash memory, and there is a microSD card slot for extra storage.

Samsung rates the HD Icon's battery life at up to 6.5 hours of talk time and 450 hours of standby time on a 3G network. We managed slightly less than advertised times, but the HD Icon still outperforms the iPhone and the HD video recording and large screen don't have an adverse affect on battery life. The HD Icon will get you comfortably through a day, even with heavy use.

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