Review: Samsung D900 Ultra slim slider phone

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The Propaganda

Samsung’s new Ultra range is designed to illustrate just how much technology they can fit into a slim phone design. So, whilst they’ve now got the skinniest candybar title, the slimmest HSDPA phone and a host of other accolades, they haven’t skimped on the specs. The D900 was the first of these to be launched, featuring a sliding design and measuring just 12.9mm in width. And yes, it’s the world’s slimmest slider phone. Available free on contract, it’s in the shops now.

The Good

It’s seldom now that you can pick up a phone that does something that’s truly new or unique to the brand. Cameras, MP3 players and office functionality are all present in the vast majority of phones on the market, to one degree or another. Any company that attempts to create something new risks straying over into the gimmicky territory occupied by novelty ringtones and crazy photo effects. So, with that in mind, I give you the Samsung theme screen. And I invite you to make up your own mind.

Basically, it features a home screen based on your geographical location, within reason. If you’re in England you get Big Ben. France? Champs d’Elysees. Holland? Hmm. You appear to have no iconic landmarks, so you’re stuck with windmills, I’m afraid. When you change countries, the phone recognises it and will change screens, as well as the local time. It does check with you first, in case you’re particularly attached to Big Ben. I’m not sure if the screen changes if you change countries but not time zones i.e. Dublin. Unfortunately, I can’t check for the purposes of this review, as I couldn’t clear a jolly to Dublin with the Powers That Be. C’est la vie. The screen also indicates the signal strength – lots of clouds, and you’ve got poor signal, clear sky, and you’ve got loads, as the shepards say.

The camera is also the best found on a slider phone at 3 megapixels, which takes stills and video footage. There is 60MB of internal memory to store your photos, as well as a MicroSD slot for expanding that.  The screen is 2.1" which is noticeably larger than previous Samsung screens such as the one found on the E900. It also supports 262,000 colours, so is bright enough to take advantage of all the fancy pants graphics it comes with.

The buttons on this model are soft keys, rather than laser-etched, touch sensitive, or some other kind of nice-in-theory-awful-in-practice design.  This makes them easy to use, although not as attractive. On another design note, the soft finish on the phone is a nice touch, and unlike many similar models, doesn’t get greasy after a few days. The inclusion of Stereo Bluetooth, means that you can use the MP3 player to send music to your bluetooth headphones, ditching the wires.

The Bad

The camera is a key point on this phone – it’s the best available on this design of phone. However, despite offering 3 megapixels, it loses against the competition as it still appears as a camera phone, rather than something that you’d consider dumping your camera for. The light is LED, so doesn’t use a flash, making your subjects look odd in low light. Unlike many of it’s contemporaries, there is a limited number of things you can do with the photos once you’ve taken it. Yes, you can MMS it, and you can send it via Bluetooth to a printer, but there’s no extended applications, such as loading it onto a blogging site, which both Nokia and Sony Ericsson  have included.

There are design issues as well. The battery is a nightmare to get out, and considering it hides the SIM card slot, it’s one of the first things you notice about the phone. The call answer/reject button are an old skool green and red, making the keypad look old fashioned, confirmed by the large buttons. The lip that ‘catches’ the slider at the bottom sits right against the *, 0 and # key, which is awkward when you’re writing a text, as these are the space and word change buttons.

Geek sheet

Size: 50x104x13

Weight: 83g

Talk time: 390 mins

Standby time: 200 hours

Camera: 3 megapixels

Music support: MP3, AAC, ACC+, AAC+

In our opinion

On paper, the D900 looks great. But it’s once you take it from the box that you lose the excitement. Whether it’s the large screen which makes it look bigger than it is, or the green or red buttons that make it look old fashioned, designwise they seem to have let the fact that it’s thin excuse any effort on the rest of it.

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6 comments

  • Hi
    I bought this phone last week with O2.I found the signal very poor in my room and Call dropped frequently in conversation. I put sim in to my old Nokia and it showed full signal in the same room and workied fine.
    I am not sure if this problem happened to some other customer. I sent this phone back to O2 for replacement.

  • I have owned this phone for just two months and I’m afraid I have found it very poor… in fact my wife and I have identical models and yet the menus and settings are all totally different to navigate etc… The battery life is deplorable my wife gets about 48hrs and I get only another 12 or so hours more… The sound on the phone is poor and the loudspeaker is very distorted and… in fact when making a call yesterday I selected loudspeaker and on pressing the confirm button the screen malfunctioned and is now unusable… neither orange, the original shop selling the item or Samsung UK have been at all helpful and after just two months I don’t think I’ll bother repairing it The D in D900 definately stands for DISAPPOINTING!! Back to a trusty Nokia

  • I would not recommend the D900 for two key reasons:
    a. the speech quality/sound quality is poor – it transmits a remarkably narrow range of frequencies that translate into a muffled, tinny sound. Since this is still a mobile phone, I should like to assume that speech clarity is a key factor. It reminds me of the issue Samsung had with last year’s E720 series.
    b. if the phone is standing by its screen is black and does not inform of any txts or missed calls once they have been received. One has to slide the phone open to check for txts/missed phone calls (unlike the D500 the screen of which does show an envelope icon or missed phone icon in stand-by mode).
    c. Battery life is limited: I only got two days out of it after a total of 35mins speech and about 10 txts (i.e. not use of camera). This is also bad news.
    I will return the phone which is part of a decent Virgin deal and might revert to the D600 or a Nokia. Form should not trump function.

  • i bought two for a bargain price of $2 and its really worth it. for $2 , i get a camera plus a phone and thats buy one take one. you should buy it also from the magnanakaw. (thief) just tell him what model, then after 2 days, he will give you two of the same model for the price of one. or you can whole sale for

  • It’s a very good phone, the camera quality is good enough and the well balanced with the size, it is the reason I picked it instead of K800i or N73. Also the exceptional good quality screen…

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