Samsung SGH-D900

The F117 Nighthawk – the US stealth bomber that made a name for itself during the first Gulf war – is a stunning testament to modern design. Looking like it was less crafted with computer aided design software and more like it was hewn from a block of granite, it's nothing short of iconic.

It's an instance where function has overwhelmingly influenced form. Yet the results are spectacular, whether you think it as ugly as sin or beautiful in its purity of purpose.

One thing's certain though: in the air it handles like a breezeblock with wings. The angled surfaces and corners mean that, as an aerodynamic exercise, it's inherently unstable. The pilot, in fact, has no direct control over the flight surfaces; all inputs into the joystick in the cockpit are translated by computer into minute adjustments to the flaps and ailerons. No human pilot could ever hope to fly the F117 otherwise.

It's easy to draw parallels between the look of that military aircraft and the design of Samsung's D900 handset. The same matt finish, black and grey colours and angled detailing are all evident in this sliding handset.

In an increasingly curvy, jellybean world, the straight edges of the D900 are refreshing and they're not the only things. The three-megapixel camera that boasts an auto-focus feature is a welcome step up from the now-standard two-megapixel models, and the screen, as ever with Samsung handsets, is crisp, detailed and vibrant.

The animated wallpaper – a photo of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament taken from across the Thames – puts this screen to good use. While it's not a feature you're likely to base a purchasing decision on, watching day turn to night on your phone while it's happening outside, for real, is a neat touch.

Equally liable to excite the easily impressionable is the slide action and the keypad that it reveals. Taking a leaf out of Motorola's book, the keypad is flush, the numbers differentiated from the surround by the fact that they've received a matt finish as opposed to a glossy one.

As you can probably imagine, this smooth keypad is, to put it politely, unsuited to gaming. The thumbpad is little better, with a low profile and sunken action button at its centre.

It's now that the biggest comparison with the stealth bomber that the D900 so closely resembles raises its head, and it's not a good one.

The D900 is, to put it plainly, an absolute handful when playing mobile games. Obviously it's a handset that's been designed for the corporate world first and recreational world second, but it's astonishing just how ill-suited it is.

We have to think as far back as the original Motorola RAZR to when we were last this disappointed with a mobile phone handset when it came to gaming. And the controls are far from being the only problem.

The sound is atrocious; for a handset in this day and age to offer such poor audio fidelity is surprising to say the least. Tunes are crackly and endowed with as much body as a hungry castaway, and even the limited sound found in most mobile games suffers accordingly.

The visuals, though, are even worse. Despite the brilliant photographic performance and still-image lustre that the screen provides, it falls over spectacularly when asked to render a game.

You can forget about the latest 3D titles, it's all the D900 can do to keep up with most 2D games. Sonic The Hedgehog outruns it easily, with jerky motion, missing backdrop visuals that the D900 can't handle, and all the speed and smoothness of a Fiat Panda.

So while the D900, like its airborne cousin two or three times removed, shares the family nose, it also shares the same singularity of purpose. The F117 is an adept and efficient precision bomber; the D900 a smart and sophisticated office tool. But drop either into a dogfight – whether of the real or gaming kind – and each will be blown out of the sky in short order.

Samsung SGH-D900

Good to have next to you in the office – but nowhere else