Previewing the Samsung D720

Published by at

The Samsung D720 was officially announced at 3GSM in Cannes. It is the third Series 60 phone from Samsung. Rafe took the opportunity to take a quick look and here are his first impressions.

D720 oneSamsung have announced more Series 60 phones than anyone except Nokia... unfortunately thus far none of them have made it to the market. The Samsung D720 is their third Series 60 phone. It has been shown off at a couple of consumer shows, and 3GSM saw the official launch. Like the D710 it is a slider phone, and the design has been tweaked so that the phone is now slightly smaller and more streamlined. For those who liked the 7650 slider design this phone might be a natural successor.

Samsung (and some analysts) seem confident that they will get the D720 will make it to the market, while others are more sceptical and I'm sure many users will want to see it in the shops first. The previous models represent a considerable investment in Series 60 and Samsung have developed considerable experience in developing Series 60 phones. Indeed they have indicated the continuing development of a range of Series 60 phones. The D720 should be available in Q2 or Q3 2005 which gives them plenty of time to finalise a release phone.

The new design has an attractive black and silver finish. The slide design means there is room for reasonable sized buttons when the unit is closed - only the number, # and * keys are on the slide so the phone can be comfortably used in the "closed" mode for most operations. The four way navigation key is a nicely responsive joystick, which once again gives the D720 a hint of the 7650. Personally I don't find this as comfortable as the flat-key design in heavy use, but many people will find the joystick style easier to use. Additionally on the front side there is the standard Series 60 application key and a dedicated camera key to both access the camera application and take photos. The pick up and hang up keys are located at the bottom of the device which is good because they're out the way (and less likely to be pressed by accident when navigating the user interface), but bad because when pressing them it might be easy to slip and drop the phone. The keys on the slide are flat, but despite this the tactile feedback is quite good, and are similar to the Motorola RAZR phone. There are some further keys on the side of the phone for volume control, power on/off and what appears to be a voice memo. On one of the demo models the MMC card slot was accessible from the side of the phone.

d720 2In the hand the phone feels quite small, and its rounded ends means it fits comfortably in either the hand or the pocket. At the 99 x 47 x 22 mm, around 100 cc (estimate) and 110 grams the specifications reflect this. The phone does feel a bit fat and slightly on the heavy side, but that is reflective of the slide design.

The phone is reasonable well specified and includes Bluetooth (the first of the Samsung Series 60 phones to do so), Infrared and USB support for connecting and synchronization with a PC. The phone supports MMC cards and has 64 MB shared memory (some of this will be used for phone OS), which is an increase on previous Samsung models, and a welcome change. The screen is also improved with 262,000 colours up from 65,000 on the D710.

The camera is one 1.3 megapixels (1280 x 960) and mounted on the back of the phone, it also supports video capture. There is also a flash for illuminating subjects at short range in low light conditions. As with other camera phone flash features it is not comparable to a standard camera flash, but it will help in low light conditions.

The software is based around Series 60 platform 2.0 together with some Samsung specific modifications. The phone supports MMC and AAC music and stereo through a headset and although I was unable to confirm it one specification sheet had stereo speakers listed as a feature.

Given how much of the phone navigation and even calling of contacts can be done using just the soft keys and the navigation keys Series 60 phones are naturally suited to slider phones and Samsung have done a good job of creating an attractive phone. Using Series 60 means Samsung answer the criticism that their phone's software can be difficult to use. All Samsung need to do now is to get the phone to the market!