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Samsung Armani 2 (GT-B7620) – first look
As far as its spec sheet and form-factor go, the Armani 2 is totally identical to another Samsung-branded device, the B7610, representing their Windows Mobile branch. However in my opinion Samsung’s decision to launch a WM-based fashion-savvy phone (pardon my incompetence, it’s a Windows Phone after all) appears to be somewhat odd, unexpected and risky. I can’t tell whether it’ll work out for them or not – the Armani 2 doesn’t have any exorbitant expectations to live up to, nor does it aim to conquer the heart of the average consumer. So it’s best to look at the Armani 2 as a communicator with a quirky design and uncommon mix of materials for a WM-powered phone, rather than a rival to the HTC Touch Pro2.
Design is what any fashion-conscious phone is all about, and the Armani 2 seems to have learned this simple truth – its looks, as well as some other components were co-developed with GA’s staff; furthermore, every screw and edge in its design had to be approved by Giorgio Armani, so it’s a true designer phone, make no mistake about that. Now a few words on how it looks in real life.
The Armani 2 is housed in a black-with-gold smooth plastic casing (the front fascia is painted in black, although there is a tiny gold plastic strip running along the perimeter), with its battery cover made out of gold lacquered plastic. Not only does it look stunning, the Armani 2 also seems to be pretty smudge-resistant.
I can’t say the Armani 2 spots any luxurious materials, but it definitely has a very nice feel to it: its build quality, coupled with a great mix of several types of plastic put it way ahead of other WM-based phones. Plus its black-with-gold color scheme won’t leave you indifferent - you'll ether love it or hate it, and there are no inbetweens.
Size-wise, the Armani 2 is in line with the HTC Touch Pro2 and Nokia N97, plus it's pretty palm-friendly and pleasantly hefty. On the downside, it's somewhat thick, which is, however, a generic feature of all QWERTY-enabled devices.
Samsung Armani 2 vs Nokia N97:
The Armani 2’s display is no different from that of other Samsung’s latest and greatest WM-based phones – AMOLED 3.5” with a resolution of 480x800 pixels. By the way, in my opinion, as far as brightness and color reproduction goes, it’s a lot softer than that found in the Samsung GT-i8000, which is great news. Plus the Armani 2’s screen boasts decent viewing angles.
The phone’s slider action is identical to the HTC TyTN II and Touch Pro2, – first you flick it open and then you can tilt it up.
Samsung Armani 2 vs Nokia N97:
A few words about the thumbboard – I liked the keys and their shape, how they are spaced out, but what I didn’t like were the markings on the keys. The fact of the matter is that both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are placed in the same row, and font-wise they are nearly identical, so you’ll definitely spend some time getting used to this feature of the Armani 2, rather than the physical aspects of the thumbboard itself. I suppose we should blame GA for that, as when it comes to design, fonts and layout, they were the ones calling the shots. So the bottom line is that while offering decently sized keys, the Armani 2 thumbboard’s ergonomics suffer from this unfortunate misstep, which is a pity.
The phone runs on the same platform as the Samsung GT-i8000 - Samsung S3C6410 with a 800 Mhz CPU. We’ll run a couple of video playback tests in our final review. As far as other things are concerned, it packs in 256 Mb of RAM and 512 Mb of internal storage, plus there is an 8 Gb module should you require even more space.
The Armani 2 boasts the latest version of TouchWIZ, with the only differences from the Samsung GT-i8000 concerning its looks, while the UI layout hasn’t changed a bit. The phone’s menu has been revamped to blend with its design and GA styling – thankfully, they it’s not overkill, as the new UI is tidy and not flamboyant at all.
The Armani 2’s home screen has no bells and whistles either – you still get the same work space in the middle and a widget panel, parked on the left, from where you can drag various items onto one of the phone’s three desktops.
Spec-wise, the Samsung Armani 2 is one of the most advanced designer phones out there – after all, it’s a Windows Mobile-communicator based on Samsung’s top-of-the-range solution, hence all the bells and whistles under its hood: WVGA display, Wi-Fi, FM-radio, GPS, TV-Out and much more. Honestly speaking, there is absolutely nothing to fault it on, expect for its exorbitant price tag of 700 Euro. However it’s worth keeping in mind that the Samsung Armani 2 is a designer phone, rather than your bog-standard WM-based QWERTY-enabled phone.
Published 20 November 2009
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