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Samsung SGH-F400 music phone

Bang & Olufsen speakers on a handset? Oh yes.

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But good and groovy as all this is, it's a shame that the playing controls don't seem to have been fully thought out. Pressing the music button on the side of the phone gets you into play mode and the last track played, but from there you need to go through several menu options to access your playlists and other music menus not directly related to the track that's playing. Switching between loudspeaker and headphones also takes you away from the track so you'll need to start again at the main menu.

In loudspeaker mode, you lose the numerical shortcuts too, and there's no way to access them without the keypad. Minor niggles, perhaps, but they all detract from what should be a smooth music-playing experience – you just don't get these sort of complaints with a Walkman, for instance.

Samsung SGH-F400

Despite the awesome audio branding, these are still just mobile phone speakers

The headphones are pretty good though, and come with a choice of three interchangeable rubberised gromits to ensure a snug fit in your lugholes. The dynamics seem better than most 'phones, and there's a decent level of bass too. If you need to upgrade, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack plug hidden under a flap on the top of the handset, or there's the option to use the stereo Bluetooth link for a wireless pair.

You'll need the headphones for the FM radio, since they double-up as the aerial, though there is the option to switch on the loudspeaker as well. The radio has RDS to identify stations and offer additional info. Should you find any songs that you like but don't know the name of, there's a web-based track identifier on board, similar to Sony Ericsson's TrackID service.

Lest we get carried away with all this music talk, this is also a 3G handset with 3.6Mb/s HSDPA. There's a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera on the front for video calling, but it's a pity Samsung didn't make more of the browser to take advantage of the fast connection, since it's pretty basic.

There's a pretty decent three megapixel camera on board too. The shutter button on the side gets you into camera mode fairly quickly (less than three seconds), which makes it perfectly viable for quick snaps. It has autofocus and an LED flash, which is better than nothing, but as usual with these things, they're useless at distances of more than a metre or two from your subject.

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Next page: Verdict

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