Samsung J800 mobile phone

A trendy and functional 3G-capable Samsung phone for under $200

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Samsung J800
  • Samsung J800
  • Samsung J800
  • Samsung J800

Pros

  • Zippy user interface, excellent build quality, elegant design

Cons

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack, average feature set, call quality was slightly below par

Bottom Line

The Samsung J800 is a stylish and user-friendly mobile phone that gave an average performance across the board. If you want a basic handset that doesn't skimp on style, the J800 is worth checking out.

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The Samsung J800 is a tri-band GSM mobile phone aimed at the lower end of the market. Like its predecessors, the Samsung J700 and Samsung J750, it attempts to bring a sense of style to the nation’s great unwashed. With an RRP of $199, it is an affordable and attractive 3G-capable phone that comes with all the features you’d expect. It offers several improvements over the J750, including a larger, 2.2in LCD display and a speedier user interface. If you want a fashionable handset that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you could do worse than the Samsung J800.

The Samsung J800 benefits from a classy aesthetic that belies its affordable price tag. Though it lacks the "look at me" exuberance of phones like the LG Prada (KF900) and Motorola MOTORAZR2 V9 Rose Gold, it remains a smart-looking device that puts many sub-$200 handsets to shame (including the J750). We were particularly impressed by the build quality: the spring-operated slider is silky smooth, while its chrome keys are large and shiny.

In fact, "shiny" is the operative word when it comes to describing the Samsung J800 – it’s one of the glossiest handsets in its price range. Thankfully, the pinstripe grey finish does a good job at camouflaging fingerprints, though you’ll naturally want to keep your mitts away from the glass faceplate. Measuring 99x49x15.2mm and weighing 100g even, the Samsung J800 is a fairly chunky handset; especially when the slider's open. However, we think this merely adds to its fashionable styling (big is beautiful, as they say).

We were equally impressed by the Samsung J800’s user interface, which we found to be a lot faster than the sluggish J750. The large, tactile keys are tailor-made for serial texters, including ham-fisted menfolk. As with the J500 and J750, a five-way navigational pad and two selection buttons are used for navigation. The menu is exceptionally well laid out, with stylish silver icons in place of the cartoony potpourri that afflicts so many of its rivals. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this is one classy handset.

To test the call quality, we took the Samsung J800 into the busy heart of North Sydney. We found the volume to be impressively loud (so much so that it actually hurt our ear at the maximum setting). Even the city’s noisiest trucks failed to completely drown out our conversation. Unfortunately, the robust volume levels are not matched by crystal-clear clarity: audio was occasionally marred by hissing and other interference, though it wasn't enough to put us off the handset.

Samsung has upgraded the J750’s 1.3-megapixel camera to 2.2 megapixels. This doesn’t make much of a difference to be honest, but its output remains perfectly suitable for caller ID pics and the like. There’s no flash though, which means nocturnal happy snaps are off-limits. In addition to taking photos, the camera can also record videos at a resolution of 176x144 to unspectacular effect. More useful is the front-mounted VGA camera, which can be used for video calls over a 3G network on the 2100MHz band. The usual assortment of PIM goodies are also present, including an organiser, currency converter and voice recording. Other features include Bluetooth functionality, an e-mail client (POP3/IMAP4), inbuilt Java applications and an FM radio with RDS support — all par for the course, really.

Samsung has neglected to include a 3.5mm headphone jack with this handset, which means you’re stuck with the proprietary headphones. This is one thing we were hoping would be changed over the J750, but it remains unchecked. On the plus side, the inclusion of a MicroSD card slot and A2DP Bluetooth makes the J800 a suitable MP3 player, despite the lack of traditional headphone support.

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