- Competitive price, Solid features list, Design, Overall package
- No memory expansion slot, Battery life could be a little better
Without a doubt, the best entry level mobile phone on the market. Well priced, a solid features list and an excellent design make the D520 look and feel like a much more expensive handset.
Price$ 335.00 (AUD)
The Samsung D520 slider mobile phone includes good features within a great design. Competitively priced, the D520 includes a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, an MP3 player and 80MB of built-in memory make it one of the best entry level phones currently on the market.
Calls were crisp and clear for most part, although even at maximum volume it was a struggle at times to hear in loud environments. The hands free speakerphone was a different story though, working well in most areas. The D520 supports regular phone features, such as a 1000 entry phone book and dialled, received and missed call lists (up to 20 each).
Like most Samsung phones, the user interface is once again superb. A simple 3 x 3 grid menu system with clearly labelled, animated icons ensures even novice users shouldn't have too many problems. Once a menu item is selected, a simple list format is used to display all the available options and sub-menus.
Samsung has included a 1.3 megapixel camera on the D520 and like most phone cameras offering this resolution, the pictures produced are poor. Pictures lack sharpness and crispness and exhibit a large amount of image noise. It's perfect for on-phone photos and even off the cuff images for email and Web use, but don't expect to take any sort of serious photos with this camera. Multi-shot and mosaic-shot modes are available, along with a host of effects such as antique and moonlight, a number of frames, a flash, as well as a three, five or 10 second self-timer. Images can be captured at as little as 176 x 220 pixels, all the way up to 1280 x 1024 and users can also adjust white balance and ISO settings.
The D520 has a music player that supports multiple file formats, including MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+ and WMA. The music player isn't helped by Samsung's insistence on using a proprietary headphone jack. This issue is compounded by the fact that the included headphones are uncomfortable and produce poor quality sound. Another frustration is the fact that you can't use the music player at the same time as any other application; for example, you can't send a message while listening to music. You have to exit the player, send the message, and then open the music player again. You can store your MP3 files on the generous 80MB of internal memory, although there is no card slot for memory expansion. Other features of the D520 include a document viewer, Java 2.0, SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9 predictive text input, a hands-free speakerphone and voice recording.
Sleek and slim, the D520 is a very attractive handset. Finished in a gloss black plastic with chrome highlights and white backlit buttons, it looks like a much more expensive phone than it actually is. Measuring 101mm x 46mm x 15.9mm and weighing just 94g, its compact form means it's comfortable to hold to your ear for long conversations.
The front of the D520 features a standard set of controls; a five-way navigational pad with a chrome ring, two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and a clear button. Slide the phone open and the keypad is revealed, its buttons well spaced out but not raised enough for our liking. The buttons are a generous size though, so messaging and dialling phone numbers will be comfortable, even for those with large fingers.
A 1.9in TFT LCD display with 176 x 220 pixel resolution is included and this is excellent for most uses. Sunlight glare can become a problem, as can unwanted fingerprints, but these are issues with most mobile phones on the market. The D520's screen is bright and clear and was especially attractive during night time use.
On the right of the handset is a dedicated camera button, but unfortunately you have to hold for a few seconds to activate it, rather than simply press it. On the left side are convenient external volume controls, which can be used to adjust both MP3 playback volume and the volume during phone calls. A proprietary headphone jack that doubles as the AC charger input sits below this. Battery life is average according to Samsung figures with up to three hours of talk time and up to 285 hours of standby time. On a mobile with minimal features, we expected a little better.
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