Samsung’s music phones have often proved too crazy for our taste. Remember the F300 with its schizoid dual face arrangement? We’re being kind when we say it was an ergonomic faux pas. Or perhaps its collaboration with Bang & Olufsen on the Serenata? Its audio performance ranks up there with the best but, again, the outlandish design severely hampered usability.
Undeterred, the Korean outfit has once again teamed up with B&O on its newest music blower, the F400. But this time it’s tempered the whimsical design and mined a more straightforward muso with a few tricks up its sleeve.
Dual slider action
Of course, the F400 could never have a completely conventional design and, sure enough, Samsung has managed to sneak in a design curveball in the shape of a dual sliding action, a la the Nokia N95.
Slide the action down and a whacking great speaker pops up just like the Serenata. And this is where B&O’s expertise come in with the airshifter powered by the audio specialists’ ICEpower technology.
Like the Serenata, dual speakers pump out a voluminous sound that’s a world away from the tinny built-in affairs normally found on mobiles. There’s a little whiff of distortion at maximum volume (bass heavy tracks get it shuddering) but if you like everyone to hear your music tastes then it will certainly get you noticed. Or slapped with an ASBO.
Samsung generously accommodates two headphone connections: a 3.5mm socket on top to plug your quality cans straight in and a proprietary side port that encompasses a handsfree remote adapter so you can take incoming calls.
Naturally, the fully featured built-in music player sounds better with your favourite cans and, thanks to Samsung’s DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine) and Smart Bass, the F400 sounds dynamic and deep.
Despite being quite portly, the F400 isn’t endowed with a large hunk of internal storage so investment in microSD cards up to 8GB is needed to hoard a mass of tunes.
To help trawl through your song library Samsung has kept faith with the spinning wheel last seen on the F210 and i300. But while it’s greased for fast grazing, outside of the music player we preferred using its five-way mechanised joypad action.
Luckily, the F400 isn’t just about the music – it’s kitted out with a capable three-megapixel snapper complete with autofocus and LED flash, nippy 3.6Mbps-flavoured HSDPA download speeds and built-in FM radio.
The F400 shows Samsung might just be getting the hang of this music phone lark after all. Measly on-board storage aside, it has all the audio mods expected of a mid-range music phone. If a built-in music player is top priority on your mobile then this dual slider is definitely worth a listen.