Samsung SGH-G800 Review

Introduction and Design

As we’ve said in many of our reviews, nowadays the multimedia functionality in the phones has a great role. It is of such importance, that most people first ask about the camera resolution and then check if the phone will be compatible with their network.

In their non-stop efforts to create a converged phone/camera devices, the manufacturers have reached a level when they have almost every phone equipped with some type of a picture snapping feature and more than one of the high-class models have a high resolution camera. Samsung G800 is exactly such a device: the top-end of Samsug's line surpassing its smaller brother G600 with a dedicated camera look, optical zoom lens, Xenon flash, new interface and more features. The SGH-G800 is the GSM phone that will try to beat Nokia, Sony Ericsson and LG in the 5-megapixel cameraphone competition.


The G800 is definitely not among the smallest phones on the market: even closed it is a solid device almost as big a stand-alone pocket camera and it highly resembles one by its look. With its serious weight it is almost as heavy too, which combined with the chromed frame makes it feel as a nice high-end phone instead of a plastic toy. For this also helps that the lens-cover and a detail on the battery cover are made of brushed aluminum.

The Samsung G800 is also available in all-black variant. It replaces the brushed aluminum pattern with one resembling leather.

ModelDimension (Inches)Dimension (mm)Weight (oz)Weight (Gramms)
Samsung G800
3.97" x 2.00" x 0.74"101 x 51 x 18.84.90139
Samsung G600
3.97" x 1.85" x 0.58"101 x 47.8 x 14.92.9985
LG Viewty
4.07" x 2.14" x 0.58"103.5 x 54.4 x 14.83.95112
Sony Ericsson K850
4.01" x 1.88" x 0.66"102 x 48 x 174.16118
Nokia N95
3.89" x 2.08" x 0.82"99 x 53 x 214.23120

You can compare the Samsung G800 with many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

Positioning the G800 not only as high-tech cameraphone but also as high-end device, Samsung has made it with untypical for the brand design. Instead of curved forms everything is rectangular with just slightly rounded corners and as the colors used are the classical shining metallic silver and black, the G800 looks very classy.

If you’re acquainted with the Samsung’s line of mobile phones, you’d surely have noticed that it is one of the main players in the “which is the thinnest phone” game, after Motorola started it with the RAZR. The G800 is not one of these devices, positioned under the “Camera” branding instead of the “Style”, which is used for the slim models, the phone doesn’t care for some additional volume in which to pack its hardware.

The 2.4” QVGA display of the phone is located on the front black panel . We are surprised that is has 262k colors instead of the more trendy, 16 million but is it a problem? Well, it won’t be if the quality is good. Unfortunately, it's not what we would like to see in the high-end model of the manufacturer. Samsung is known for its high-quality displays, and putting one with an average quality here isn't a smart decision. It has a rather yellow tint but the greater problem is that it is hard to see in daylight. Added that the front surface is often covered with fingerprints, this problem increases.

Although the spring-assisted sliding is not as smooth as it was with the pre-production unit we’ve used and still there is no “jut” for your finger, the open/close actions doesn’t require any effort. By doing this, the numeric keyboard is revealed, glowing in white. It has the same brushed pattern as the back side and is flat, with rubber lines between the separate buttons. Although pressing and tactile feedback are excellent for a flat keyboard, it’s hard to distinguish one button from the other by touching, because the separators almost do not protrude from the surface which comes as a surprise to us – there was no such problem with the pre-production unit for our preview and its keyboard was excellent.

Moving upwards to the other slider we first note the send/end and clear keys on the chrome-surface. Although flat, they are convenient to use and having in mind that most people will use the opening/closing of the slider to answer/reject, it is not of great matter. Like the numeric keys, both are illuminated in white (instead of, respectively green and red) in order to give a classical monochrome look of the phone.

We cannot miss the fact that the rest of the hardware keys are not illuminated at all. Not being a problem during the day, this creates a notch of inconvenience at night. In such situation you will have to “Find” the buttons by touch and while the soft keys are very easy to feel, it is not so with the directions of the D-pad. Still, considering there isn’t a whole yard between the illuminated display and the keys, one won’t really get lost when “searching” the buttons but it is still not convenient. Nowadays, in 2007, we see how the manufacturers illuminate even the side keys (Nokia) and leaving the navigational ones dark is a compromise and a drawback for the device.

All other keys are on the right side, dedicated to the functions of the camera. These are the volume/zoom rocker and the circular shutter key, with a red dot in the middle. The latter is designed to attract attention, once again reminding that this is a cameraphone. The rocker that acts as zoom in/out is in the middle which we first thought was strange, but then realized that it is done in order to press it with the right hand without obstructing the camera lens on the left.

On the opposite side are the universal Samsung connector and the microSD memory slot. They are both protected with covers matching the design of the sides. While there is nothing on the bottom, the top houses the openings for the stereo speakers.

While the lens-cover at the back is closed, there are only the labels for the brand and the camera. Slide it opened and below are the Xenon flash and the 3-times zoom-lens, which doesn’t retract (the lenses move inside the phone’s body). In the final version of the phone, the color is dark grey, so the text labels about the camera are easily noted. We are happy to see that the lens cover mechanism has been adjusted and now it is very easy to open and close it, no matter if you press the middle or any of the two sides.

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