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Review: Samsung SGH-P858 3.0 Megapixel Camera Phone


Review by Samuel Chan on Friday June 30, 2006.

samsung sgh-p858 · cell phone reviews · samsung news · cell phone news · samuel chan

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Introduction

The Samsung P858 (also known as the P850 and P857) was announced back in January 2005 when the hype of the E700 was still in the air. A 3.2 megapixel camera sounded like a dream, the specifications were amazing, and the plastic model looked so great inside the glass display case. By the time the P858 finally managed to get to the streets, it was not as groundbreaking, but it is still worth looking at, as it is the first 3 megapixel Samsung phone.

Physical Aspects

The P858 might not be the best-looking phone around - the overall concept follows the old E700 recipe. It has a bulkier than average body, measuring 96mm x 48mm x 26.5mm (3.78" x 1.89" x 1.04"). Considering its specifications, I would not complain about its weight though, coming in at 125g (4.41oz).

The thick black band that vertically wraps around the body is made of plastic that feels like artificial leather. The rim is just the usual silvery grey smooth plastic material as found on many other models, giving a less than professional impression. Thanks to the leathery finishing, the body is very scratch resistant, and the grip is extremely firm. If you look closely, you will notice that the keypad is wider than the screen, and together with the extra swivel hinge, it has made the build less solid than it could have been. Speaking of the hinge, it feels a bit too strong when flipped open, but the swivel mechanism is seamless.

The keypad is slightly concave towards the middle, and this has made anchoring the heavy screen easier. The keys themselves are well spaced and well backlit. The tactile feeling is excellent. My only complaint would be the clear button under the d-pad, which is excessively small.

The usual power and data connectors can be found on the bottom of the phone. The volume keys, camera, and menu shortcut keys are on the right, with the microSD (Transflash) slot and handsfree jacks on the left. The pair of speaker grille holes and two merged OLED screens are on the outside of the flip. The camera module, together with the LED flash and mirror, protrude at the back, making the handset 4mm thicker at the top than on the rest of the phone. Although the lens sinks inwards around a silver rim, I doubt this kind of protection would prevent scratches. I have to mention that there is also a flimsy lens cap that comes in the box, which does aid in protecting the lens, but makes the handset look cheap.

Multimedia

Situated as a high-end handset, the Samsung P858 performs well in the multimedia aspect. The main display is a very bright 262k color QVGA resolution TFT LCD. Color is very vibrant but visibility under the sun is only average. The sub display consists of two OLEDs, the one on top is blue monochromic and the one below is a 96x96 pixel 65K color panel. As you would expect, color is very unnatural from these screens. The blue screen is always on and provides information such as time, battery, and reception status, which is handy.

The 80MB internal memory can be expanded with microSD (Transflash) cards, with the phone officially supporting up to 512MB cards. The phone itself is not really designed to be an MP3 player, as there are no multimedia keys on the outside of the flip, and therefore no way to move between tracks when the phone is closed. The MP3 program is pretty much the same as the one found on the Samsung Z308 we reviewed earlier, with MP3, MIDI, AAC, AAC+, and WMA files all supported. You still get to choose between the four preset equalizers (Classic, Jazz, Rock, Normal), and visual effects can be changed too. As apposed to Samsung's 3G line, the P858 does not support any kind of multitasking, and as such we found it slightly disappointing that music cannot be played in the background. In addition, the audio quality over the earphones is only average.

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About the author

Samuel Chan
Sam Chan is MobileBurn's roving reporter and reviewer in Hong Kong, where he has access to all sorts of toys the rest of us just can't have.

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