CNET Editors' Rating
Overall rating: 8.0
Average User Rating stars 49 user reviews
Samsung is touting its SGH-D900 as its flagship GSM phone for fall 2006, even giving the device a sexy name--the Black Carbon. The company claims the SGH-D900 is the world's slimmest slider phone, but we're sure another phone will emerge to silence this claim soon enough. In the meantime, the Black Carbon is certainly skinny, yet manages to pack in a ton of features. While the Samsung SGH-D900 is not available with a U.S. carrier, you can purchase an unlocked version for $385 to $410.
The good: The Samsung SGH-D900 is a slim, lightweight phone that feels great in the hand. It has a gorgeous display, and features a 3.0-megapixel camera, a music player, a MicroSD card slot, a speakerphone, and quad-band EDGE support.
The bad: The Samsung SGH-D900 has a flat keypad that makes menu navigation and dialing tricky.
The bottom line: If you can afford it, the Samsung SGH-D900 is a sleekly designed slider phone with a stellar feature set, including a great camera.
The Black Carbon certainly lives up to its name. The D900 looks like a slab of sculpted charcoal, with a wide surface and very slim profile. Measuring 4.07x2.01x0.51 inches and weighing 3.28 ounces, it is lightweight and can easily slip into a pocket or a purse. The phone's sides and back come in a nice matte finish, that provides good grip while making calls. The left spine is home to the volume rocker and the MicroSD card slot, while a dedicated camera button and a headset jack sit on the right spine. The camera lens, as well as a self-portrait mirror and LED flash light, appear on the back of the phone when the phone is slid open.
The SGH-D900 has a wide surface.
To open the phone, push the surface of the phone upward. It feels most natural to do this with your thumb, but even then, we found it awkward as the front of the phone is slippery. A small plastic ledge underneath the display does make this a little easier. Yet as the navigation keypad is located underneath the ledge, we often accidentally pressed keys when we opened the phone. You can also adjust slider settings to answer calls when opened, for example, or hang up when closed.
The D900's display is absolutely stunning. At 2.2-inches on the diagonal, the 262,000-color screen displays rich and vibrant colors and easy-to-read text, even under bright daylight. As with other Samsung phones, the menu interface is colorful and animated, and we especially liked that you could view the submenu of each menu option when scrolling down the lists. You can adjust the screen's brightness, as well as its backlight timer. The dialing text can be configured with different backgrounds, font styles, font colors, and animation styles. Text messaging fonts can also be adjusted.
The navigation keypad is located underneath the display, while sliding the phone cover upward reveals the alphanumeric keypad. The navigation controls include: two soft keys; a four-way toggle that doubles as four user-defined shortcuts; a middle OK button that also serves as a shortcut to the Web browser; the Talk and End keys; and a Cancel key. The flat navigation keys felt slippery, while the alphanumeric keypad was similarly flat and flush to the phone's surface. We found the number keys well spaced apart, but they were still a little too flat to be comfortable.
The SGH-D900 has a flat keypad.
Even though slim is in, the real attraction of the D900 is its multimedia feature set. Yet the D900 is also chock-full of basic features, such as a 1,000-entry phone book that can hold five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and a note per entry. For caller ID, you can assign a group IP, one of 25 polyphonic ring tones, and a picture. The SGH-D900 supports MP3 ring tones as well, which you can download from your carrier or upload from an existing MP3 collection. Other basic features include: text and multimedia messaging; e-mail; a speakerphone; a vibrate mode; Bluetooth; voice recording; a wireless Web browser; an alarm clock; a calendar; a memo pad; a world clock; a calculator; a currency and unit converter; a timer; and a stopwatch. There's also a TV-out feature that lets you view the photos and videos on your phone on a television screen, as long as you have a connecting cable. The SGH-D900 is a quad-band world phone with EDGE support.