Samsung SCH-i830

GCN Lab Review

Samsung SCH-i830

Pros: Hidden keyboard, powerful

Cons: Bulky, short battery life

Price: $150

Performance: C-

Features: A

Ease of use: A

Comfort: C+

Value: B+

The Samsung SCH-i830 is more PDA than cell phone. So much so that its calling features, which include a cheesy, extended antenna, make you feel like you're talking on a late '80s model cell phone.

The i830 is the largest smart phone in the roundup, and even though it weighs 2 ounces less than the Treo 700p, it feels twice as heavy. While we didn't find it particularly comfortable, we were surprised by how easy it was to use all of its features.
The i830 offers a four-directional center console button for navigating its outdated Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 operating system. But unlike the Motorola Q, it has a touch screen and stylus to complement the navigation process. It also offers voice dialing and a full-sized SD memory card for standard ungradability. We also like its QWERTY keyboard, which is tucked away within the unit and exposed when you slide back the device's face.
Samsung gave the i830 128MB of flash memory and 64MB of SDRAM, plus the fastest processor in our review, a 520-MHz Intel PXA 272. But don't let the high-voltage processor fool you: Performance is sluggish at best.

It was the slowest smart phone we used when it came to reviewing images, sending and receiving e-mail, or simply changing settings. The battery life was also abysmal, which was why our unit came with an extended battery, as if the i830 weren't bulky enough. At best, we got two hours of talk time and four days of standby, the lowest marks in the review.

We were also puzzled that the i830 didn't have a WiFi radio, even though its predecessor, the i730, did. Instead, the i830 relies on EvDO for Web surfing and CDMA/GSM for international functionality. By and large, its competition hasn't included WiFi communications either, but you'd be surprised how much you miss it when it's gone.

At $150, the Samsung i830 is a good deal for the features it offers. But when you consider its performance and less-than-sleek design, the price starts to make sense.

We'd recommend spending a little more and getting a more cutting-edge device.

Samsung Electronics America, Ridgefield Park, N.J., (800) 726-7864, www.samsung.com

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