Slider phones are better known for their emphasis on aesthetics, as they tend to have limited real estate especially around the keypad area. Recent models have been making improvements since slider phones first appeared, but progress however, has not been the most impressive as yet. With us today is the Samsung D820 and we'll be looking to see if this phone can finally buck the trend.
Aesthetically, the D820 should have no problem holding its own against other slider phones. With a broad matte-black surface and alluring angular curves, the D820 is as tough as it is handsome because matte-black doesn't reveal scratches easily - considering that phones spend a considerable amount of time in our pockets amongst hard and pointy objects such as keys and coins. Only 15.2mm thick, the phone is no less slimmer than the LG KG800 Chocolate phone. The D820 however, perceptibly exudes a more manly swagger as compared to the LG Chocolate phone, which should be a nod for the good from men.
A large and bright QVGA display takes up most of the face panel along with a typical D-pad flushed amongst function keys. The D-pad and function keys themselves are as ergonomically pleasing as it is responsive to touch. A thin sliver plastic sits between the display and D-pad to aid in acquiring grip for the phone's sliding function, without which there would be little to push the top section up with. The phone's 1.3-megapixel camera is found at the top right corner and has a handy ability to swivel for self-portraits in addition to functioning as a mirror. A power jack found on the left side of the phone doubles as a headset output while a convenient microSD slot can also be found on the right; a sweet surprise considering the LG KG800 Chocolate and first generation Motorola RAZR V3 offer no such memory headroom. Within the phone, the D820's interface keeps navigation smooth, although there is still a mandatory pause after per execution of command/function.
And in typical Samsung fashion, sound quality of the D820 is clean and clear, and battery life is decent to see most users comfortably through two days of usage.
The D820 has two pleasant surprises – a document viewer and a TV-out function. The D820's document viewer lets you read Microsoft Word documents as well as Adobe PDFs, while the TV-out function lets you project anything within your phone onto your TV. Samsung definitely deserves praise for including these two innovations within such a tiny phone. However, we remained reserved about the practicality of these functions for the casual user.
The D820 isn't free from flaws and suffers from typical keypad problems as other slider phones do; the space key is tucked deep in the right bottom corner and is especially annoying to the old school SMS fans who demonize phone dictionaries. Also, the phone's speaker is found on the top-left side of the phone to make way for the camera lens, causing some users to either align the phone to their ears in an awkward fashion or unable to hear incoming calls clearly. Finally, the D820's slide function is a little abrupt due to a rigid spring-loaded mechanism within, although this gripe is subjected to personal preference.
Even though the D820 didn't exactly buck the typical typecast of slider phones, Samsung has done a good job with the D820 no less. When pitted against other phones of the same category, the D820 stands out with its sturdy looks, excellent memory expansion options as well as innovative features such as a document viewer and TV-out. Certainly, those looking for a sturdy, feature-filled phone with a splash of good looks should definitely pay attention to the serious but stylish looking D820.