The Samsung p730 is the company’s first phone with a 1 mega pixel camera offering. Packed into a clamshell design with optional swivelling clam the phone builds on the lift, twist and rotate variants found in previous models.
The silver design is nothing outstanding and the unit offers a front LCD screen for caller ID, battery power and time- like most modern clamshell designs. Protruding from the front design is the D-pad and an information button, programmable to something like Vodafone Live! And T-zones from T-Mobile. It’s strange that the D-pad and the info button are accessible from the outside because from what we can gather they do nothing while the phone is shut. The side of the phone houses a MMC slot for additional memory and headphones jack to accompany the included MP3 player is also there.
Open the phone up and you’re presented with a screen that you can’t help thinking should be bigger. This isn’t to say that the screen is small, far from it, and the 256K screen resolution (still a rarity in colour phones) is sharp and clear. Like previous swivel designs from Samsung the screen’s orientation automatically changes with the swivel when you get to 90 or 180 degrees from the original point. However unlike previous models the swivel now feels solid enough to be moved without the fear of snapping off in your hand. To help you feel a little safer there are a series of catches that raise and recede depending on the position of the screen.
If you’re used to the directional pad being next to the keypad and alongside the usual select or cancel buttons the raising and placement of the new pad can be sometime off putting. Additionally placing the camera directly behind it did result in our figures getting in the way when it came to using the camera.
Bar the usual polyphonic ringtones, MP3 playback, tri-band support, Java support, games and organising applications the main focus is on the camera and its recording abilities. The camera offers two options - either still photography or video. When the video mode is selected you have the chance to save in four different image sizes and four quality settings. Still photography allows you a host of options: normal mode is as it suggests, multi shot allows you to shoot 6, 9 or 15 shots continuously and Matrix shot allows you to shoot 4 or shots to make up one image. Failing that you can also choose your effect you wish to add to the image. The phone offers grey, negative, sepia, sketch, emboss, orange, aqua, oil, watercolour, gpen, outline, hatch and pastel. The effects are fairly good- as if you had applied a Photoshop filter on them, but we are sure the novelty factor would wear off eventually.
As for the difference between 1 mega pixel images and 640x480 you could tell even on the phone screen let alone waiting to transfer them to the PC.
While the phone does have its downsides- such as a lack of Bluetooth- the main focus, ie the camera, has been serviced very well. The options available in both the still and video capture suggest that Samsung has earmarked this phone to be its camera option until the two mega pixel variant appears later this year. Due to this being a pre-production model, we were unable to test its voice calling capabilities (we could find the networks, but not connect to them). If you aren't on Vodafone and therefore can't get the Sharp GX30 and don't want to wait until Sony Ericsson's S700 comes along this will be a good camera unit to go for- in the absence of other competing models.