MSI looks to add executive chic to a winning laptop formula
- Bright and clear screen, easy-to-use interface, 1.3 megapixel camera with flash, sturdy build, impressive features list
- Hard to keep free of fingerprints, no voice dialing, poor battery life, connector cover not attached
The D500 is an excellent mobile handset and comes highly recommended. It is packed full of features and offers an impressive camera, but the battery life is substantially poorer than most other models.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Before the release of this phone, Samsung were not renowned for their mobiles, but in the producing D500, they have clearly put themselves on the map with a smart, savvy handset packed with features and topped off by a great design.
Samsung has used the slider form factor for the D500 and the handset is light and compact, measuring just 94mm x 46mm x 24mm and weighing only 99 grams. At the time of its release, the D500 was the lightest megapixel camera phone available on the market.
In its closed position, the D500 allows you to access the answer and end call keys, the 5-way navigational pad as well as the clear and select function keys. The D500 slides open to reveal a rather flat, black keypad which will take some time getting used to for those who regularly write and send SMS messages. On the left side of the unit is a volume button, which allows you to adjust the call level volume while in a conversation, while on the right hand side is a dedicated camera button and a slide-open headphone/speaker port. Despite not having access to the keypad when the phone is in its closed slider position, Samsung have managed to create a number of shortcut keys using the 5-way pad - all of which are fully customizable in the D500's settings menu. We found this feature very convenient, as you don't have to slide open the phone to access your favourite functions.
The D500 offers a 1.3 megapixel camera and the quality of photos is commendable for a camera phone. Offering resolutions up to 1280 x 1024, the D500 camera also offers numerous shooting effects, including Black and White, Sepia, Negative, Emboss and Sketch. You can also select a wide variety of frames to add to your image and a few button presses allows you to easily format your picture to be sent as an MMS message. The flash for most part worked well, however don't expect to light up pitch black darkness - you'll still need your dedicated digital camera for quality photos.
The D500 also doubles as an MP3 player and we found that the sound quality was fairly good using the supplied headphones, although we did notice some distortion at high volume levels. The D500 has 92MB of internal memory, which is a fair amount for a mobile phone but it isn't enough to replace your iPod. Unfortunately, there is no memory expansion option present on the D500, so you'll only be able to store about 15-20 songs on the phone at any one time. The biggest drawback of the MP3 player is that users are unable to access any of the phones other functions, such as messaging, while music is playing.
The D500 has a clear, colourful and concise menu and overall, the phone wins points for ease-of-use. There are four skins available, which essentially change the colour of the entire menu, as well as the option of using any photo as a background wallpaper. The D500 phonebook offers storage space for 1000 contacts, with each being able to store home, mobile, fax and office telephone numbers, as well as an e-mail address and the ability to assign a photo or picture.
Three JAVA games are included on the phone (Forgotten Warrior, Freekick and Arch Angel) as well as the standard organiser features, including alarm clock, world time, converter, voice recorder, stopwatch, calculator, calendar and a time. Surprisingly, the D500 does not include voice dialing, a feature seen on most new mobile handsets.
The D500 supports T9 predictive text input for messaging and offers support for SMS, MMS and E-mail. Samsung has also included a small external speakerphone, which plugs into the right hand side of the unit. This increases the speakerphone volume although it can also be used to play MP3's and up the level of sound in games or other programs. We felt the inclusion of this speaker was quite strange, as the volume levels without it are quite sufficient for both calls and applications.
The biggest drawback of the D500 is its poor battery life, which only managed to last about two and a half days during testing. If you regularly use the camera and the MP3 player, this would only decrease so we suggest purchasing an extra battery, just to be on the safe side. We also found a small but annoying problem with the connector cover on the bottom of the phone. It is not permanently attached to the D500, which means that you have to remove it when the phone is being charged and this makes it very easy to lose, considering its size. While not having this small piece of plastic doesn't affect the phones usage, the cover conceals the connector port and helps the phone maintain its sleek looks.
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