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Review GSM phone Samsung E530
Samsung was the first company to offer exclusively women phone and that was the A400. Designed as a powder-box with bright body colours unordinary for that moment it won women's hearts at once. They didn't even care the device worked only for a day and no more capacious batteries were supplied. The release of the product was exactly what the company needed, since they managed to foresee the wishes of the audience. That is interesting besides the design the A400 was also equipped with a critical day calendar and only after that other manufacturers started integrating it into their European models trying to repeat the A400's success.
The A400 had no successors for a long time and the theme of women products seemed to close. And then the T500 appeared, your obedient servant has called it a ladies man so neatly. I will decently say many magazines and newspapers used the name when describing the T500. Either we all think in stereotypes or the device matches the phrase perfectly. The innovation of the T500 was the decoration of the external screen with pastes in a Swarowsky style. The software was also created specially for women and thus the device distinguished as a women's one much. One used to consider the encrustation a bad manner and others admired it on the contrary. The thing for sure was the device remained demanded for a year and had record sales for its segment. At the moment the T500 was leaving the market the information about the new successor pretending to be a women's clamshell appeared. The device called Drama roused associations with a powder-box again, but the model failed in reaching the European market, since its characteristics and appearance were considered not so significant after the T500. And again a silent period came.
The company has broken the silence in February and announced the E530 intended for women again. The model is designed as a small pebble resembling the Motorola V6 PEBL in some way, but the Samsung's product is smaller and made of plastic. That is the first time the company used a new type of plastic in the device, the side insertions are glossy and white. They would use qualitative plastic earlier in the top models, but the Samsung E530's plastic is different in characteristics. We should expect the use of this plastic in next models.
Various colour solutions of the model differ in the colour of the central part, the plastic used is usual and of a standard quality for Samsung. The solutions look interesting and that may be light-blue, a fireplace-coloured or its tints. In future the expansion of the color palette is expected.
We can't say the design is associated with a women's model only, the device is a unisex and looks quite acceptable in man's hands. The other question is the dimensions of the body, the opening angle and all other small things were created for women and the ergonomics is interesting to them, naturally. Men of larger than average size may feel discomfort when using the device; one will dislike the keypad, one will complain the opened device rests against his ear. Women just have no such problems, the device lies to their checks well and the keypad gladdens even long-nailed ones.
The dimensions are 86x43x26.3 mm and the weight is 85 grams. There are curves on the sides, fingers lie well into them, and the device may be easily opened. A megapixel camera objective is placed on the front panel, a light diode flash that may serve as a small lamp in the standby mode is also there. The device doesn't differ from the last company's devices, for instance, the Samsung E720.
The external screen is also made in the style of the last models, two lines showing time (16x96 pixels), battery charge and signal level are always shown. The rest of the screen has the resolution of 80x96 pixels (14x18 mm), 65K, OLED. The colours on the external screen are quite bright indoors, the picture looks well. The screen fades outdoors, the picture is almost indistinguishable. The impossibility of adjusting the contrast is a minus. At the incoming call the picture of a caller and his name are shown full-screen. The screen wins in the status bar permanently shown and its perfect view in all the weather conditions loosing to TFT screens in the level of picture representation in the sun.
The volume control button is placed on the left-side surface and pressing it in the standby mode activates a small lamp. A headset connector and its plastic shutter which joins the body very closely are on the right side. It is not very easy to open and that will make troubles not only for girls with long nails but with short ones either. And a separate camera button is also here. A strap hole is on the top. A standard interface connector (narrow) also covered with s shutter fixed to the body is on the bottom end.
The edging of the internal screen is of a mirror and the screen itself can't turn into a mirror like in the T500. The screen type and its characteristics are typical for the last generation phones by Samsung and differ from the Samsung E620, E720, and E730 in nothing.
The screen is 176x220 pixels (28x36 mm, 1.7" in diagonal) with 262K colors. Samsung models have always been at the top in this aspect and this one is not an exception. The colors are bright and vivid and the display is really better than other manufacturers (the only exception is Sharp and Motorola using the same screens). The quality of the screen has no rivals and even Siemens SL65 looses in the picture quality. Comparison with Motorola v620 showed no big difference, the colors and brightness of the picture are approximately the same. The TFT screen behaves not bad in the sun and the picture is seen.
