We couldn't wait to test out the G800's camera and its start up is fast. Flick open the cover at the back and the camera is ready to go without too much lag. The thing about the G800 is that it looks like a camera, has a bunch of features you'd associate with a camera and happily, it's not that bad at taking pictures. Compared with the Nokia N95, LG Viewty and Sony Ericsson K850i, it's pretty good. We would have liked to have seen a brighter xenon flash, as it's just not as great as we expected it to be in low light.
Picture quality varied depending on the light levels. In good light, pictures were crisp and in low light, the xenon flash only worked well at close range, making things appear blue and blurry if they were too far away. The 3x optical zoom seemed to work better outdoors in daylight rather than in our office, which isn't very well lit but can't be described as dark. It's not exactly the same experience as using a Panasonic Lumix DMZ-TZ3 with 10x optical zoom but there's a marginal amount more clarity relative to using digital zoom.
What did thoroughly impress us is the onboard video editing suite that lets you hack together video clips and pictures, and then overlay the music of your choice. It's basic in PC terms but a great feature for a mobile phone, particularly because it means you can create your own music videos, for example, without needing to download the content first to your computer.
The music player worked as expected with the option to arrange tracks into playlists, genres, albums and artists. It's not the iPhone but it does support a variety of formats and the loudspeaker is loud. Unfortunately, you have to use the uninspiring proprietary headphones to listen to music or a pair of stereo Bluetooth ones. Either way, it's shame there's no built-in 3.5mm headphone jack.
Our greatest niggle with the G800 is the Web browser. While it benefits from HSDPA (3.5G), it doesn't render pages very well and is a real let down compared to other high-end smart phone browsers such as the iPhone's and Nokia N95's. It's probably more useful to use the G800 as a modem for a laptop rather than using it to browse the Internet on its own.
We had high hopes for the Samsung G800 and it lived up to them in many ways. It's an attractive, solid phone that's easy to use and packs a good camera relative to the competition. But in certain areas we expected more -- the xenon flash, for instance, which is more like a very bright LED photo light than the extremely bright xenon flash on the Sony Ericsson K850i.
The G800 is also on the chunky side and if you don't have large pockets then you may find it a little challenging to drag it around. We found it slightly too big to put in a tight pair of jeans but it should fit in your jacket pocket just fine. Given Samsung's thin phone pedigree, we expected something a little slimmer.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday