The phone itself is slightly reminiscent of 2005, when, thanks to the PEBL, curved, oval-ised phones were all the rage. Put that aside, though, and you’re left with some very 2009 audio features, thanks in part to Bang & Olufson, who provide the speakers. If you’ve ever lamented the fact that your phone is not a set of DJ decks, this is clearly the phone for you.
What we like
The Beat DJ has one string to its bow, and that string looks a bit like Tim Westwood. Yes, there are easy to navigate menus, a pleasingly responsive touchscreen and some rather attractive hot purple trim, but this is all about the music.
Finding tracks and albums unsullied by your own creativity is easy, as you can swipe your finger across a scroll of album art. Once you’ve picked a track to listen to, you’ll want to try out the DJ button at the top of the screen. This takes you into a whole world of scratching, mixing, and generally adding effects the original producer didn’t feel were necessary.
Within five minutes, I had the basics of scratching down, had added a Flanger Effect and had speeded up the interminably plodding tempo of The Smiths. The user interface makes the process easy to pick up, as it’s all done on the touchscreen, with the track appearing as record in the middle of the screen, ready for you to pull and push about to create the desired effect.
What we don’t like
As previously said, this phone is very much a one trick pony. In the excitement of the DJing, Samsung seems to have forgotten that there might be other elements of the phone that are worth investing some time in. An example is photos – enter this and the screen automatically switches so you have to turn it on its side (there’s no accelerometer), and yet the pre-loaded photos still appear very long and thin down the center of the screen. The camera button itself took half a dozen presses to activate, and at 3.2 megapixels, it’s not the kind of quality to shout about.
Other complaints would be that there’s only the option of T9 typing when you’re sending a message, rather than QWERTY, and you’ll quickly find your looking for the setting that stops makes Every. Single. Press. Of. A. Key. emit a different tinkly sound. Seriously. Samsung. Stop it.
It does tout a 3.5mm jack, as any self-respecting music phone should, although in terms of audio quality, there’s been better out there – a serious issue, bearing in mind that Bang & Olufson has stamped their name on the phone.
It’s difficult to see anyone sustaining interest in this phone for more than a couple of days – the DJ element is fun, but ultimately, would be too restrictive for anyone with a serious interest in music. And as for the rest of the phone, the features are halfhearted and need work – you’d be better of buying yourself some proper turntables and a decent phone.