The keypad is designed untraditionally, number keys are thicker in center (5 and 8) and other buttons are a bit lower. In general working with a keypad makes no troubles even to girls with long nails. A navi block is customary with a 4D navi button and an OK one inscribed into it. It calls the browser from the standby mode. The key backlighting is blue and seen well in many conditions.
There is an 820-mAh Li-Ion battery integrated into the phone. According to the manufacturer it is capable of working for 200 hours in the standby mode and up to 5 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the phone worked for 3 days with 30 minutes of talking and minimum of using other functions. More active communications (45 minutes and 30 minutes of games) shortens the life time to 2 days (you'll have to recharge the device at night). Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
The model copies the Samsung E720 but still differs in some things. The memory capacity kept for applications is the same. 82 MB are kept for photos, multimedia. Up to 4 MB for Java applications and the max application size is 300 KB. For e-mail messages that forms 3.7 MB and separate memory is provided for MMS. The absence of memory cards doesn't seem a disadvantage for a product of this class.
The main menu design is reworked specially for women, wall-papers have changed and several pictures have become different. Typically women applications appeared among functions, they will be discussed below.
The main menu is represented only with a row of icons. All of them look stylish. Number navigation using number series is supported. All the submenus are lists and shifting between the submenus is possible by pressing the left or right on the navi pad. From the beginning the navi button has 4 preinstalled functions assigned (messages, melody, Bluetooth, voice dialing). In general the menu division is quite logical and navigation is not a problem.
While entering texts you can switch local layout with English quickly. Predictive input is adjusted at your will and the phone remembers your last entry.
Phone book. By pressing the right soft key, one can obtain the contacts in a form of a list containing all the files both from the phone's and the SIM-card memory. The first name in the list is backlit by default and the number is shown in the status bar (there is a special sign for numbers from a SIM-card). There is a fast search by first letters of a name; the phone can hold more than twenty of those for any possible language. By pressing the OK key, you enter in the view menu of a single file where you may see a small icon in case the name is matched with the image. Any graphic file or the pictures of your own may be used as such image. Up to five phone numbers of various types (cell, office, home, fax, etc.) may be kept for a name with one number as the main contact (it would become the first one by default). The margins are strictly fixed and there may be not two cell phone numbers entered. On the other hand, SMS/MMS can be sent to any number from the phone book once chosen.
There are two fields for a Name and a Surname (search only by the first one) that are concatenated when displayed and the Name field goes the first. For example, if you entered Eldar Murtazin, it is displayed exactly in this manner. The length of each line is 20 symbols for any of the available languages. You may opt to alter the language while entering the name text as well.
Files in different languages are sorted out according to a rule - first it will be all files in the local language (Russian, for example), and then those in English. This is rather convenient and habit forming. Taking into account an option of fast language change during the search, it becomes clear that the files in different languages do not impede the work with this phone.
Let us return to the information entered for one name. Besides phone numbers, an e-mail address and a little text memo can be recorded. Any music file as well as composed Mp3's can be chosen as a ring tone for the name. The needed number of groups, the ring tones and the pictures for them can be created very easily. No groups are set at the beginning.
Up to 1000 names with all the data can be saved in the phone's memory. Even if all the available lines are not used, the number of names to be saved would remain a thousand. It is possible to indicate in the settings where the new numbers should be kept by default. There is an option of moving files from the SIM-card although not vice versa. According to the developers, PC is the best means of synchronization, MS Outlook in particular. Any file in the form of SMS/MMS, mail message or other text file can be sent quickly through Bluetooth to another device. There are no problems with sending and the phone book entry being transmitted to another device is precisely decoded without any trouble.
New names can be entered only through the main menu; the first soft key always calls for the name list only. You can create your own visit card; its format would be the one of a regular file from the phone book.
There can be up to eight numbers in the speed dial list; peculiar is the fact that separate numbers of one name may be in this list as well. The subtitle of the chosen name (but not of the phone type) is displayed on the buttons.
