This is Phone Arena’s video review of the Helio Mysto also known as the Samsung A523. The Mysto is a mid-range slider phone that is targeted to the consumer that is looking for slim and attractive device while staying on a reasonable budget. The phone is constructed out of a blue sapphire plastic but unfortunately has an overall cheap and flimsy feel to it which is most noticeable when removing the battery cover.
Located on the front is a large 2.2-inch QVGA display with a color depth of 262,000 colors. Most of the time we have no problem using the display but it can be difficult to see while on direct sunlight even though there were five brightness settings available to the user. Directly below it are four touch-sensitive control buttons which are for the left and right soft key, send and clear key. All of them provided haptic feedback when pressed.
The only problem that we had was with a clear key as it is shaped like a sideways “U” and doesn’t provide enough metal contact with your finger causing it to be less sensitive than the others. In the middle is a standard D-pad which is used for application and menu navigation. Located on the left side is the volume rocker and charging port and on the right side is the combination end and power button and dedicated camera button but you have to slide the phone open to use the 2-megapixel camera.
Removing the battery allows you to gain access to the hidden MicroSD card slot. Sliding the Mysto open and close is quite easy and you can feel it click into. The numeric keypad has an imitation stainless steel facing on it with white backlighting from underneath. This provides for good while on low light conditions. Unfortunately the task of dialing numbers and text messaging can be difficult at times due to the overall cramp design of the keypad and the poor tactile feedback that is given when pressing the keys. We also noticed the occasionally when we would press the 7 or the 9 key that in fact we press the star or pound key by mistake causing us to go back and correct the error. This is not a major problem when doing basic dialing but it makes almost unusable for heavy text messaging. For those users the Helio Ocean would be easier to use since it has full QWERTY keypad.
The main menu is lay out in a circular fashion with easy access to contacts, games, applications, messages, calendar, video and music, customize, web browser and camera. Even though the main menu is colorful and graphical there are no additional themes included on the Mysto. Instead you're given full customization control of the home screen for overall and different types of calendar formats, and appointments, inserting your own banner, different clock formats, font styles and colors and different dialing styles.
However, if you're looking for more customization you can download it additional themes and layouts directly from the Helio Store for a fee. Even though the Mysto is a not a Smartphone it comes with an included HTML web browser which is quite easy to use.
When the home page is loaded it displays several quick links for sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Go into the surf link. It will bring up the secondary page with even more preloaded links to choose from. You can also go to any other webpage by typing it into the address bar. Most websites were loaded under 30 seconds since you are using 3G EV-DO access. By default the web browser divides large HTML sites into smaller pages for easy navigation but you can choose to view them in their need of format.
However, in doing so you’ll have a large amount of vertical and horizontal scroll. The 2-megapixel camera included on the Mysto isn’t the best that we’ve seen on the phone and is intended to take quick pictures while on the go and not vacation photos. You can choose from different options for the resolution, quality, white balance, lighting and different effects and frame styles. Images taken outside looked under exposed with poor color representation and problems with the auto white balance.
Inside images looked worst with colors not being reproduced properly and a lot of grain being shown. Lowlight images are nearly impossible to come out right despite using the flash with the tendency to being overexposed and out of focus.
The music player is capable of playing MP3 and ACC audio files that are stored to the phone or from a MicroSD memory card. They can display it on according to play lists, artists, albums, songs and genres. Once a song is playing you can press the left soft key to apply different sound effects or different visual effects. Music is played through the earpiece speaker which greatly limits its volume and overall quality. Fortunately, the Mysto comes with a set of wired stereo ear buds that will provide you better music quality or you can choose to use your own Bluetooth stereo headset.
Overall we’re quite please with the Helio Mysto despite its plastic build quality not being as good we would have liked. It uses Sprint, voice and data network so both the call quality and reception were quite good and we did not experience any distortion or background noise. We recommended Mysto for anyone that is looking for slim and stylish lighter phone with good performance while remaining on a budget.
Please visit PhoneArena.com for our full review of the Helio Mysto including pictures in 360 degree viewing angles.