With the SGH D500, Samsung has begun to resolve some of the problems of adding lots of features to a phone without ending up with a dog's dinner of a handset. The D500 has plenty of impressive features - bluetooth, tri-band, a 1.3megapixel digital zoom camera with flash, MP3 player, 80MB storage capacity and last but not least, Samsung's excellent voice clarity and intenna technology. We had first-rate reception when making and receiving calls with this phone.
The D500 uses the same spring-like, slider mechanism as Samsung's E800. Gizmogirl rates this as the best opening mechanism on the market. Like flip or clam shell phones, sliders have the advantage of being small when not in use, but having enough room for a decent sized keypad when opened up. Clam shell designs protect the phone's screen, but they also hide it away. Would you hide your LCD TV screen away behind cabinet doors? Samsung hangs its stunning 262,144 TFT LCD display out front where everyone can see it: on the D500, the flat screen is virtually the front of the phone, bar a small section for a D-pad and five buttons. Samsung has yet to design a decent case for its slider phones, which leaves you to care for the screen. If you carry your phone exclusively in an inside pocket of a bag or jacket, this is not such a problem. Carrying it in a trouser pocket with keys and coins would be, although our shiny black D500 stood up better to wear and tear than most painted silver clamshells that we have tested, which scratch easily.
Below the screen, a D-pad and five buttons gives the option to make calls and access functions via the menu instead of sliding the phone's number pad open. Alternatively, you can set the slider so that opening it automatically answers calls and closing it locks the keypad. The number pad itself is perfectly designed, a joy for texting with no sponginess to the keys. Type numbers in, and Samsung's gorgeous, retro sans-serif black numerals appear clearly on screen. Sadly, Samsung has yet to rethink the menu graphics, which are typical of the all-singing, all-dancing icons that appear on most mobile phones and which could be so much simpler.
On first sight, the D500 seems not to be a camera phone. This is because instead of sticking it on the front or the top of the handset, Samsung has hidden both camera and flash away in the back of the slider mechanism. There is also a mirror that works fine for self portraits. The digital zoom, powerful flash and decent resolution mean pictures are worth saving and sharing, especially since the phone doubles as a photo album with tons of storage.
Our only criticism is battery consumption. Admittedly, we had Bluetooth switched on, and had been in and out of a few mobile phone shops to see staff reaction to our prototype, which meant the handset had been busy communicating with lots of Bluetooth-enabled devices. Even with Bluetooth switched off, we needed to carry the spare battery with us to be sure of getting through the day.
This is another hit for Samsung to follow the huge popularity of its Olympics branded E800 slider handset. Whereas the earlier slider phone was light on technology, the D500 has Bluetooth, tri-band and a huge storage capacity. Adding features has not been at the expense of size: the D500 is a gorgeous, pebble fit in your hand with the slider to play with. It may be equipped as the latest business-cum-entertainment phone, but for Gizmogirl, making voice calls is still the killer application on any handset. For this, the D500 is hard to beat with a great keypad and first class reception for voice calls.
This product was kindly loaned to us by http://www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk