Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review GSM phone Miracle TDG-9920
A customary user of the majority of European countries knows at least 7-8 mobile phone manufacturers and others arouse his suspect. Asian manufacturers are treated this way the most, besides the companies are not widely known they may be associated with low-quality products by the country of origin only. And a manufacturer's announcement that his phone is the smallest, loudest and the best is one of the factors putting a user on his guide. If such an announcement is the one that makes you think the product is of a middling quality, but if the whole package box is abounding with such descriptions in a superlative form the product makes no any wish to have a look at. By the way many phones didn't reach us just because of it. One look at their package was enough to refuse from committing a test. In a TDG-9920's case first we received the specifications and only then the model itself. We are grateful to the manufacturer for the efficient delivery of the test example.
The package box looks like mage following the guide "How one shouldn't make a package box". If such a manual really existed the designers of this box probably would be the authors. First, a note telling the device belongs to a new generation and is the smallest one with a camera is placed on the front side. The folding part tells about some unique functions like:
The first two functions have nothing in touch with batch communication and why the word GPRS appeared here is not clear. Just following some logics it either has to be in the whole three items or in none of them. The fourth announcement is not true, there are many phones equipped with a flash function and it appeared far longer ago than yesterday or a day before. Similar faults are easy to find on a box and that doesn't make the device look better in our eyes. As for me, the manufacturer should reconsider the notes on the box for a European user and take all the superlative degrees away as soon as possible. Having got upset because of the box I expected some dirty tricks from the device itself. Integrated functions announced by the manufacturer frightened the most, what is a Mosquito Repellant for in the phone? They'd better integrate a coffee-machine. Phones are rich in functions today and some of them are too exotic just scaring a user away but not attracting. How do ordinary customers think? They think if something is added to a phone it's charged for extra. And who is ready to pay more for a not very necessary function? The answer is plain - only some individuals. Wishing to attract a customer the manufacturer get just the opposite effect scaring them away (not mosquitoes but people).
A standard componentry is the first positive factor. A cable for synchronization (COM not USB that is not very attracting) and a disk with software may be found in a package besides the phone, the manual and the headset.
The phone is really not large and looks like an accurate bar with round corners. The design resembles the devices by Maxon in some kind that were manufactured in the same form-factor and similar color solutions. But everything is not the same here. Thus a sliding panel protecting the VGA-camera may be seen on a front panel. An external screen is absent because there is too little space for it on this small device. There is a service indicator having 7 different backlighting colors on the external panel. A flash lamp is from the side (works like impact and is a point light source really). Loudspeakers are hidden by the slits on both sides, they provide a volumetrical sound in the phone. That's curious that a NEC chipset is used, usually it's integrated into devices of a higher class.
The manufacturer offers several body colors, they are silvery, pearly red and pearly black. The two last colors go with a glossy surface and a body colors around an external shutter is different in all the cases. As for me, a silvery solution looks customary and two other colors are of interest and make the phone more fashionable in some kind.
The dimensions are 71x39x26 mm and the weight is 95 grams. The size is not big but the thickness is comparatively big. Holding the phone is comfortably even having big hands. The device is noticeable in a pocket of a shirt and it's its thickness that plays any role here but not width or height. In all the rest the device is quite comfortable and carrying it is possible just as you like, no any problems appear. The external shutter is easy to move and open but almost doesn't slide accidentally.
An external antenna is a necessity considering such small dimensions. If it were integrated you'd screen it with your body. There is a headset connector on the left-side surface and it is covered with a shutter. A coupled volume level button and a separate camera button are on the opposite side. An interface connector is traditionally placed on the bottom.
Having opened the device (with one hand) we can see a small internal screen. Its physical dimensions are twice less than of standard ones with the resolution of 128x160 pixels (the diagonal is 1.2" here). The grain is small because of small size and the picture is contrast and clear. The screen is 262K TFT. The picture looks vivid and well. I didn't expect much from such a screen but it is excellent. It displays up to 5 text lines and 4 service ones. Small font-size is a disadvantage and is a consequence of small physical size. The phone will not suite those ones with poor eyesight, they'll have to peer at it. The screen is readable in the sun but its physical dimensions play negative role again, the pictures are seen but not the text.
There is a row of symbols necessary when in a shooting mode to the right of the screen. Turning the device horizontally is enough to correlate the characters with symbols on the screen. The idea is plain and elegant, makes life easier and saves time when shooting.
The keypad is made of plastic, the keys are average in size and comfortable in work. Despite small body size the keypad is very well done. The backlighting is blue, not even and seen well not in all conditions.
A 600 mAh Li-Ion battery is also a back panel of the phone, no backlash.. According to the manufacturer it is capable of providing up to 145 hours of standby time and up to 2.5 hours of talk time. In Moscow the device worked for about 3 days in case of 45 minutes of talks and up to 20 minutes of other functions. Full recharging takes a bit more than 1.5 hours. The manufacturer provides an expanded capacity battery for the model and it increases working time for 25 per cent.
Getting into the main menu is possible by pressing the left soft key, fast number navigation is supported in all the menus. The icons in the main menu are animated and a horizontal bar with various items of the main menu may be seen on the bottom. Submenus are traditionally organized in vertical lists. A navi button is assigned four functions to and it's also responsible for accessing a browser.
Phone book. There is a call list in the directory menu, that is rather logical and resembles organization of the menu in Japanese phones like Sharp. Each of the three lists may contain up to 20 entries with data and time of the call. A joint list containing calls of the three types sorted by date is available from the standby mode.
