Samsung SGH-G800 ReviewSamsung SGH-G800 7.5
Camera options and settings
Samsung advertises the G800 as high-end cameraphone not only because of its hardware, but also because of its enhanced camera interface with lots of options. The easiest way to start it is by opening the lens cover and then the landscape viewfinder will occupy the whole 2.4 inch display in three seconds. By default the interface is almost empty and on the right are the icons for the two soft keys and the four directions of the D-pad. The latter acts as shortcuts to often used options: Viewfinder, Flash, Selftimer and Macro modes options.
The left (bottom) soft key is a shortcut to the gallery and the right (top) one opens the options. In a long horizontal list there are lots of fields including Scenes, Resolution, White Balance, Effects and other. We aren’t impressed by the interface’s look: its icons are small and as they are monochrome, it will be hard to get the idea of each. We think that the interface of Sony Ericsson K850 looks way more advanced, with better icons and even color images.
The last field here is a link to the Settings menu where in addition to the standard options, like quality (compression) for the images, the ISO level (Auto/50/100/200/400), digital anti-shake system (on/off) and digital zoom (on/off), there are a few other settings. The phone supports Wide dynamic range which can be turned on or off. It isn’t anything special and actually increases the brightness in the dark areas of the images, although once the photos are on a computer, better results can be achieved with many programs. In addition there are a few level settings for the Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness of the photos.
The key feature of the G800’s camera is based on its hardware, instead of software, and is something only a few phones can show off with – optical zoom. The Sasmsung's top-end phone can zoom in the image up to three times (3x) before capturing it, which means it will make distant objects appear bigger in the image without losing quality (which happens when digital zoom is used). As most pocket cameras have this optical zoom, it is proved that it is a good thing and each cameraphone should have it. The time to zoom for Wide end (no zoom) to Tele end (3x) and vice verse is only 3.5-4 seconds, which is a good result for a phone and won’t make you wonder if you should wait to zoom or just try to go closer.
After all, it's the camera quality which is the most important. If a phone offers lots of options but produces low-quality images, it won't be worth getting it as a cameraphone. On the other hand, if it produces great images, we may forgive the lack of some more-advanced options. In the case with the G800, we are left with mixed feelings, due to the results from the different tests we’ve put it through.
In a well lit environment, the pictures are with very good quality for a cameraphone (when we compare it with rival models) although they are mediocre for the standard of stand-alone cameras. Next to the competition, the G800 offers well exposed images (most of the time) with realistic colors, with very slight affinity to the yellow. The detail is on par with the best cameraphones and so is the noise level.
It isn’t so when the light decreases. The noise level increases significantly, the colors get artificial and unsaturated, and the detail is exchanged for blurry image, due to the noise reduction system. If you are shooting night scenes (where illuminated objects are captured at long exposure) the results are far from good, with artificial colors and very low detail. But the big disappointment is when you rely on the flash: Samsung touts that it is of Xenon type but its performance is very weak and can be compared to a strong LED. Our comparison clearly shows that it is very weak next to the K850 and N82, which also use flashes of this type.
If you are shooting mainly during the day, the G800 will give you very good results. But because of the inadequate performance in low light, the overall rating is “average”.
Expect our 5-megapixel cameraphone comparison soon!
Samsung has decided to keep the G800 camera-oriented and haven’t done their best with the video-recording capabilities. A direct link to the camcorder is missing in the main menu or the camera standby screen and it is activated by the camera options list. The maximum resolution is QVGA 320x240 which is four times smaller than the VGA offered in phones such as the N95, Viewty and even Samsung’s own G600. Still, it should be enough for Internet usage, if the quality is good and it is OK even indoors with average light. Unfortunately, as with almost any phone, the sound is very poor with strong background noise. An extra is that the optical zoom can be used also during recording.
For sound playback, one can use the built-in speakers, the wired headphones from the box or one using Bluetooth technology. The speakers are situated on the top part of the phone and are not what we expected them to be – the sound is weak and the quality is the average expected from a phone. As the two are situated almost exactly next to each other, there isn’t any help of the “stereo” as such affect cannot be created.
When the wire headphones are plugged in, they would also act as an antenna for the FM radio. It is very similar to the one of the G600 but lacks the option to record the sound to MP3 file. It can automatically scan the whole frequency range and save all stations that are detected. Unfortunately, names cannot be added and you will have to choose by the frequency. The speakerphone can be used to play the music through. Like the music player, the Radio can play at background level while you do something else on the phone and the homescreen will show shortcuts to its functions.
Similar to other Samsung phones, the Video Player doesn’t have its own icon in the main menu and is launched once a video file is chosen in the File manager. When playing a video, most users will turn the Fullscreen mode on, to enjoy it on the whole display, in landscape orientation. A video encoded in MPEG4 H.263 with QVGA resolution (which is logical for such screen) played smoothly without any problem.