The comparison of this phone book with phone books of other phones is rather interesting. It is not fully compatible with MS Outlook's layout as the phone has fewer margins. Consequently, the phone gives way to all the smartphones (the phone book options are the most extended ones in those). The phone book is moderate here when compared to the phones such as Siemens and Alcatel. However, the model is a decent rival to all other phones. The phone also has a very convenient phone book, which is a pleasure to work with.
When receiving a call, a picture is not displayed on the full screen, but only on a part of it (approximately 120x140 pixels).
Call lists. Up to twenty phone numbers are displayed in each list. There is a combined list of all the last calls with an icon indicating a call type. Tilting the scroll key horizontally, you may switch quickly from one list to another. The date and the time of the call (it's duration is not kept) can be seen for separate files. As always, the overall time of the calls and their prices can be viewed in this menu (this service has to be installed).
Applications. Java World is the first menu item; up to four MB of memory are available in the phone for various programs. This is a separate memory allotment and is used for Java only. MIDP 2.0 version allows the use of the graphic reach and three-dimensional games. There are four games preinstalled in the phone - Bobby Carrot, Airship Racing, Freekick and Archangel.
MP3 player. An integrated mp3 player supporting accidental track reproduction, both sequential and cyclic, is available in the phone. Mp3 files can be downloaded into the phone both directly through Bluetooth and through a synchronization program. Files may be of various names and tags (in Russian language as well!). The bit rate of the files is not that important since the phone accepts all the possible formats. We came across several problems with the files recorded through VBR since the phone would report an error and reject downloading. However, a number of the same VBR mp3 files were successfully downloaded and reproduced without any problem.
The name of the track playing is displayed as well as the overall number of different composition. An equalizer is of an entertaining nature; there are no separate settings (only a possibility to choose from classic, rock, jazz and normal reproduction). The tracks can be played through the stereo headset as well as through the speakerphone. The volume has ten levels. The user is welcome to create play lists of his/her own. There is 82 MB of memory available for mp3 compositions, which is not enough for using the device as an mp3 player.
Dictaphone. You can record up to several hours of voice memos with the number of files being unlimited. The time restrictions for one recording are set by a user and can vary from 30 seconds to one hour in duration. All the files are kept in a separate folder in the memory. The dictaphone cannot record a conversation, since it only works in stand-by mode (Gumi plant). The recorder can function well during lectures, conferences and presentations. The phone is a partial substitute for a digital tape recorder.
World time is displayed for two chosen cities. Everything is nice and simple here.
Alarm clock. The phone is equipped with three alarm clocks. One is meant for mornings and can be set for selected weekdays as well as for weekends. For each of the alarm clocks there is a selection of five melodies although mp3 compositions cannot be used here. It is up to a user to indicate in the settings whether the phone would turn on automatically in the time of the event or not.
Calculator. Everything is nice and simple here.
With a converter, you can operate with different units of measurements as well as with the currencies.
Countdown timer. The time can be displayed in both hours and minutes; the clock can be used as a background.
You can request the intermediate result with a stopwatch.
Women’s Life. Several applications useful to girls are kept here at once. The first one is Fragrance Type. It is unique and was not applied in any phone before. You create a new type of event assigned to going to the theatre, for example, then choose what you will eat, drink, the music that will play, your clothes color and its style. Extra fields are the type of the place (rest, island, beach), your sport activities or their absence, the time of the event. On filling this mini- questionnaire in a minute you get a small piece of text with a picture describing the most appropriate smell for you. No certain perfume brands are described but ingredients are given. Smell database is quite various and may serve as a reference to many people. According to the girls, that used the application, it helps choosing the smell correctly in 70 percent of cases.
Biorhythms - calculate biorhythms for a day or a month. A possibility to calculate the biorhythm and send it as a usual SMS. The function is very useful for friend's parties, attracts attention.
Height and weight ratio. An easy formula the optimal weight is calculated by; calculations are possible both for men and women.
Calories - a calendar, which is capable of showing information about physical activity (three steps) for every day and a result for a day shows the number of spent calories.
