Helio Mysto Review

Introduction and Design

The Helio Mysto (Samsung A523) is a mid-range slider phone that sports good looks, as well as numerous features. It joins the Helio line, between the Ocean and Fin, and is for the consumer that is looking for a phone with a slim and stylish design, without the need for a QWERTY keypad, but still wants access to a wide variety of user-friendly applications. The addition of the touch-sensitive keys also sets it apart from most others.

Included in the retail box is the Mysto phone, 880mAh battery with cover, wall charger, stereo earbuds, USB data cable, quick start guide, and user manual on CD.


The Mysto is a slider style phone with a similar design to the Helio Heat and LG Chocolate for Verizon. It is constructed out of blue sapphire plastic throughout, but unfortunately has an overall cheap and flimsy feel to it, which is most noticeable when removing the battery cover. The size of the Mysto is quite pleasing, since it is slimmer than the average phone and weighs two ounces less than the Helio Ocean, which makes it is less noticeable while in your pants pocket. The sliding mechanism works well and has a fluid movement to it, despite being able to hear the plastic parts moving against each other.

You can compare the Helio Mysto to many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

Just like most slider phones, the Mysto only has one display, which is a 2.2” QVGA 240x320 pixel 262K color TFT. It is truly one of the best features of the device, with images having excellent detail, color accuracy, and contrast. Despite having 5 levels of brightness control available to the user, it can still be challenging to view while in direct sunlight.

Located directly below the display are four touch-sensitive buttons and the circular d-pad, which is used for menu navigation. We found the d-pad a little smaller than we would have liked, which can cause problems when going through menus fast. Surrounding the d-pad are the touch-sensitive left and right soft keys, back button, and send button. These are capacitive keys, which are activated by conducting a small amount of electricity through your fingertip, and respond with a haptic vibration feedback. The only problem that we encountered was that the back button is shaped like a sideways “U” and doesn’t provide adequate metal contact with your finger, which in turn makes it less sensitive than the larger send button.

Located on the left side is the volume toggle and charging/data port, on the right is the power/end and camera buttons, while the 2MP camera and flash is on the back.

Sliding the Mysto open reveals the white backlit numeric keypad with a faux stainless facing. Dialing numbers and text messaging can be quite challenging at times, due to the overall cramped design of the keypad, and the poor tactile feedback that is given when pressing the keys. We also discovered that occasionally when we intended to press the 7 or 9 key, that in fact we pressed the * and # key, which caused us to have to delete the mistake and redial. It is unfortunate that the keypad was poorly designed on the Mysto. It is not a major issue for dialing simple numbers, but is almost unusable for heavy text messaging. For those users, the Ocean would be easier to use, thanks to its full QWERTY keypad.

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