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Helio Mysto Review

Samsung SPH-A523

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team


Helio Mysto Review

The Mysto comes with a basic 2MP fixed-focus camera with flash, which is located on the back, and the phone must be slid-open for it to be used. Pressing the dedicated camera button on the right side will bring up the camera menu, which will also show options for launching the video recorder and picture album. The actual camera application itself takes 5 seconds to load. Pressing the center d-pad button will capture the image in 2 seconds and saving it will require another 6 seconds. This comes to about an 8-9 second turnaround for taking pictures, which is about average for this type of cell phone. It is unfortunate however that the overall image quality is lacking and is quite poor when compared to most other 2MP camera phone. Images taken outside look dark and underexposed, with poor color representation and auto white balance issues. Inside images fair much worse, with colors not being reproduced properly and a lot of grain being shown. Lowlight images are nearly impossible to come out right, despite of the flash, with the tendency to be over-exposed and out of focus. Because of the poor quality of the camera, we can only recommend it for fun quick shots, and not capturing your family’s vacation photos.

Camera and Camcorder interface - Helio Mysto Review
Camera and Camcorder interface - Helio Mysto Review

Camera and Camcorder interface

Available Camera Options include:
Resolution: 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240
Quality: Super Fine, Fine, Normal
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent
Lighting: Normal, Spotlight
Effects: Color, Grayscale, Sepia, Green, Aqua, Negative
Set Frame: No Frame, Frame 1-20
Save Location: Internal Memory, External Memory
Mode: Still Shot, Series Shot, Divide Shot
Viewing: Full screen, Actual, Guidelines
Self Timer: Off, 2sec, 5sec, 10sec
Flash: Off, On

Videos can be recorded for MMS (short) or normal (long). Choosing the “normal” mode will allow you to record video up to the available memory limit. Options include: resolution (320x240, 176x144), white balance, frame rate (14fps, 7fps), lighting, effects, and save location. It is no surprise that videos also suffer from poor quality, and because of their low resolution, they look even worse when played back on a PC’s larger monitor.

Outdoor samples - Helio Mysto Review
Outdoor samples - Helio Mysto Review
Outdoor samples - Helio Mysto Review
Outdoor samples - Helio Mysto Review

Outdoor samples

Bright, Medium and Low light - Indoor images - Helio Mysto Review
Bright, Medium and Low light - Indoor images - Helio Mysto Review
Bright, Medium and Low light - Indoor images - Helio Mysto Review

Bright, Medium and Low light

Indoor images

Audio & Video Multimedia:

Helio Mysto Review
Helio Mysto Review
Helio Mysto Review
The built in Music Player allows playback of MP3 and AAC audio files that can be stored in the internal memory or on the microSD card, but lacks WMP support. You also have the option of purchasing MP3 files with the Mysto at the online Helio store. When the player is activated, it will categorize music by Recent, Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, and Genres. Once a song begins playback, the screen will show the current track name across the top. Pressing the Left Softkey will allow you to apply sound effects (none, reverb, 3D, and 13 preset equalizer settings), as well as visual effects (6 default skins, spectrum view, default view). We prefer no sound effects, but do enjoy the spectrum view, since it shows a real-time graphical EQ.

Helio Mysto Review
Audio is played through the earpiece speaker, which greatly limits its quality and volume. It is lacking in bass and sounds thin. Luckily, the Mysto comes with a pair of stereo earbuds, which connect to the proprietary jack and provides for better music quality. Another option is to use a Bluetooth Stereo headset, which will provide wireless connectivity while listening to music. Despite which way you choose to listen to your favorite tune, you cannot multitask, such as sending a text message or using the web browser.

Video playback is limited to your own personal MPEG-4/H.264 collection, or by going to the http://m.youtube.com web site. For watching your own videos, the quality will vary and depends on how good the original video was, but for watching Mobile YouTube videos, the quality is always lacking, with low resolution and slow frame rates, due to it being streamed over the EV-DO network. If you are a person that is looking for higher quality video streaming, you might consider Verizon’s MobileTV service, which requires one of their specific phone for use, but you are capable of receiving channels with 30fps and live TV feeds.


Like all other Helio devices, the Mysto supports Java software applications and several game demos are included (My Pet, Brain Challenge, Midnight Pool 3D, 3D Homerun Derby, Slide N’Loop, and Super Boom Boom). There are also 7 included applications (Google Maps, Obopay, Buddy Beacon, Garmin Mobile, H.O.T., MySpace, and Tellme). Additional games and applications can be downloaded for a fee. Google Maps is a free application that will use GPS to pinpoint your location on a map. From there, you can manually move the map around, zoom in and out, or use it for driving directions. The Garmin application is available for a $10/month subscription and is similar to Verizon’s VZNavigator, which will provide you with voice guided directions, as well as displaying them on the screen. Regardless on which one you choose, they are very useful while on vacation, on when traveling in an unfamiliar area.

Helio Mysto Review
My Pet - Helio Mysto Review
Helio Mysto Review
Google Maps - Helio Mysto Review
Helio Mysto Review

My Pet


Google Maps


  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. Darren Dawes (unregistered)

Have been trying to get a refund check for my returned device for 5 months. Four calls to their "service" center in the Philippines resulted in "we will send the check" two times (they didn't) and then they told me that they had to charge it back to my credit card. I gave them a virgin debit card, that has never been used for any other transaction, before or since. 2 weeks later, someone in Russia used it to empty my bank account. Nice. Calling back, no one could connect me with someone in the US. I finally found the number for Helio's corporate offices (310 445 7000--save it, you will need it) and spoke to "internal customer service". This person has assured me that I will have a check in 7 to 10 days (I'll believe it when I see it) and said that he could not do anything about the people in the foreign offices giving out personal info. He also stated that they had no internal security that could assist. Given that these guys will have your social security number too, I would NOT sign up with Helio even if they give you the service for $5 a month. This might be hard to believe, but I think their service is WORSE than what you've read on these pages. I believe that they, or their agents, or both, are actively engaged in fraud. Biggest mistake I've made in recent memory! No matter how poorly your current company is treating you, it's not worth having your identity and savings stolen.

posted on 25 May 2008, 17:54

2. (unregistered)

Wow, surprising how it is not mentioned that this phone is an exact twin of the GSM Samsung U600.

posted on 24 Jul 2008, 12:53

3. Bailey (unregistered)

Yes,but the U600 has 3.2Mp camera.

posted on 16 Oct 2008, 04:34

4. (unregistered)

I had a helio ocean for a good year. its a great phone to have in tell it brake on you.i called helio to see if i can get it fixed.they said no cuz my warrenty has exspired 2 weeks ago. i still one more year on the contract with them. the only way they will fix my phone is if i singed a anouther 2 year contract with them.i think that is some bullshit because there contract last longer then cell phone do. i am telling every to NOT BUY A HELIO PHONE TRUST ME ON THIS. p.s. thats my story

posted on 06 Feb 2009, 10:05

5. Vitamins4022 (unregistered)

I had helio for 2 weeks before I cancelled. It took helio 6 months to refund my money for the phone and service! Over $500 including the cost of the phone and the deposit took 6 months to get returned to my checking account!

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PhoneArena rating:
Display2.2 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (180 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Size4.10 x 1.90 x 0.48 inches
(104 x 48 x 12 mm)
3.35 oz  (95 g)
Battery880 mAh, 3.5 hours talk time

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