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Review Samsung SGH-A800

Soon one more folder type of phone from Samsung will appear on the market. It is aimed to women, engineers tried to reduce the dimensions of the phone and its weight (68g) as much as possible (80x40x22mm). So it's obvious why the phone isn't handy for men. The handset will be produced in silver metallic, it will have 2 displays, both with a blue backlight. The outside display isn't particularly large, it has 64x64 pixels of resolution and can display up to 3 text lines and one line of icons. I think it's not very interesting to speak about the advantages of the outside display, they are the same as in other similar phones. An innovative feature, first in a GSM-phone, is a possibility to adjust contrast of both displays.

If you look at the body attentively, under an outside screen you'll note a curved indicator, analogue of V-Alert Motorola. You can choose one of the 7 available colours (white, yellow, light blue, green, lilac (violet), orange and dark blue) and associate a call indicator light with phone numbers from your phone book, that is very convenient in the darkness.

There are volume keys on the left side, hole for additional external antenna blocked with a rubber plug and hole for headset connector on the upper side and a standard interface socket on the bottom of the phone.

When you open the phone you can note that the construction is really well-done. There is a dynamic hole above the screen, it has rather big size. Why? In contrast to other phones of this kind from Samsung, two dynamics - the dynamic of the phone and the dynamic, used for call signals, combine in one. It is the price for the phone dimensions. So, when the phone rings, it is closed and a melody plays “inside” the phone, that is why one can hear it not well. Moreover, usually 16-voice polyphonic ring tones are not very loud, hence the sound volume is quiet.

The inside display has 128x128 pixels of resolution, it enables to show up to 7 text lines, three of them are used for service information (2 lines for title and 1 line - explanations to soft keys). The blue backlight is bright, the display retains visibility in different conditions.

If you look at a keypad of the phone you'll immediately compare it with a keypad of T100. The form is identical: upper 4-position navigation key, 2 soft keys one for each side and lower - three keys - “End key”, “Send key” and “Clear key”. This part of the keypad made of plastic, the keys respond well to the commands, no problems while working. Digital keypad made of rubber, keys are big and they are comfortably to type. So ergonomics of the keypad is average, not low.

It's not easy to find a microphone in the phone. It is hidden behind a rubber include that plays the role of buffer between the screen and the keypad. There is a small hole in the right include. This innovation you can't find in other models.

Some words about autonomy. The phone has a lithium polymer battery of 800 mAH. According to the manufacturer it offers up to 170 hours in the standby mode and up to 3.5 hours in the talk mode. In reality the figures are smaller, the phone worked about 2.5 days in case of 20 minutes of talking (Megaphon network) and using (up to 1 hour) of different applications (alarm-clock, organizer, games). The time of full recharging is slightly more than 1 hour (1.5 hour according to the user's manual).


Elaborations of interface, first appeared in N-serial phones, are used here too. In the standby mode one can see 4 icons in correspondence to 4 positions of the navigation key, something like a quick menu. Naturally you can define the icon to any direction, the structure is convenient. The information about the battery power (3 items), signal level (6 items) displays on the screen. There you can also see icons of the applications work (vibro-alert, alarm-clock, message and others).

Press the left soft key and you are in menu. It is similar to one in T100: the title of the current submenu above and the list of items beneath. All submenus can be accessed by scrolling, to confirm the choice you should press a soft key. The menu items can be also accessed by using shortcut numbers. The peculiarity of the menu is a shaded list of items by entering the menu. To make it visible you should wait half a second or scroll the list, it's not always comfortable. Let's see the main functions of the phone.

