Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review Samsung D410
Samsung introduced new GSM-phone with slider - D410. The phone it self isn’t new for Samsung’s home market – South Korea, however in Europe it will probably become the first new-generation phone. I wrote «probably» because it’s possible that Samsung will replace this model with a new, upgraded one before the release. While Samsung is still making up their mind, we’d like to review the D410. This phone is interesting not only because of it’s interesting outlook, but because of the technologies inside as well.
Let’s follow our tradition and start our review with the description of the phones outlook. It’s rather big and heavy. I doubt that any woman would like to carry such phone, so it can be called “made for men” for sure. D410 is rather similar to V200, both have the same idea. Rotating camera (180 degrees) and its specifications are similar to the one used in P400. Speaker is located opposite cameras window, it is used for playing ring tones.
The display doesn’t look small comparing to the phone’s size. It’s the first TFT-matrix display from Samsung with the ability to show up to 262000 colors. Soon this will become a standard for top-class models, and once again Samsung is taking over the leader’s crown. Screen’s resolution is 137x220 pixels; this allows displaying up to 8 text lines, header and an extra line for service needs. Picture’s quality is beyond comparison, it’s very contrast and distinct. I will try to give an example of how it looks like. When the first color display phones appeared we all felt delight and joy, even though their quality was far from good. Expanding the number of colors didn’t affect as much, as switching from STN to TFD. The second shock were TFT displays showing up to 65000 colors, we thought that this is the limit, but we were wrong. The horizon expanded once more with the release of D410. The display is so good, that when you look back at E700 – it looks like some cheap 4096 color display in a budget phone. Considering that E700’s display at the moment is one of the best on the market – I think you get the point.
However, I want to make it clear, all that is written above is about Samsung’s 262k display, and not from every manufacturer. My last visit to Siemens headquarters allowed me to view the prototypes of the phones that will be released in 2nd quarter of year 2004. These phones were equipped with similar displays, although I’m talking about the color number, and not the picture quality. My questions and staff’s answers showed that these were commercial samples, and display’s quality will not be changed. The picture is similar to good TFT displays with 65k colors. On the other hand, it’s certainly an evolution comparing to Siemens own products (it’s slightly better than ST55’s one, but ST55 is ODM phone). The conclusion is the following: soon it will be impossible to choose a phone only by the number of colors the display is capable of showing. It will be the brand, that defines display’s quality.
During stand by mode the screen is turned off completely, it doesn’t show any pictures, although it’s possible to choose one. This was made due battery’s capacity and screen’s size/tech specs The battery’s life will significantly reduced if it will be always turned on.
Power LED is located under the screen, it can blink with one of 8 colors. While the phone is closed you can only use the four-positional navigational key with built in button that accesses web-browser. Keys are convenient, and no problems are encountered during the time I was using them.
Two volume control buttons are located on the left, as well as handsfree connector, it’s covered with rubber cork. IrDA is located on the same side, it supports business card’s sending and receiving, in other words – it’s fully functional.
Standard interface connector is located on the phone’s bottom. You will see a hole for the strap on the phone’s back. The battery occupies the whole back side of the phone, it doesn’t have any backlash. Several battery types can be used with this phone; our sample had Li-Ion battery with 950 mAh capacity. Samsung claims that the phone can work up to 180 hours with such battery, however it worked for about 3 hours here in Moscow, with about 25 minutes spent for calls and 45 minutes for other functions (mostly games). If you use it more actively then you’ll most likely have to recharge it once in two days, it takes up to 2.5 hours for the battery to charge.
The phone can be opened with one hand; no special effort should be added. On the other hand, the phone can’t be opened accidentally. It is equipped with the assisted mechanism. So, whenever you begin closing or opening the phone – you won’t have to finish your operation, the phone will close or open by it self. It actually reminds of some child’s game with two magnets. The phone really slides, this creates interesting and pleasant impressions while using it.
Sliders rails are made from plastic, however they’re powered with metal plate on the top, this leaves hopes that the phone will be reliable during its usage.
The keyboard is made of plastic, the keys are pretty big and are located far enough from each other. No problems with pressings were encountered, although people with big fingers might experience some difficulties with the top row, since it’s located rather close to the phone’s upper part. Keyboard’s backlight color is blue, central and right rows are singled out and viewed better than the rest.
