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Samsung MM-A800 Surprises (And Disappoints)

Introduction

Sprint's PCS Vision Multimedia Phone (MM-A800) by Samsung claims to be the first two- megapixel camera phone in the U.S. The generous two-inch diagonal screen is always visible on the outside of the slider-style chassis, where it also serves as viewfinder for the auto-focus camera. What's less fun than taking pictures with the roomy TFT display is discovering that the one- or two-megapixel mode you chose with the slider closed switches to 800 x 600 if you slide the camera open to take more.

The Samsung handset weighs 5.25 ounces. Sprint claims it weighs 4.26 ounces - okay, maybe the spec is accurate if you don't need all the parts required to talk with it, like the battery. The MM-A800 is bulky - well over 1" thick x 1.75"W x 3.75"L - before the slider top opens the phone to 5.25" long to reveal the keypad inside. On the plus side, the charger weighs just an additional two ounces and takes up only one outlet if the plug-ins are stacked vertically, and it includes indentations for easy grasping.

Something that is too easy to grasp is the "side camera button" (shutter release), which functions the same as the camera's soft key command to take a picture. The button is soft enough to press very easily, and is in the natural spot to grasp the case for leverage to open the slider, or to open the lens cover high on the other side of the phone. If you hold the button even briefly, a message appears to press OK to start the camera.