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Samsung i300 (SGH-i300)

 Samsung SGH-i300 Discontinued
12th March 2005

The Samsung SGH-i300 is a Windows-based Smartphone with an integrated 3Gb hard disk drive and a large 240x320 pixel display.

Competing against the like of the Sony Ericsson W800i, the SGH-i300 is being pushed primarily as a music player, and the comparison is interesting, even though the handsets have taken very different approaches.

According to Samsung, the i300 can store up to 1000 tracks , but that must be using pretty low-quality compression. By our reckoning though, you could probably get about 40 CDs worth of material on, which is still pretty impressive. The 3Gb hard disk on the SGH-i300 is six times larger than the standard 512Mb memory stick on the W800, but then the W800 can be expanded up to 2Gb if you are prepared to pay for what will probably be a pretty pricey add-on. Cleverly, the SGH-i300 also supports expandable memory using TransFlash, although quite how easy it is to move files from TransFlash to the hard disk is not known.

The display on the SGH-i300 is a 240x320 pixel TFT panel in 262,000 colours (better than the W800), with a 1.3 megapixel digital camera on the back (not so good as the W800). The Samsung i300 can play back a variety of audio and video clips including MP3, AAC, AAC+, Windows Media, and Ogg.. in fact, the i300 is the first smartphone we've seen that advertises built-in support for this open standard. The SGH-i300 can also download music tracks over the air, making it an attractive proposition for networks who want to drive revenue in this way.

 Samsung SGH-i300 photo One crucial strong point with the SGH-i300 is software: running the Windows Mobile OS means that you can easily install and upgrade software on the device, and in fact use it as much more that a music player. The 3Gb hard disk should provide plenty of space for applications. The W800 doesn't have this facility.

Other features on the SGH-i300 include Bluetooth and USB connectivity, stereo speakers and all the usual functions you'd expect such as a WAP browser and email client. It's a tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 phone with GPRS but no EDGE or 3G support, which is a shame.

So, in hardware terms the SGH-i300 is probably somewhat better than the Sony Ericsson device, but there's more to a phone than just the outside. Even though the i300 features an iPod style scroll wheel it does look fairly dull. In contrast to this, the W800 looks absolutely fabulous. And at 113x48x20mm and 130 grams, the i300 is much larger and heavier than the W800, about the same size as a 3G phone.

The battery life on the Samsung i300 is not specified, and this must be a worry. It's most likely that the hard disk will drain a lot of power from the device, although we don't know at present what the battery life is. Also, mobile devices like this don't usually have mechanical components such as a hard disk, so we don't know what reliability will be like, although you can bet that some die-hard phone junkies will probably enjoy opening up their SGH-i300's and seeing if they can squeeze a bigger disk in when they become available.

This is a great handset, but frankly it lacks the pizazz of the Sony Ericsson W800. The SGH-i300 is slated for release some time during 2005, but the exact launch date is not known.

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Samsung i300 (SGH-i300) at a glance

Available:

2005

Network:

GSM 900/1800/1900

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

240x320 pixels, 262,000 colours

Camera:

1.3 megapixels

Size:

Large candy bar
113x48x20mm / 130 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

Yes

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Limited

Battery life:

Not specified

OS:

Microsoft Windows Mobile

 

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