The design combines the looks of a sharp mobile and a digital camera. It has a large 2.4in, 320 x 240, 262,144-colour display up front with a black and chrome surrounding, while the back sports a smart brushed metal-style finish on plastic.
Thankfully, Samsung hasn’t overdone it with the controls, using a straightforward central navigation control arrangement with flanking vertically-aligned soft-menu keys. Call, end and clear keys are lined up in minimalist fashion at the bottom.
Slim, but heavier than the Nokia N95
The main menu system is laid out in a grid of icons which can be switched to a list, if you prefer. From here you can select sub-menus to explore features, apps and settings. The navigation pad can be configured as quick access shortcuts. The efficient sliding numberpad that slips out from under the body is reassuringly solid. The keypad is a smooth all-in-one affair, with buttons flush on the brushed metal-look pad but still responsive enough when pushed.
On one side of the phone is the Micro SD memory card slot, next to the G800’s charger/earphones socket. Yes, Samsung opts for a dual-function proprietary headphone socket rather than a standard headphone socket, so sadly options for replacing the in-box headset are limited unless you go down the stereo Bluetooth route.
On the other side, there’s the familiar camera activation button, though you need to slip open the slide cover to fire up the camera. Holding the phone horizontally, the zoom control/volume buttons are positioned near to the camera button, inviting right-handed zooming as well as shooting.
That heftiness comes into its own when holding the G800 as a camera - it feels substantial and well-balanced, unlike some slimline cameraphones, which feel like they’re about to tumble out of your hands.
Slip back the lens cover in standby and you’re presented with a digital camera style user-interface that matches up the external camera cosmetics.
The tidy icon interface brings up some handy controls at the touch of the navigation pad - this becomes a four-way switch for the macro mode, flash control, timer and on-screen graphics mode. Other control icons are lined up on the top of the screen, accessed by pressing a soft-menu key and scrolling with the nav-pad.
can the MP3 player handle more than 20 tracks? the e900 couldn't and that was pretty recent. Also, have they started supporting phones after sale yet? firmware update anyone? warranty voided, you lose!!
The camera is crap
Just sent one of these back today, as the camera is useless in the situations you are most likely to use a camera phone, i.e. indoors with poor lighting with the camera settings on auto (the flash just does not help either) - and it had a tendency to switch off auto at will.
OK to be fair if you've never used a Sony Ericsson K750, K800, etc you might like the Samsung G800 camera, but in comparison they beat it easily.
If this had been a Sony I'd have waited for a firmware upgrade, but I could see little evidence on the Samsung support site that such updates were common. So back it's gone - remarkable how all the media reviews of this phone are singing it's praises, enough to make one wonder uncharitable thoughts.
Thank goodness, a proper (non video) review
Some sample pics would have been nice though (to see how good the optical zoom is). I wouldn't mind seeing a video of the phone in operation (but in addition, not instead of) - just to see how responsive it is.
"Unusually for a cameraphone, the G800 has an anti-shake image stabilisation option" - I have this on my K800i which is an obsolete phone
"Then there’s the timer and macro mode to choose from, plus a red-eye reduction option in the flash menu. That’s no bad set of options for a phone." - again I have this on my K800i which is an obsolete phone
Still, I don't want to complain too much in case we end up with style over substance and head down the "video only review" route again...