At a Glance
This dual-network phone sports an unappealing design and an even more unfriendly price tag.
Don't be tricked into thinking that the "IP" in the Samsung IP-830w's name means the inclusion of VoIP features. The "I" actually stands for international: The IP-830w is one of the few dual-network CDMA/GSM phones on the market from a major carrier and, as far as I can tell, the only PDA phone that offers access to both types of networks. That means you'll be able to make calls from more places without switching handsets.
Alas, while the IP-830w may be a stellar choice for anyone who wants to carry one device in the United States and abroad, it has major shortcomings that make it a poor selection for almost everyone else.
The phone's most noteworthy flaw is its difficult design. Measuring 2.2 by 1.1 by 5.2 inches (width by depth by height), it's bulky. The unit is a vertical slider model (another rarity for this category); when the slider is closed, you see only the 2.8-inch 240-by-320-pixel screen and some basic navigation controls. Opening the slider reveals a full QWERTY keyboard reminiscent of the one on the Motorola Q, with its inwardly slanted design. Unfortunately, when the screen is open the phone feels uncomfortably top heavy. It's not wide enough grip comfortably, and a small ridge creates an awkward border on each side, making certain key presses tricky.
As a phone, the IP-830w is again far from perfect. The built-in speaker sounds muffled, and the handset's hefty weight of 6.8 ounces (which increases to 7.4 ounces with the extended battery) makes long calls tiring. You'll want the extended battery, though: In our lab tests the phone eked out a mere 4 hours, 38 minutes of talk time even with the battery in service.
The Windows Mobile 5.1-based handset packs the Mobile Office suite for viewing and editing files. It also comes with Audible (an audiobook player) and GoodLink (for syncing to enterprise systems) software, and it can even work as a remote control for your audio/video system. That's about it. Though the device has no camera, it does have a standard photo viewer and video player. The phone includes high-speed EvDO support, too, which makes Web browsing and e-mail fetching fairly painless.
Perhaps the IP-830w's biggest drawback is its steep price: $600 with a two-year contract from Sprint. That's significantly more cash for significantly less phone than the nearest competitor.