- Symbian OS, excellent keypad and controls, decent features list, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Touch-sensitive scroll wheel not responsive enough, slider doesn't feel solid enough, hands-free headset is proprietary, low-quality camera
The i450 is solid but not outstanding. The touch-sensitive scroll wheel has the potential to become an excellent control method, but currently isn't responsive enough.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
Sporting a touch-sensitive music scroll wheel, Samsung's "Music Edition" i450 is the manufacturer's first mobile phone released in Australia to run the Symbian operating system. This dual slider also features HSDPA connectivity, a 2-megapixel camera and a 2GB microSD card for storage.
The i450 bears a striking resemblance to Nokia's N81, both inside and out. They both run the Symbian Series 60 interface, are marketed as music handsets and feature a specific music control system. In the i450's case, this is a touch-sensitive half-wheel, revealed when the handset is slid downwards. You simply move your thumb gently over the arc to scroll through menu items and tap to make a selection.
This control system looks and sounds impressive, but its lack of tactile response makes it difficult to use. We also found it isn't as responsive as it should be, sometimes responding to light presses and other times refusing to budge. We found it easier to control our music using the regular five-way navigational pad.
Scroll wheel aside, the i450's controls are excellent. Its keypad is large and well spaced and, despite the keys being flat, tactile response is excellent. The bright white backlight is ideal for night time messaging. Unfortunately, we weren't too impressed with the rest of the design. The i450 is constructed largely of glossy plastic. While it feels sturdy enough, the slider didn't feel as solid as we'd have liked when closed. The plastic finish is also a fingerprint magnet.
The i450's user interface is very similar to most new Nokia models, with the exception of the main menu icons, which aren't animated and are rather plain. Icons aside, the user experience is what we've come to expect from Symbian units. The advantage over Samsung's previous interfaces is the availability of a much wider range of applications.
The i450's music player is solid, without being outstanding. Users can change themes and background effects. Random play, loop and a preset equaliser with 15 presets are available. Samsung says the phone uses ICEpower technology, developed by renowned audio company Bang & Olufsen and designed to offer clearer listening. Our overall impressions were positive. When used with a reasonable set of headphones, sound quality is comparable to a dedicated music player. Despite the presence of a 3.5mm jack, the hands-free headset included in the sales package has a proprietary connection, so you'll have to carry around two pairs of headphones if you are planning to take calls and listen to music. An FM radio that can store 50 presets is included.
The 2-megapixel camera with flash performs reasonably well in low-light conditions. However, we were disappointed that the i450 doesn't come with a higher-resolution camera. Despite this, its photos are reasonable enough to use as wallpaper for the handset. Video recording is also available, but the low quality means it isn't recommended. A front-mounted VGA camera handles video calls across a 3G network.
The 3.6Mbps HSDPA-capable i450 also boasts USB 2.0 and Bluetooth connectivity with A2DP, a voice recorder, a PDF viewer and a fairly straightforward web browser. Its PIM features include a unit/currency converter, notes, a calculator and an alarm clock. Samsung includes a proprietary USB cable in the sales package, along with an AC charger.
3 Mobile offers the i450 for $10 per month on a $29 Cap over 24 months, or free on all other caps (which are $49, $69, $99, $129 and $149).
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