Samsung X820 review: Just for the record

Jiří Kuruc, 15 August 2006.

Landscape display

A major part of all mobile phones feature vertically orientated displays. Samsung, however, has decided not to compile with this common trend and has equipped its X820 model with a horizontal display. The first Samsung mobile to feature a horizontal display was the smart phone i320. The next one, after X820, is the P300. I myself appreciate this decision as landscape displays resemble TV displays, computer screens, and multimedia players. So why should they not appear in mobile phones as well? What's more, the landscape display makes reading messages and browsing WAP pages far easier.

Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820
Landscape display • colors are deep • keypad is illuminated in white

Samsung X820 display has a resolution of 220 x 176 pixels and a 262K color definition. Like most Samsung displays the one of X820 is classy and deserves a special compliment: colors are deep; contrast and brightness are tuned brilliantly. My only remark here refers to visibility under direct sunlight, which in the case of Samsung X820 is rather poor due to the glossy cover layer. In order to read the displayed content, turn the handset so that it reflects a solid surface.

The display goes out a few moments after you lock the keypad,. In such case both time and state details remain invisible. To illuminate the display (even if keypad is locked) simply press a random key on the keypad.

Brilliant keypad

As Samsung X820 is the slimmest, but not the narrowest or the shortest, its keypad has been mounted on plenty of space on the front cover. Numeric keys are pretty big, but extremely flat in order to keep phone's profile as slim as possible. Nevertheless, typing is more than comfortable thanks to the relative bulging of the keys, press feedback is 100% precise, and response is prompt.

Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820
Plenty of space reserved for the keypad • keys had no choice but to remain flat

The mark I give to the main button in the middle of the controller is not so high though. The "i" key alone is due some criticism since a WAP browser that can be run directly from the stand-by mode is only a appropriate decision only if you are on a flat data plan. To avoid paying for data transfers caused by incidental use of the key I recommend you to set up two profiles - a full one and a non-functional one. This way you will be able to select the right one, whenever it is necessary, while pressing the key by accident won't harm your budget.

The central key is more or less the only true drawback in Samsung X820's otherwise superb control navigation. Press orientation could have been more precise if this key had been made slightly higher than surrounding keys, for example. In the dark, the keypad is illuminated in white-greenish light, which can be de/activated from the menu. If you prefer to save energy, you may want to set backlights to light up in pre-determined intervals, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for example.

Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820 Samsung X820
Side by side with Nokia N70 • in serious competition with Motorola RAZR

When you start typing on Samsung X820's keypad, you will probably come to agree with me that slimness is here to attract attention rather than facilitate phone use. When keys in the right column are to be pressed, one has to either unnaturally curve their thumb, or simply lean the handset against their fingers, which, however, leads to quite an unstable handhold. If you do not trust me, grab any common mobile phone placed nearby and you will immediately feel the difference.

Menu in black

The design of Samsung X820's main menu is entirely new. Former sprightly colored icons have been replaced by a less-colorful, but far more elegant menu. The left area of the display is occupied by a 9-icon matrix, while selected icon shows on the right in a bigger format accompanied by a description above. Each of the nine icons features a special color. The same goes for the legend bands. Submenus are viewed as a list only. When an item is selected, its background becomes orange, while its font goes bigger and starts to roll. I myself do not find orange a very pleasant choice.

Stand-by display • main menu • each item has its own color

The black in display's background suits Samsung X820 perfectly, while the white menu version is ideal for shiny summer days as it makes reading easier. The menu navigation allows the use of number shortcuts. All four ways of the control button are user-configurable in stand-by mode too. In addition, numeric keys can be assigned shortcuts for immediate connection with selected contacts.

The white version of the main menu gleams with more colors • selected item is set off in orange background

As a whole, Samsung X820's menu navigation is pretty user-friendly. Soft-keys do not change their functions almost at all: the left one opens the main menu or confirms user's choice, while the right one sends you back to an upper level. The red key takes you back to stand-by display.

Reader comments

  • blurider

And if you can't find any decent bluetooth headphones or, like me, find bluetooth drains the battery real fast, just spend a few dollars on a 3.5mm audio adapter and get a set of shure earbuds :-)

  • shamsheer basha

bluetooth is not working so what problem

  • tzak

used this phone for 6 months, lost it ( it's small yes ) and bought myself the very same model. I guess that's says it all. The colors and thikness are really imprressive.