- Stylish, brushed metal design; only 9.6mm thin; external OLED display
- Flip hard to open, no memory card slot, poor tactile response of keypad and controls, no 3G
The U300 is certainly a stylish looking handset, but it has too many faults to be recommended as a wise purchase.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
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A smart and sophisticated looking mobile phone thanks to a sapphire blue, brushed metal finish and a design that is just 9.6mm thin, Samsung's U300 certainly doesn't compromise on style. Unfortunately, its design sacrifices usability -- the difficult to open flip, poor tactile response of the keypad and controls, and the lack of a memory card slot deem this handset mindlessly frustrating to use.
The U300 is certainly attractive, largely thanks to the brushed metal finish. It feels solid and well built, and the spring operated flip certainly gives the aura of a handset that fits into a higher price bracket than it actually does. The small OLED display on the front is convenient and stylish, while sunlight mode improves the internal screen visibility in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, the style of this handset also contributes to its downfall. The flip is almost impossible to open with one hand and even with both hands it's still a little tricky to flip open.
The casing is just 9.6mm thin, but this size means that a memory card slot has been sacrificed -- with just 70MB of internal memory, you won't be able to store many multimedia files. The biggest downside to the U300 though is its controls. In keeping with the design of the handset, they are completely flat. At the best of times they are barely responsive, often taking two or three hard and firm presses of a finger to activate. Day-to-day menu browsing, answering calls and typing messages is a frustrating process -- the controls simply lack tactility, making the U300 a chore to operate.
It's a real shame this is the case, as under the cover is a handset with a decent features list. Aside from the lack of 3G connectivity, the U300 includes a 3.2-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, video recording and playback, a music player and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The music player has repeat and shuffle play modes, preset equaliser settings and 3D sound effects, with the A2DP Bluetooth profile it means you can wirelessly stream your music to a set of compatible headphones. The U300 also has Bang & Olufsen's ICEpower technology designed to offer enhanced acoustic capabilities and sound quality without affecting battery life. We didn't note much of a difference in sound quality but the included proprietary headphones don't help.
Strangely, although there is a TV-output option, there is no composite TV-out cable included in the sales package. Other features include standard POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail access, SMS and MMS messaging with T9 predictive text input, a handsfree speakerphone, polyphonic and MP3 ringtones, a voice recorder and image editor.
Battery life is above average, rated at up to six hours talk-time and up to 300 hours of standby time. Samsung claims the use of Optimized Power Usage Solution (OPUS) will increase talk-time by 10 per cent.
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