This switchblade sister is the successor to Samsung’s clutch bag-loving X830, a music phone that sported a lipstick-style design and threw up more than a few ergonomic niggles. Thankfully, the F210 corrects nearly all of the X830’s foibles, improves on the design and features, and all without sacrificing its petite frame.
Samsung has softening the edges and added a mirrored fascia to spice up the X830’s rigid design. The F210 still goes against your ergonomic instincts when it comes to the 180-degree swivel mechanism. Annoyingly, you still have to hold the phone upside down to nudge the phone open. It stumps you every time.
Lethargic jog wheel
The jog wheel is still central to navigation but, unlike the iPod’s seamless touch interface, it spins like a merry-go-round. It’s lucid enough but is prone to lag if you whirl it too fast. Luckily, it doubles as a mechanised five-way navigation pad for those who prefer those comforting clicks.
Samsung’s two-line keypad on the X830 was obviously a design experiment too far. Thankfully, it’s reverted to a standard three line arrangement that’s more in line with our texting mojo and all without adding to its girth. The buttons are surprisingly sizeable and nicely rounded for speed texting.
With such a pint-sized torso, the 1.5-inch screen is understandably pokey. Although it appears pretty sharp, it isn’t really geared for web browsing or reading long reams of text. It also means it’s forever scrolling song names and menu headings.
Memory almost full
The biggest enhancement is the added microSD card slot that can handle up to 2GB cards, backing up the 1GB already on board. Its storage capabilities may fall short compared to its fatter rivals but you can still squirrel away around 750 tracks, which is easily enough to sate the music-snacker’s appetite.
One criticism of the X830 was its restrictive music player access. Keep the F210 closed and the music player is always on standby with the jog wheel and five-way joypad the primary music controller to alter settings and create playlists.
An excessive 16-mode equaliser (Wah Wah or Flange, anyone?) can adapt to different sounds but you’ll be surprised how strong it sounds via the supplied earphones. The handset is light enough not to weigh you down if you decide the wear it via the lanyard but it’s tantamount to wearing a ‘Mug Me’ baseball cap. If this doesn’t impress, a 3.5mm headphone adapter is on hand to plug in your quality cans.
The F210 is probably too fashion and storage slight to become your main music player but it’s perfect for those who hotfoot around town set to shuffle.