Samsung SPH-M520 Review - PhoneArena

Samsung SPH-M520 Review

This is a CDMA phone offered from Sprint.

The Samsung m520 is Sprint’s first conventional slider since 2005, and the first in their PowerVision family of phones. This mid-range device features a 1.3 megapixel camera, microSD expansion, stereo Bluetooth and EVDO data all wrapped up in a slim package. As a PowerVision phone the M520 offers support for SprintTV, Radio and Navigation.

Included in the box you will find:

  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Charger
  • 64MB microSD card
  • 2.5mm headset adapter


The M520 is a slim, sleek slider in the vein of the D900 and T739 (Katalyst) In reality the phone bows gently out in the middle and is shaped like a set of parenthesis that is slightly more open at the top, but its angular lines- especially with the slide open- gives it the appearance of a V. Its clean lines, minimalist design and chrome trim add an elegant touch.

The M520 is two-tone silver; the sliding top piece is mostly shiny chrome whereas the rest of the body is painted flat silver. The entire phone is constructed of plastic, which is how it manages to weigh in at an ultra-light 2.75oz. We felt this was a bit too light actually, and would not have minded if the chromed material were actually metal, thus giving the phone a more solid feel.

The build quality is excellent though, and despite its light weight the slider has a very reassuring spring to it. The slide offers initial resistance in both directions, but once it is sure you want to move it the spring almost does the work for you. We obviously were not able to do a long-term test, but we saw no reason to think that the 10,000th slide will not be just as smooth as the first.

Chromed plastic rings the outer edge of the face, frames the 2.1” 176x220 TFT display and acts as the outer ring of the directional pad and its inner Menu/OK key. The display is 262k colors, and while we prefer a QVGA screen it is plenty crisp and can be seen easily in all lighting conditions. At the top is a small hole that serves as both the earpiece and speaker. The d-pad is large enough to prevent accidental presses, and there are three keys on each side of it. To the left (from top to bottom) is a soft key, Speakerphone and Talk key, on the right is another soft key, Back and End. These six keys are the same matte silver color as the rest of the body. The Menu/OK button has a unique backlit ring around it. By default it is yellow, but can be orange, red or green depending on the application or process. One slight issue we noticed is that, when closed, the keypad backlight does not activate even when the phone is unlocked and the buttons are being used.

Sliding the phone open reveals a very simple 12 key dial pad. The keys are silver and set on a gray background, which actually appears as a slightly darker shade of silver. Each key is individually raised and offers a reassuring yet soft click when pressed. We usually feel the keypads on sliders are cramped, often resulting in mis-presses, but the keys on the M520 are plenty large and well spaced, making typing easy.

The rest of the phone is fairly minimal. The left side features a volume rocker and the proprietary charging/audio port, the right has the camera key and microSD slot. The back of the phone is nearly bare. The battery door slides off (though not without some effort) and simply features an embossed Samsung logo. Near the bottom is a same-color cutout that is stuck on and serves to hide screws; the average user would have no reason to take this off. The camera is on the back of the slide, but is only visible when slid up. It has a self-shot mirror, but no flash.

Overall we are very pleased with the M520 design. The build quality is exceptional, the slide is solid and the design compact. It fits nicely in both the hand and pocket, the keypad is easy to use and the display crisp and clear. The only issue we ran into is that we found ourselves using the d-pad to slide the phone open, which would in turn launch a program since we were actually pressing the button. This is a minor gripe as it’s plenty easy to just place your thumb on the display to slide it up, though you will be wiping off fingerprints more often.

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