The Samsung E900 is a stylish slider phone that has an impressive feature set and a cool heat- and touch-sensitive touchpad. While Samsung is renowned for making slider phones, this handset deviates from the classic design and includes a seamless front section.
The new design and the use of a touchpad make the E900 superficially similar to the LG Chocolate KG800. Given that the Chocolate phone came out first, there were some raised eyebrows when we opened the box. The resemblance to the Chocolate phone is undeniable, but the E900 has the upper hand on features, offering a speakerphone, a 2-megapixel camera and a slot for a microSD memory card.Design
The front section of the E900 is completely black aside from the silver details around the ear speaker, navigation key and Samsung logo. There's a 240x320-pixel screen that looks seamless when it's switched off and displays 262,000 colours when it's activated. The touchpad also lights up when it is activated, and glows white.
An interesting feature of the touchpad is seen when you start the phone up -- the touchpad only displays two soft keys at the top that let you access the menu and contacts, and the send and end call keys at the bottom. When you switch the MP3 player on however, a further three buttons are illuminated and you see a play/ pause key and a forward and back key for searching through tracks.
The only key on the front that isn't a touch sensitive one is the navigation key. While this might seem like an ugly detail on an otherwise seamless front, the addition of a mechanical navigation key is an extremely welcome design feature -- using heat- and touch-sensitive keys can be very fiddly and unresponsive at times, while using a mechanical key provides tactile feedback and is easier to use.
Unfortunately, as with most Samsung phones, the button in the middle of the navigation key that is usually associated with an OK or select button, accesses the WAP browser from the main page. This becomes annoying if you forget and assume it will take you to the menu from the main page, but it does work as an OK button once you've accessed the menu via the top left soft key.
On the left of the phone is a dedicated volume button that, aside from letting you adjust the volume during calls and on the MP3 player, can also be set so that it can reject or silence calls. On the right of the phone is the power button and dedicated MP3 and camera button.
Further down on the right-hand side is the charging port that doubles up as a headphone port. The E900 does come with a handsfree headset that lets you receive calls and listen to music. Unlike the LG Chocolate's extremely functional headset, this headset doesn't have any dedicated music controls and isn't as eye catching.
The back of the phone is minimalist apart from some embossed Samsung logos and a matte section at the bottom that houses the loudspeaker, a feature not available on the Chocolate phone. On the bottom of the phone is an expandable microSD slot that is accessible from the outside, which is better than having to take the cover and battery off in order to put a card in.
Once you slide the phone open you reveal the alpha-numeric keypad that features large keys but does suffer from the common slider phone problems of lacking space at the top and being unbalanced and awkward to use at the bottom. On the back of the open phone is the 2-megapixel camera that is hidden behind the slide when it's shut. It has a flash and relatively large portrait mirror that you can see easily yourself in. The slide mechanism itself is spring mounted, but the phone does feel slightly hollow and clucky compared to other slider phones.