Phone book. To access a phone book in the standby mode one should press the right soft key. You'll see a list of items, the first one is a “Search by name”. The phone displays both SIM card memory and the memory of the phone at the same time. When you add a new contact to the phone book you can save up to 5 numbers (mobile, home, office, fax and the other), e-mail address and a web homepage for each entry. Besides you can arrange the names into several desired caller groups (up to 5 and the category “no group”). You can name the groups yourself. Groups are useful only in case of a mass list of SMS messages. Don't forget that you can set the phone to sound a specific ringing tone, display a preselected graphic (one of the 7 pictures), flash a special call indicator light when you receive a call from a phone number kept in your phone book. An interface of each contact is not common but aesthetic. Several bookmarks, the possibility to move between them pressing scroll keys, you are used to such structure very quickly. The only drawback is that you can't view all the numbers intended for one name at once.

There are two lists in the menu of the phone book: one for speed dialling (up to 8 numbers) and one for voice dialling. You can add up to 20 voice tags in your phone memory. To add a new voice tag you should repeat the words you want to record three times, only after that the record will be saved. This feature doesn't work always properly, there are problems in noisy places where the phone can't recognise the voice tag.

You can store up to 2000 entries in the phone memory.

Messages. Everything is common, apart of all the phone supports the EMS standard. The engineers elaborated a set of small pictures (22 pieces) and animation (24 pictures). You can also add a melody to the message. The phone supports a predictive text input for English. The A-800 enables to keep up to 20 messages in the internal memory, the SIM card memory is also available.

Call log. Nothing interesting. There are 3 lists of received and missed calls and dialled numbers. Each list can store up to 10 last numbers, you can call by them, view date and time. In the counters it's not possible to view the total duration of all calls, only the approximate duration of incoming and outgoing calls.

Voice functions. Entering this submenu allows you to use a 10-minute Dictaphone that works only in the standby mode. Also you can add here voice tags to the menu items (up to 20).

Sound. Here you can choose a ring tone (18 predefined polyphonic melodies, 3 ring tones, 7 animal voices). Very original tones,that have names “Lion” and “Cow”, are seemed to be some kind of repeating of “Cuckoo” tone from Panasonic. You can the type of incoming alert: ringing, vibrating or the mixed one (vibrating alert and then the sound). You can choose one of the ten tones for SMS messages. Here you can also turn on/off an audible timer and set a special tone that is heard during the connection with a subscriber.

Phone settings. Nothing to say about. This submenu allows you to set a quick menu in the standby mode.

Organizer. It helps you to keep in mind different events. You can note meetings, birthdays, reminders and calls. While viewing the calendar, the amount of all events types displays for every chosen day. All dates that have notes are indicated by frame. The interface is comfortable - you can view the description of event, all settings connected with it or look over the whole list of events.

Clock. This submenu is used for setting the local time. You can set the world time also that is very convenient for travels.

Alarm-clock. In this submenu the phone can be set to alarm at a specific time. Here are two alarm-clocks, each can be set for any day of the week. The phone can be an automatically switched off if this function is set on.

Calculator. It's not handy, though not simple.

Currency converter. It allows to convert currency values.

A countdown timer has a format HH:MM, it works properly.

A stop-watch has intermediate results, but they can't be saved

Entertainment. There is WAP-browser (version 1.2.1) here, though this submenu is not a proper place for it. It works good. The submenu “Multimedia” is very interesting, it enables to set your one pictures that will be displayed in case of switching on/off the phone (one animation by default). There are also 3 pre-installed games (Fortress 4, Spacewar 2, Airshooting 2) connected with shooting here. The polyphonic tone is used in all games what makes them more attractive.


The phone is comparable in quality to other phones of this manufacturer, the same connection quality, the same volume of the dynamic. The SGH-A800 is positioned as a phone for women, it's really so because of the dimensions. Weak points are the low sound volume and the average vibrating alert. This model has almost all functions like most phones of the latest generation, some of them realized very well - the dictaphone for 10 minutes and a wide phone book that could contain up to 2000 numbers.

The phone is a small copy of a popular model - T100 by the design. This factor might play a huge role while selling. SGH-A800 is expected to appear in the end of September or in the beginning of October in the shops. The price will be about 300$. During one or two months it might be reduced to 250$.


Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 02 September 2002


Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com


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