Samsung SGH-D830 review

Meet the world's slimmest clamshell

The Samsung D380 is a slim 9.9mm

TechRadar Verdict

It's a bit of a bumpy ride for the D830; there are many good points, but also a few dips in form


  • +

    2-megapixel camera

    TV output

    Small but well-specified


  • -

    Battery life

    Call quality

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Samsung has certainly upped the ante with its three-pronged bid to have the smallest, thinnest mobile phones on the market. The company's trio of Ultra Edition handsets all feature eye-catching designs, but the most notable mark on the specification sheet is that devoted to the measurements.

The SGH-D830 sits right in the middle of the range, with its smallest dimension, depth, an amazing 9.9mm. It's beaten by its colleague, the SGH-X820, which manages to still be a mobile phone and 2-megapixel camera with video recording mode while measuring just 6.9mm thick!

The SGH-D830 isn't just about the dimensions though, it's a handset that's well specified, and certainly versatile enough to appeal to a wide group of potential users - not just those driven by the size. The D830 has one set of specifications, but is available in five different shades. Aside from its slimness, the handset has many other intriguing design flourishes. Finished in magnesium, the D830 is a wonderfully tactile mobile. It's lightweight but doesn't feel insubstantial.

The clamshell hinge seems durable, and the general feel is similar to Motorola's all-conquering RAZR. However, though it's a clamshell the D830 can't be flipped open with as much ease as some of its competitors. We had to prise the phone open with two hands to catch a call or to access the menu.

The exterior of the D830 is all minimalist pleasure; there seems to be so little going on. Look closely, though, and you'll find an OLED display (96x16), which provides time, date, battery capacity and signal strength information.

Above the OLED screen you'll find the lens for the D830's 2-megapixel camera. It's a fixed lens, so there's no rotating when you open up the clamshell. Keen observers will also spot that there's no flash unit because the handset doesn't feature one. It does, however, feature plenty of camera and camcorder functions.

Two responsive volume keys sit on the left side of the handset, while just a bit further along from them you'll discover the headphone jack. Samsung has provided a set of in-ear headphones as part of the sales package.

The handset has an 80MB internal memory, which can be expanded using microSD memory cards. You'll find the slot for the removable media on the right side of the handset, though there's no card supplied. Once you've flipped out the D830, it's far more overt that there's plenty going on. The bright and vibrant 2.3-inch TFT colour screen displays a vast array of information, and does it well. You won't feel lost navigating around the handset's features - which considering how many are on offer can only be a good thing.

Unlike with the D900, Samsung has chosen a touch control keypad for the D830. This means there are no raised keys, and that might fox a few users in the early days of having the phone. We had difficulty with text messaging at the start of our test. In time, though, the keypad proved to be responsive, and we actually preferred its wide spacing by the conclusion of the test.

Added extras

Among its many features, this tri-band model offers the aforementioned 2-megapixel camera and a decent multi-format music player. The camera provides users with a maximum resolution of 1,600x1,200 on their still images (there are an additional six lower resolution settings) and access to features such as a 4x digital zoom, special effects, frames and exposure controls. There's even a straightforward image editor for making tweaks and changes to your stills.

You'll need to invest in a large capacity microSD card if you want to record a decent amount of video, and likewise you'll benefit from this investment if you intend to use the D830's music player functions. The handset will play back tracks recorded in a variety of MP3-like formats, including WMA, and it's possible to create playlists from your tracks. Among our favourite features, though, is the phone's TV output, which means you can connect it up to your home set and watch your video clips or still images on a much wider canvas.

It's a bit of a bumpy ride for the D830; there are many good points, but also a few dips in form. The call quality we found to be excellent. Callers sounded clear and crisp, with no undue signs of sibilance. However, for those on the receiving end our calls were not such a treat, with the audio clarity often muted, and too many bass notes.

Talk time is quoted at around three hours, with standby time up to 190 hours. We found the talk time figure to be shy of the mark, and it's perhaps the case that the diversity of the D830 can be its own worst enemy, making demands on an incredibly slimmed down battery, in order to achieve that magical 9.9mm thickness.

In the long run, though, we'd have to say there are more plaudits for the D830 than negatives. Ultimately, it's a solid mobile, with a practical music player element, and the 2-megapixel camera is definitely more than a feature afterthought, with its range of settings and modes.

Most definitely stylish, certainly sophisticated and with just enough features pizzazz to catch the more demanding user, the D830 should see some good press given to models on the slim side for a change! was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.