The Samsung G800 is the company's latest camera focus mobile phone and comes with a 5 megapixel digital camera with the promise that photographers can still get great shots even without a standard compact camera. But is that the case? We get snapping to find out.

The Samsung SGH-G800, to give it its full title, is a HSDPA slider with dimensions of 101 x 51 x 19mm.

Fairly fat compared to your average mobile, the Sony Ericsson W880 is just 9mm thick for example, the G800 is to put it bluntly big and heavy. This isn't a phone that can be hidden in a pocket and forgotten about.

It might be big and heavy, but the design is stylish with a brushed metal finish. The front of the handset is dominated by 2.4-inch 262K colour 320 x 240 pixel QVGA display that is crisp and clear with a d-pad and call buttons situated at the bottom underneath this.

Slide up the screen (it is a slider design after all) and it reveals a big, solid, easy to use keypad. The topside of the phone sports zoom buttons and a dedicated shutter button while the underside offers two compartments for charging, headphones (not 3.5mm), and a microSD card slot.

Like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, Samsung has professed the phone's camera credentials with a bulky camera lens cover that slides out the way (normally in your pocket) to reveal the 3x optical lens and a Xenon flash.

Luckily for Samsung the main selling point isn't the size, but those 5 million pixels and a 3x optical zoom waiting to get the perfect picture and a range of software applications that go with it.

The phone's overall software is the same found on Samsung's Ultra edition handsets and comes with an easy to use interface that lets you get the most out of the phone from text messaging to listening to music via the MP3 player.
Trying its best to be a fully-fledged camera, the phone offers a number of features that you can opt and choose for in the camera mode.

Which camera to use (front or back) is going to be a no brainer, but opting for one of the 14 scene modes might not be.

On resolution you can opt for 2560 x 1920 (5M) down to 640 x 480 pixels while you can also choose whether you want to choose single shot, multi-shot, mosaic shot, frame shot or panorama.

Then there are the flash modes; auto, on, red-eye reduction or off, timer options, macro modes, white balance, exposure settings, anti-shake, ISO settings up to 400 and special effects to boot. The options list like a real camera.

Taking pictures is incredibly easy and in our tests we noticed no noticeable shutter lag as we experienced with the Nokia N95, although subjects too close can be blasted by the powerful Xenon flash.

When it comes to the camera software users can share images or video via ShoZu.

ShoZu, according to the blurb "is the leading provider of mobile social media services that connect mobile consumers with their online social networks, personal blogs, photo storage sites and other Web 2.0 properties from the handset".

Basically what this means is that you can access flickr, YouTube, Facebook, blip.tv and a host of others including CNN and the BBC all from your mobile phone without even going near a computer, and thanks to the G800's HSDPA 3.6Mbps connection speeds you can upload content as if you were on broadband at home.

Of course before you upload your pictures you want them to be the best they can be and so you can edit in camera.

Here the G800 gives you the ability to add effects such as changing the picture to look like an oil painting or if it was drawn with crayons while more useful options include removing red-eye, brightness, contrast and colour levels.

You can even opt to add frames, clipart and emoticons if that's your thing. Images are saved in addition to your original file so you won't lose anything and overall, while the software is basic, it's good enough to give you some control over what your images look like before uploading them to the web to share.

But unlike Apple's iPhone, the G800's camera isn't just about still photography and users can record video as well.

Here you have two resolution choices 320 x 240 and 176 x 144 disappointingly missing out on 640 x 480 or even higher resolutions. You do still however get control over white balance, exposure and sound.

Once recorded you can, like the still images, edit the footage in camera. Here you get the ability to trim, spilt, cut, copy, add effects and audio as well as text. Once done you can then upload it to the web via ShoZu.

Features beyond the digital camera include Bluetooth 2.0 and an FM radio.

Verdict

Samsung has really pulled out all the stops in creating a mobile phone that is also a very good digital camera.

The camera's capabilities, performance and offering are the same if not more than an ordinary regular spec'ed digital camera (you can't share camera images to the web via HSDPA for example), except the megapixel count.

So what's the catch?

Size. Reminiscent of 3G handsets of yesteryear the G800 is a big hefty beast that will weigh heavy in your pocket compared to other slimmer models that's we've all become used to.

However if you can get past this issue, and if you are looking for a field camera, then chances are you probably can, this is one of the best camera phones on the market today.

Oh and it's a great phone too.