You can answer the calls without opening the phone, although it’s possible to bind this function for slider. The keypad gets automatically blocked while you’re closing the phone.
The menu can be accessed by pressing the left soft-key, shortcut number navigation for easier menu-surfing is supported. The menu can be presented in two ways (page or bar style). The menu can be surfed with the Navigational key, since the main menu is scrolled vertically, just like any other menu, pressing right on the navigational key leads to accessing the required menu item, meanwhile pressing left will exit it. Sub-menu is presented in list-way, it’s convenient. All main menu items are presented as animations, the screen changes the content smoothly. No any peculiarities, however screen’s quality definitely improves the overall satisfaction level from menu browsing.
Phonebook. In order to access the phonebook from stand by mode – press the right soft-key. You will instantly get to a list of items; the first of them is “Name search”. The phone allows displaying SIM-card’s memory and phonebook at once. If you are entering new contact into a phone book you can specify several phone numbers for one entry (mobile, home, work, fax, other), as well as e-mail and internet addresses, and finally – define the Group. 10 groups can be created, you can name them yourself. Ring tone, picture and SMS alert can be customized for every group. 1000 entries can be saved in phone’s memory.
Viewing certain entry is nicely done, you can see all numbers at once and choose the one you need in order to dial it. Eight keys can be associated with certain entries from the phone book.
Messages. This mobile phone supports EMS and joined messages (up to 918 symbols). As a results 22 pictures and 24 animations are pre-installed for being added into SMS message. Phone’s memory can store up to 200 messages, excluding ones stored in the sim-card.
Sub-menu from which you can choose the input language can be accessed while typing a message. An interesting fact is that predictive text input is supported for all languages that can be chosen for the phone’s menu.
MMS. MMS stands out as the separate menu item apart from Messages. Unlike the other new modules, the interface is very simple. You can create several pages, the outgoing message limit is 100kb, meanwhile the limit for incoming messages is 45kb. 700kb of phone’s memory are dedicated to MMS.
E-Mail client. POP3/SMTP protocols are supported, several accounts as well. Besides downloading the headers, the whole message can be downloaded as well. Only graphical files (GIF, JPEG) can be attached. You can attach photos made by the built-in camera when you’re sending an e-mail, the limit is 100kb per message. E-Mail client is not innovative, nor old-fashioned. 1024kb are dedicated to e-mails. Message templates can be created as well.
Call list. Everything is traditional here, 20 entries for each list. Date and time for each entry are specified. Although common time timer is absent, however there are separate timers for incoming and outgoing calls is present.
Sound. The first disappointment comes when you notice the absence of mix alert mode (vibrating + sound), you can choose either vibrating alert, or ring tone instead. One of the unusual settings is custom alert for slider (two tones are available).
Now let’s talk about the sound. Its 64 tone polyphony, however it’s almost impossible to find ring tones like that. But the ones that are pre-installed sound rather nice. Volume is good; D410 is slightly better comparing to 40-tone polyphonic ring tones. Saying that these platforms are different is impossible; they still can be compared. On the other hand, you will need two stereo speakers in order to feel the true 64 tone polyphony. The first model with such feature will be released only in the 3rd quarter of year 2004. Other phone manufacturers will release similar solutions at the same time. Motorola has the patent of this invention, so we might expect something special from this brand as well. We’d like to note that this model has one of the best sound.
Phone Settings. The first item is IrDA, if you activate this item, then you see two more. The first one is activating PC Synchronization, and the second is – Synchronization with another mobile phone. This solution is logical, however not really necessary because this problem can be solved by software part of the phone, without asking the user to make a choice.
Display settings are typical, you can choose the contrast level (really wide range of values), wallpaper (animated wallpapers show what the phone is really capable of), backlight time setting). The phone features a really interesting function – display’s backlight according to the timer (Auto Light), however there aren’t really a lot of people who might find this one useful.
You can see instantly how the text color will look on your current desktop, while choosing it. This hasn’t been done before.
You can also find security settings in this menu, the rest is standard for a typical Mobile Phone.
Published 05 January 2003
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