Helio Fin / Samsung SPH-M513 Review: Thin but Short-Lived

Helio Fin
Take a look at this sweet, svelte little cell. It happens to be the thinnest phone yet from Helio, the extremely Web-friendly cellular carrier, and the company’s best camera phone, too. But with its slim body also comes an annoyingly short battery life.

The Fin is a very good voice phone. Calls sound clear, with no hiss, though the speakerphone is somewhat quiet. For Helio users, however, voice is just where handhelds begin. This cell has the de rigueur MP3/AAC player supporting 4GB memory cards, though there’s no integration with Windows Media Player. (Better PC media software will come soon, Helio says.) With its big 2.3-inch, 320-by-240-pixel screen, you can navigate full Web pages, check multiple e-mail accounts including Yahoo! and Windows Live, or log on to MySpace. The ability to read Microsoft Office attachments in e-mails is a bonus. A 3-megapixel camera takes photos that but look a bit washed out in daylight and have a tendency to blur under low light.

But the Fin’s performance felt sluggish at times, the flat keypad was a bit difficult to use, and battery life was pathetic, providing less than 3 hours of talk time. This brief battery life hurts, especially because this is a phone you’d want to use for extensive gaming and Web browsing. Helio’s Ocean, while larger, is a much better platform for the cellular carrier’s rich set of Web and messaging services.

Helio Fin: $375 direct, $175 with contract

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