At just 30mm wide, the Samsung F210 is incredibly dinky. Its compact size is due to the keypad being hidden behind the swivel screen. It also comes in an array of colours, including purple, blue and black.
The main feature of the F210 is its swivel screen, which rotates 180º. The substandard camera is more than made up for by the 1GB of internal memory and the clear music quality.
Thankfully, Samsung has moved away from the two-key pad of the X830, adding an extra column of keys. However, our main gripe is that the media player is automatically switched on every time the swivel screen is closed.
The media content is stored neatly in the My Files folder and there is a mirror on the back to help when taking photos, but the F210's headphones are designed to be worn around the neck with the phone dangling. It might be secure enough to avoid dropping to the floor, but will it withstand muggers?
The F210 does boast 1GB of built-in memory, which is surprisingly good for such a tiny phone, but the talktime (200 minutes) and standby time (265 hours) could be better.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:48:04 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The music player produces great sound and, despite its compact size, it can store a large amount of content
Your patience will wear thin with the media player automatically coming on when the swivel screen is closed.
The battle of the music phones continues to rage. Sony Ericsson has its Walkman phone collection, Nokia has its 8GB handsets - the N95 8GB and the N81 8GB (see page 16) - and Apple has a little something called the iPhone (see the full review on page 12). Following on from last month's review of Samsung's rather bulky yet musically talented Serenata, the Korean giant has unveiled a music phone that could slip into your watch pocket, let alone that of your jeans. Behold the Samsung F210, in all its miniscule glory. Measuring a little over 30mm wide, the dinky Samsung F210 comes in an array of colours including purple (exclusive to Phones 4u), black and blue. Its small form is largely thanks to the keypad being hidden behind the swivel screen. Hold the handset with the click-wheel at the top (so the Samsung logo is upside down) and you can rotate the screen to reveal a skinny keypad that somehow manages to fit in three keys across its width. This is significant in itself, as some of you may recognise the F210 as being remarkably similar to a previous Samsung model.The Samsung X830 was the first of the manufacturer's handsets to introduce this swivel-action fascia. As with the F210, the X830's screen swivelled 180° in much the same way as a switchblade. However, where the X830 fell short was that Samsung opted for the novel approach of having the keypad merely two keys wide. Moving away from the traditional keypad is always a risk - the mixed reception of touch-screen devices being a good example - but this proved to be too much of a change, and disappointing sales of the X830 seemed to reflect this. It seems that Samsung has learnt from this and has somehow managed to fit in an extra column of keys, while only adding on the odd millimetre to its width.
Along with the standard numeric keys, the keypad features the call end/power button, cancel key, two soft keys and a designated camera button. The navigation hub of the device is the click-wheel (or, as Samsung refers to it, a jog-disc) that can be used to navigate around the menu or through the media player's playlists. In the middle of this jog-disc is the confirm key, which also acts as a shortcut to the internet. Due to the lack of 3G, the F210's internet experience is sluggish.Supporting various music formats, including MP3, AAC, eACC+ and WMA, the F210 manages to cram 1GB of internal memory into its minute body. If that's not enough memory for you, it also supports a 2GB microSD card, which, as millimetre-to-megabyte ratios go, is pretty good.
The music quality of the F210 is remarkably crisp and clear - the phone houses a Bang & Olufsen Ice power amplifier, which resonates whether played through the phone's loudspeaker, or through the provided headsets. This brings us on to our first real gripe. The sound quality through the provided headphones is actually pretty good, but at Mobile Choice, we recognise the importance of plugging in a good-quality headset. This right is denied by Samsung, as no 3.5mm jack port is provided. There's not even a sniff of a 2.5mm. Instead, we are given a 'multi-function' jack that needs to be unsheathed in order to plug the headphones in (the provided USB cable is also plugged into this socket, hence the multi-functionality). It's a neat option, but offers users no flexibility.The headphones are designed to be worn around your neck with the handset dangling around your chest region. While the headphones are secure enough that you needn't worry about the handset becoming unconnected and falling to the floor (and the phone is in a convenient place to skip tracks or alter volume levels), we can't help but feel that wearing a smart handset like the F210 around your neck will be a magnet to muggers.Our second gripe is the fact that, when closing the swivel screen, the F210's media player automatically switches on. Granted, the media player is the phone's biggest selling point, but it is annoying that you have no choice but to access it when the phone is closed. To avoid accidentally hitting the play button to reveal your naff music taste at an unfortunate moment, we recommend that you flick the hold button to make the jog-disc inactive.
All media content is neatly stored away in the My Files folder, which means you have easy access to all your photos and videos. However, the camera itself is disappointing. While the small, thin screen works fine when operating the media player, it's almost redundant when viewing pics. With no auto-focus and no flash on offer, the David Baileys of the world won't be losing any sleep. To assist in taking portrait photos of yourself, the F210 is fitted with a small mirror on the back of the swivel screen.The F210's games need a mention, as we think they're rather good. Cannonball is effectively an update of the old bat and ball classic, which, once you get through all the various options, is well worth a play. Forgotten Warrior is a platform game where a warrior has to find his princess after she is kidnapped while he was taking a snooze.The Samsung F210 is a snazzy, compact device that punches above its weight (at a mere 72g) when it comes to music. It's remarkably easy to get to grips with, so we'll just about forgive Samsung for the lack of 3G, poor camera and headphone issue.