Samsung D600: King of the Sliders

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Our Verdict reviews include an opinion from the end-user, the person who will have to live with the phone day in and day out.We gave the Samsung to one of our regular consumer testers, a self-employed business consultant.

So this is it: my first go with a genuine prize-winner among mobile phones. I’ve had a D500 for a year, so the basics of a Samsung slider aren’t a mystery; but this one is definitely different, and for most of the tick boxes ‘different’ means ‘better’.

Place the D500 and D600 on a desk and you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart when they’re switched off though the D600 is very slightly larger. Pick them up though, and immediately the D600 feels better: the D500 was shiny and prone to fingerprint smudges all over, the D600 has a slightly rubberised coating on the back and sides. Push open the sliders and you’ll notice how the D600’s spring-loaded mechanism works much more smoothly for one-handed operation. Switch ‘em on, and the big bright 262K-colour display on a 50mm LCD screen wows the audience.

The camera is pretty good, 2mp and you can use it with the phone closed (unlike the D500). That does mean the big-fingered user might have a hard time keeping them away from the lens, but you (or me) can get used to it. There’s no auto-focus so close-ups aren’t great, but portrait and landscape photos were fine. There are loads of functions and effects, and I particularly liked the shooting options: single photo mode automatically saves your pics, or you can opt to preview them before taking more. Multi-shot mode takes six, nine or 15 images at about two per second. Effects that can be applied include a romantic misty-glow fog as well as the more usual stuff like sepia and embossing.

Then there are the major extras, mostly appealing to a business user. Top marks for the AV output: use the cable supplied to plug your D600 into a TV or projector, whereupon the display goes blank and the picture is routed to the TV. So what? Well, it makes for big-screen viewing of your photos and videos. But more important, Samsung includes the Picsel Viewer for Microsoft Office documents. Picsel is a Scottish outfit that has clever software to display Office documents (such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint files) along with PDFs, text, web pages and JPEGs. You can zoom in and out, pan and scroll around, and generally treat your phone like an emergency laptop. And that AV output means for instance that you could deliver a PowerPoint presentation.

A related plus is the memory provided. The D600 comes with 72MB of internal memory, which is ok, and there’s a slot for a memory card: Samsung provides a 64MB card in the box, but you can buy microSD cards up to 512MB in size.

There’s an MP3 player – not particularly loud but crystal clear, and there are a handful of equaliser presets on board. A nice touch: when the battery is running low, some neat power conservation kicks in automatically: the MP3 playing is turned off, for instance.

On top of that the user interface is the best Samsung has done – neat, logical, often with alternative ways to make selections and lots of chances to customise the way things look. Brownie points for the way the volume rocker control on the side can also be used as a page-up/down control for moving through lists and long menus.

Downsides? Not many. The AV output is limited to the resolution of the phone’s display, which is pretty poor on a big screen. The T9 is surprisingly slow when you’re texting. The screen is a magnet for fingerprints, and however hard you try you won’t be able to avoid opening the slider by pushing on the glass. But if you like sliders, this is definitely the one to have – especially if you can use the built-in goodies like the file viewers and the camera.

REPORT CARD
Appearance    9/10
Functionality     9/10
Saleability    10/10
Overall    9/10

Strengths:
Build quality, user interface, excellent display, good camera and MP3,
Picsel file viewers for documents and JPEGs

Weaknesses:
Screen smudges easily,
AV output promises more than it can deliver because of the resolution

Overall:
The best slider currently available

Would I buy one?
Like a shot

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