If you thought the 10mm-thick Samsung P300 was slim, think again. The X820 is a mind-boggling 6.9mm thick and weighs a mere 66g. This phone is so slim that we thought Samsung had maybe sent us a demo model by mistake. It's the same thickness as an iPod nano and yet it still manages to perform as well as any other handset on the market. Indeed, it has a feature set that outdoes phones two or three times its size and is a credit to Samsung's technical expertise.
While it feels thin in your pocket, the X820 doesn't feel tiny against your ear, due to the long and wide form factor. It measures 50mm wide and 113mm tall, which means you don't have to grip it with a pair of tweezers. Considering it only weighs 66g, holding it is an absolute pleasure.
The front section of the X820 features a bright colour screen that displays 262k colours and measures 38mm wide and 30mm tall. Underneath the screen is a four-way navigation rocker with an Internet key in the middle that doubles up as an OK key once you're in the menu. Either side of the navigation key are two soft keys that access the menu and contacts list, and underneath those are the send and end call keys. In between the call keys is a cancel button.
The keys on the alphanumeric keypad are well spaced and easy to press. Fortunately, unlike the P300, Samsung's last ultra-thin phone to hit the UK, this keypad has a standard layout and all the keys are in the normal place.
On the right side of the X820 you'll find a dedicated shutter button that operates the 2-megapixel camera on the back. Considering how thin this phone is, it's impressive that it has a camera at all, let alone a 2-megapixel one, and the picture quality is equivalent to the camera on the Samsung D600.
There's 80MB of internal memory so that you can store your photos on the phone once you've taken them. You can also use the storage space to store a few MP3s and listen to them on the X820's MP3 player. If you want to transfer a photo or MP3 to another phone or computer you can use a Bluetooth or USB connection.
Other features include tri-band and EDGE connectivity (so you can use the phone almost everywhere in Europe and some parts of the US), a speakerphone for hands-free calls, a voice recorder for memos, a Web browser for browsing the Internet on the go, a document viewer which lets you view certain PC documents and TV output so that you can connect it to a TV and view your photos on a larger screen. You also get java games, polyphonic ring tones, a calendar, an alarm clock, memo, a world clock, a timer and a currency converter.
The X820's thin design is slightly ruined by the bump on the back where the camera is. While this is a purely aesthetic issue, we would have preferred if the phone was completely flat even if the camera had to be sacrificed. More serious problems that stem from the thin design are the battery and lack of expandable memory.
Due to the X820's size, the battery had to be made smaller. The outcome is a shorter battery life and the quoted talk time is 2.5 hours, which is significantly less than the Samsung D600, which supports 7 hours talk time. A possible solution to this problem would be adding a secondary battery similar to the one found in the P300's case.
Another question arising from such a thin design is where to put the expandable memory slot. The answer: there isn't one on the X820. This means that if you want to store more than 80MB of data, you can't.
Finally, a design issue that also falls into the features category is the Internet key in the middle of the navigation rocker. Rather than it accessing the menu from the main screen it accesses the Web browser by default, which gets annoying if you don't want it.
The Samsung X820 is a fantastically thin phone that doesn't skimp on too many features. This is hopefully a sign of things to come and is definitely worthy of the title ultra-thin. Its only problem is that due to its size some cuts had to be made -- the battery life is shorter than some other Samsung phones and there's no memory expansion slot. Aside from those niggles this is perfect if you're pushed for pocket space and need a thin phone that will slip easily in the same pocket as your MP3 player.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide