If The Matrix had been made today Neo would probably have been toting one of these. Samsung’s SGH-D900 undeniably looks cool: sleek, slim, light and appropriately black. Design is clearly a key selling point for this multimedia phone. It’s a slide-up unit of After Eight proportions at just 13mm high (or thin if you prefer).
The excellent 256k colour screen is really vivid and aided by a strong backlight which dims when the phone’s not in use. The resolution is clear and the fonts are easily readable. The interface is simple and well designed; Samsung’s design boffins have gone for a classic look instead of cartoony icons and this sits well with the overall look and feel of the handset. Given this, it’s strange that when you dial a new number that isn’t in the contacts list, the screen shows a graphic of a pen writing the number on a piece of paper in a fancy font. It’s a nice feature albeit utterly useless and is oddly out of keeping with the phone’s overall tone.
Far cleverer are the drop-down sub-menus that appear when you access an application. For instance, when you click on the ‘My messages’ bar in the message menu, a list appears with the option to select one of five folders such as the inbox or sent mail folder. To do this, you click on the right hand side of the touchpad and then scroll down to the option you want. This feature takes a bit of getting used to even for the flexibly thumbed among us. The bigger picture here is that it’s yet another example of how the mobile phone is slowly but surely morphing into a portable computer.
As a multimedia phone the D900 acquits itself really well. Though I’m no great fan of camera phones, this handset’s 3-megapixel resolution comes a lot closer to a proper camera and the photos are god quality in a range of light settings. The video function is serviceable but not spectacular. I’d call it YouTube-quality at best: it’s definitely not as good as the Nokia N90 I reviewed here earlier this year, but given the price difference it’s not bad at all.
On top of that, the D900’s music player more than passes muster too. When used with the supplied headphones, you get a really good, full sound. Speaking of which, the call quality is really good and clear so Samsung hasn’t forgotten what this handset’s primary purpose is.
With all those features another surprising thing is just how light the D900 is. Personally a phone’s weight isn’t a deciding factor with me but obviously few compromises were made to deliver all of the functions in this phone’s housing. In order to accommodate the slim-line design, the number keys are fairly flush with the face of the phone, so that I find myself having to use the edge of my thumb in order to scrawl out a text message.
Some more little gripes: the alarm only seems to work if the phone is switched on, which is somewhat annoying if like me you tend to use your mobile for the morning wake-up call. Also, the thin covers to protect the headphone and memory card docks seem a bit on the flimsy side.
My overall impressions of the phone, though, are positive and at €129 (on contract from Meteor) you’re getting a hell of a handset for a really good price.
Value for Money: ****
By Gordon Smith