Search is assigned to the right-soft key in the standby mode. On pressing it you get into the phone book, the search is by the first letter itself. There is a fullfunctional search from the phone book menu. It may be done by the whole name and its part. Also search among the users of one group is possible.
Up to 200 names may be stored in the internal memory and only one number for a name. There is a possibility to divide numbers in the memory into separate groups. A personal call melody is assigned to a group. A possibility to assign a personal melody to a name is hidden in the option called speacail list. The list for speed dialing may contain up to 9 numbers.
The phone book is ascetic in possibilities and reveals a basic level that will suit those who don't need many settings and is used to storing all the data on a SIM-card or in the main memory just according to 1 to 1 ratio.
Messages. Up to 80 messages may be saved in the internal memory. The device supports concatenated messages and EMS. Special pictures, emotion icons that are possible to call by pressing the browser key are preset for creating such EMS messages. Date and time are indicated for the selected message in the standby mode. Predictive text input T9 works with no problems.
My phone. Sound settings - choosing a melody, call type (vibra, sound only and vibra then a melody) are available from here. Not only call volume but sound level for any other event may be adjusted in the settings.
Wallpapers - four preset pictures that demonstrate screen possibilities well. Personal animated headbands are available for outgoing call.
Digital or analog clock may be displayed on the screen in the standby mode. A calendar and wallpapers may change cyclically.
Have Fun ! A game is hidden here. It is Jigsaw Puzzle where you have to make the whole picture of items, only by shifting separate blocks.
Biorhythms - calculating biorhythms for a day or a month.
Finger Pressure - three different modes. One for decreasing a headache, the second is antistress and the third one is just for hands relaxation. An idea of massaging fingers with an integrated vibracall is plain and in some kind original. It would never appear in a European country without traditions of folk medicine. You may set different working time from one to 10 minutes. The phone should be held differently in each regime, achieving a nacessary effect is possible only this way. I will admit my opinion to the feature was skeptic, one more unique function having nothing in common with the reality. But my skepticism was broken just after the first use. That really works despite it would seem strange. I don't know any other phone with such a function and that is its unique feature.
Mosquito Repellant. There are two modes - for city and field mosquitoes (may be, for forest). Working time is also set and the phone buzzes rather unpleasantly that prevents from using the function at night. We couldn't have tested the function in Moscow in the autumn, there are no mosquitoes here in this season. In one of the laboratories animals reacted on the noise and tries to escape from their caves. I think mosquitoes won't like the sound either. The sound makes no troubles for a man, that's not pleasant but bearable.
Organizer. Time and date setting is the first item. Alarm clock may be once and recurrent and personal melody may be set each time.
Calendar view is monthly, there is a possibility to enter a note, set a signal and time for a day. All the events in the organizer are displayed in a separate list. Traditionally there are separate notes D-Day, only a memo and a date are indicated here. A note for a special day may be set the way it will be indicated on the screen in the standby mode.
Tools. A calculator is plain and makes no troubles when used. A stopwatch allows getting intermediate results. World time function works like it has to. And a unit converter is the last item (length, weight, capacity).
Settings. A possibility to choose the color for the external event indicator depending on the event is rather interesting, for instance, you may choose own color or a scheme. Other settings are standard, there are redirection, choosing network and so on.
WAP. The device supports batch communication and thus browsing is not very expensive. You may adjust up to 6 profiles. There are no any claims to the browser, everything works.
Camera. A VGA-camera is integrated into the phone and it may be accessed not only via the menu but on pressing the side button as well. Settings include contrast level (from -3 to +3, 0 be default), picture quality (basic, Fine), size (160x120, 320x240, 640x480 pixels). There are such effects as Warm, Cool, Fog, Negative, Gray. Flash may be turned off from the menu.
That's pleasant that characters for working with the camera are inscribed above the screen horizontally. The screen may be set vertical if you like. There are only 250 KB of internal memory and that is enough for few photos (about 12 with the maximum resolution). Taken photos may be uploaded to a PC via a cable. The photos look well on the phone screen, the quality of the screen tells on. There are several frames that may be applied to photos.
Synchronization with PC. The cable for data synchronization is included into the package but unfortunately it's only for a COM-port. The program is rather plain and allows loading new images, melodies to the phone and take your photos from the phone's memory. Its possibilities are standard but there is no mass copying from the internal memory what is a minus of the program.
The quality of the connection rouses no cavils, the device works with no problems in the city. The volume of 64-tone call signal is high and the power of the vibra is higher than average. Preset melodies are rather good. These are famous hits song by Asian singers in the majority. You will be surprised with a new sounding of a familiar melody, in general that is original for Europeans and will help distinguishing.
Despite the device is plain in functions it has a raisin. They are small size, good polyphony, excellent screen for such dimensions. Various colour solutions also attract attention and the same about rich componentry. That's not bad for a device for 180-190 USD. The phone will surely suit not everybody. The main audience is youth not too fastidious about the phone book possibilities and organizer. Also that are young men that will certainly like sound possibilities of the device. Many will consider the phone too plain and not worth of attention, that's not right. The device is thoroughly thought out and that is different from the many similar devices. For example, phones by Maxon are inferior and that is much for a new manufacturer. The manufacturer certainly has a big price safety factor that will allow supporting interest to the device for a long time in a number of markets.
Published 30 November 2004
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