Samsung G800 - first look

We're especially excited by the new Samsung G800, because it's the world's first phone to feature a camera with 3x optical zoom. It boasts five megapixels of resolution as well, of course - and a Xenon flash - but it's the 3x optical zoom that sets it apart.

We got to grips with one at Samsung's glitzy G800 launch event held at the British Museum in London last night, and we have to say it's impressive.

It's a little larger than the Samsung G600, and a fair bit thicker, but that's because it has to accommodate the optical zoom, which, when activated, protrudes telescopically from the rear of the handset. As you're operating the zoom, a digital symbol in the corner of the viewfinder displays when you have reached 2x zoom and 3x zoom. Once past 3x zoom, the handset's camera automatically switches to digital zoom. When the camera is not in use, the lens is protected by a  sliding cover.

The camera also features face recognition technology for framing portraits. The camera recognises when you have one or more people in shot and a series of little red boxes appear on screen to help frame each face. We're not sure how it works, but it's very clever.

We took a few photos in the British Museum, which was relatively dimly lit and we found that the Xenon flash does provide depth of field when it worked. However, the flash was a little temperamental on the device we tested. But that could be as much down to the handler as the handset.

The Samsung G800 offers loads more besides the camera, including HSDPA speed web browsing and downloads and a music player. But it's the camera with 3x optivcal zoom which will attract people to this phone.

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Mobile Choice

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