Although many cell phones have music players, not all music phones have done a good job of integrating the phone and music controls into one device. Dedicated music controls, like those on the LG Muzig LX570, are always a plus, but a great music phone should also offer a way to quickly scroll through a long list of songs. Apart from the iPhone and a few other models, not many phones have accomplished this feat. But Samsung deserves some recognition for its recent SGH-i450. With an attractive two-way design and easy-to-use controls, the SGH-i450 offers much more than you might expect. The SGH-i450 includes a large selection of multimedia features, satisfying call quality and crisp music performance, all for a solid device, although we weren’t impressed with the 2-megapixel camera. The SGH-i450 GSM is not offered by a US carrier, but you can get an unlocked version for around $ 400.
Compared to most of Samsung’s US models, the SGH-i450 breaks through the company’s slim, silver design. Yes, it’s a slider phone, but it’s a little heavy (3.98 inches by 2.05 inches by 0.71 inches; 3.69 ounces) and sports an eye-catching blue and white color scheme. It’s certainly a nice change and befits the phone’s multimedia capabilities. As we said earlier, it has a dual-slider design similar to the Nokia N95. If you slide the front face up, you will expose the number pad. If you slide it down, you will see the music touch control.
The keyboard is flush but the individual buttons are rather large and separated by subtle tactile pads. Overall it’s a comfortable fit, even if the frets are a bit smooth. We had no selection errors and the bright backlight helped in low-light situations, but the touch selection took some acclimatization. Quick testers may want to try the SGH-i450 first. The sliding mechanism is sturdy without being too stiff and the phone is comfortable to hold.
The SGH-i450 has intelligible touch control for the music player.
Touch control for the music player is unlike anything we’ve seen before on a mobile phone. When you slide the front face down, you will see a blue arc just under 180 degrees. By sliding your finger up and down along the arc you can scroll through the music player menu options, which are arranged along another arc that appears on the display. It is an attractive design as the two arches together form a complete circle. The display isn’t a touch screen, so you can’t swipe your finger like you would a scroll wheel, but you can quickly move between various menu options and a long list of songs. Also, we like that you can hold at each end of the arc to keep moving through the playlist without lifting your finger.
Although the tactile arc is covered by a series of tactile ridges, it takes a few seconds to learn how to use it. When using your fingertip you need to press quite firmly; in fact, be prepared to press harder than you think is necessary. This movement is especially important to master when you only want to skip one track in the track list. On the other hand, using the fingernail seemed to work every time. Even with these caveats, it’s still an ergonomic control that should satisfy most users.
The SGH-i450 has a bright and vibrant display that supports 262,000 colors and measures 2.4 inches (240×320 pixels). It shows everything well, from text to graphics to photos, and offers an intuitive menu interface based on Symbian (Series 60). You can adjust the brightness, backlight time and font size. We also liked that when you open the phone to expose the music control, the display automatically assumes a landscape orientation. But it would be even better if it automatically reverted to portrait orientation after closing the phone.
The SGH-i450 almost looks like a camera from behind.
The SGH-i450’s navigation array consists of a larger switch with a center OK button, two soft keys, a dedicated menu button, a Clear key, and the Talk and End controls. While the array is spacious enough, all the controls are flat with the surface of the phone. We made no mistakes but would prefer something a little more tactile. On top of the SGH-i450 you’ll find a power control, speaker, and covered headphone jack. Thankfully, Samsung has opted for a 3.5mm jack. On the left spine are a volume control and a microSD card slot, while the camera shutter and charger port are located on the right spine. The latter doubles as a headphone jack for Samsung’s proprietary connection. The remaining features on the outside of the phone are the camera lens and a flash on the back.
The SGH-i450 phone book has room for 1,000 contacts with space in each entry for up to 18 phone numbers; a company name, job title and department name; three e-mail addresses; names of the assistant, child and spouse; a birthday and an anniversary; three web addresses; three street addresses; and notes. You can save callers in groups and match them with a photo and one of 15 polyphonic ringtones (a bit of a small selection for a music phone). Basic functions include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messages, a calculator, a clock, a calendar, a notepad, a unit and currency converter, an alarm clock, and a to-do list.
Other options include a voice recorder, USB mass storage, Quickoffice and Adobe document viewers, email, a file manager, PC sync, stereo Bluetooth, and speakerphone. The SGH-i450 also supports assisted GPS, a technology that locates your location by connecting to cell towers or other cell phones nearby. It is a kind of standard GPS enhancer, especially useful when a connection to a GPS satellite is not available.
The SGH-i450 offers an absolutely decent music player. As mentioned above, it offers tactile controls and an easy to use interface. Features included an equalizer, repeat and shuffle modes, and playlists. The album cover is not available but you can choose between two color themes and three views. There is an airplane mode to listen to your tunes in flight and you can send the music player in the background when you use other phone functions.