If you fancy a Windows Mobile smart phone but are put off by the lack of internal memory on handsets, your day may have dawned. Samsung's SGH-i300 offers all the features you always get with Windows Mobile smart phones, plus a 3GB hard drive -- a first for UK mobiles.
You will pay for having all that memory in two ways: the i300 is a little larger than the average Windows Mobile smart phone, and you'll have to forego the very latest version of the software, as it runs on Windows Mobile 2003 and not the newer Windows Mobile 5.
You don't need to part with a great deal of hard-earned for it, though. The i300 is exclusive to O2 as we write, and it will cost you £49.99 on a range of tariffs starting at £19 a month, although Carphone Warehouse is offering the handset free on some of the more expensive tariffs.
If you've seen other Windows Mobile smart phones the first thing that'll strike you about the Samsung SGH-i300 is that it looks larger than the norm. This partly an optical illusion in that while it is bigger than, say, Orange's SPV C600 in overall size terms, it is not hugely so. The i300 does weigh a fair bit more, but that's unsurprising considering the 3GB hard drive lodged in its depths.
The black and silver hardware design isn't overly appealing, but the number keys are large and thus very easy to find and hit successfully. A significant portion of the front area is given over to softkeys: Call, End, Home, Back and two softmenu keys, and the navigation button, which is ostentatiously silver but also large.
The screen is par for the course for a Windows Mobile smart phone in terms of size, but it's at the top of the tree where resolution is concerned, offering 240x320 pixels and 262k colours. You won't find better in a Windows Mobile smart phone.
The sides of the i300 are peppered with connectors and buttons. On the right is an action button for the built-in camera, one which acts as a shortcut to phone profiles and if held down turns the GSM radio off and on and one that locks the handset's buttons. There is also a slot for a MicroSD card so that you can easily pop even more memory into the device. The slot is labelled TransFlash -- an alternative name for this ultra-small-format flash memory card.
The left edge of the casing offers the proprietary headphone slot, protected by a plastic cover, a volume rocker, a button that starts the Samsung MP3-playing software, which is built in to supplement Windows Media Player 10, and a button that with a short press starts the voice-recording software and with a long press starts the voice-command software. There's an infrared port on the top edge, and the docking and power connector on the bottom edge. The back houses the camera's lens, flash and self-portrait mirror and a pair of speakers.
All these connectors and buttons make for quick access to many of the i300's features, but we found it was quite easy to accidentally press one of the side buttons when going for one on the opposite edge, and that buttons could easily be pressed when the i300 was languishing in a bag or pocket. You'll need to make a habit of using that lock button.