One of the most anticipated mobile phones entering 2008 would no doubt be Samsung’s G800, with a unique selling point of being the company’s first 5.0-megapixel heavyweight to include a 3x optical zoom.
We'll come right out and say it first. The G800 is a very bulky phone, but while it may not be as attractive as Samsung’s wafer-thin designer Ultra Edition series, its sturdy footprint and metal finish lends it some substance. And as a slider phone, a large glossy 2.4-inch display provides the necessary appeal.
Below the display, the G800's external navigation pad and keys are very user-friendly due to their size. Sliding open the phone, the keypad consisted of huge keys we totally adore as they made it almost effortless to blind type text messages. Now, if only Samsung made them a little less stiff on the thumbs, they would be perfect. At the back, the G800 sports a flushed camera system, with a sliding cover to protect the lens from dust and dirt. However, the bulky slider mechanism makes it appear protruding, adding to the thickness of the phone.
The main feature of the G800 would be its advanced imaging capabilities. The G800 offers auto focus, macro, red-eye reduction, face detection, anti-shake and ISO adjustments (up to ISO 400) among others, closing the thin line between a dedicated digital camera and camera phones even further. The mobile even comes with a Xenon flash, up from its predecessor, the G600's LED flash. This makes Samsung the latest mobile manufacturer to join the Xenon flash club.
Another technology worthy of mention is Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) Optimization, which claims to preserve image data in any lighting condition, be it in bright or shadowing and backlit areas. Testing the camera, we've got to say that the image quality of the 5.0-megapixel sensor to be very impressive. WDR also turned out to be more than a marketing gimmick, as photo details could be more clearly seen under adverse conditions, but it did seem to add to the grain.
With a dedicated video editor and 7.2Mbps HSDPA connection capabilities, Samsung intended the G800 to be the only mobile needed for users always on the move. Users can share images and videos directly to online services such as YouTube or a personal blog.
Call quality was stellar with no noticeable interference. Even in crowded areas, conversation was loud and clear. On the downside, the G800 only features a 690mAh Li-ion battery, but it was able to last for around two days of intensive messaging. We estimate battery life to be much shorter when extensively using the camera and flash of course.
With its advanced features, the Samsung G800 is clearly designed to function as an imaging device first, offering solid competition to likewise camera phones such as the Sony Ericsson K850i, Nokia N82 and LG’s Viewty. Going for a price tag of S$838 (~US$591) without operator plan, the Samsung G800 is a worthy investment for anyone who is looking for a serious camera slated phone.