Pink Schedule - a menstrual cycle calculation, everything is traditional.
Buying list - up to 5 separate wallets, each may have a list to buy, a price of the product and its quantity specified. The phone shows a spent sum on each list.
File namager. All the files including music, images, video, sounds are gathered here. All the downloadable files are sent here. The disadvantage is a file may be not depicted, then you'll need to exit and open the list again.
Messages. Working with different types of messages is done through separate submenus. Let us begin with short messages. Up to 200 messages can be saved in the phone's memory; the phone supports the EMS standard compatible with Nokia Smart Messaging. The support of various encodings chosen by a user (GSM or Unicode) is a very nice feature here. T9 functions very well and is quick and easy to use.
MMS. The interface for multimedia messages is very nice; the messages can be saved in several folders at once and right away. There are no size restrictions for a message to be received although a message should not exceed 295 KB. As for additional services, the rejection of advertising messages, the option of the message receipt in the roaming and the home network should be mentioned. The messages are saved in the general memory since there is no special memory for them.
Mail client. POP3/SMTP boxes and several tracking files are supported. Besides the title downloading, the phone can receive the letter itself. As for attachments, only the graphic files (GIF, JPEG) are supported. When sending a letter, you can attach a picture from the integrated camera to it. Overall, the mail client is nice although it does not stand out with an immense number of functions. There is also an option of creating templates.
Organizer. Up to 400 events of four types - meeting, affair, anniversary and others, can be saved in the phone's memory. The day and the time as well as its end are indicated for each file. A signal can be set for the interval during which it has to go off; repetitive events are available for setting.
The calendar may be viewed weekly and monthly that's very convenient with each type of the event having its own color.
WAP. There is a wap-browser version 2.0 similar to some phones by Nokia and Sony Ericsson using http protocol. That means in some networks operator's setting is required.
Bluetooth. All the existing protocols are supported and work properly. Any information may be transferred to and from the phone via Bluetooth.
Realization of security settings should be stressed as a peculiarity, the code is required when connecting for the first time. The second connection may be established without the procedure (if the device is kept in a list). When incoming inquiries and setting security mode the code is always required, unless you put the device into the trusted list. The realization is logical and rouses no any cavils.
Data transmission speed via Bluetooth-connection is about 30-35 KBps and loading 15 MB takes about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, low data transmission speed is characteristic for the phone and it doesn't allow loading much information at once. I'd like to note that the majority of the phones by other manufacturers do have this limitation, information via Bluetooth and especially mp3 files are transmitted slowly.
The fact you can't transfer the whole phone book to another device seems a fly in the ointment, also sometimes the device can't send a separate contact to a coupled device, it just can't see it. Sometimes you'll need to initialize transmission from another device and only after that the device can see it properly. Samsung devices have no OBEX SyncML profile realized.
Working with a car-headset kit is possible through the Headset profile, using the Handsfree profile makes troubles (the lack of compatibility with the majority of products, the decrease of the car-kit functionality). As you can see the Bluetooth realization has certain cavils that are crucial only when in the car or with the headsets demanding the Handsfree profile (determination of the caller's number on the headset and showing his name, for instance).
Camera. There is a megapixel camera integrated into the phone (it is similar to the one of the E720) and the resolutions supported are the following - 1152x864, 640x480, 320x240, 176x148, 160x120 pixels. Compression quality may be Super Fine, Fine, Normal, Economy. Shutter sound may be turned off.
The quality of the pictures is higher outdoors on a bright sunny day, though the photos are quite bearable even on a dull day, however grain does appear.
The quality of the pictures really decreases indoors in the dark, which is quite understandable for a CMOS-matrix.
The device supports such effects as Gray scale, Negative, Sepia, Emboss, Sketch, Antique, Moonlight, Fog. Samples of various effects applied to photos taken indors, zip-archive, 1.31 MB.
Frames are supported for 320x320 pixels photos, new ones may be uploaded. Flash can work automatically or be set manually. Timer may be set for 3, 5 or 10 seconds.
Also there is a possibility to take 6, 9 or 15 photos in a series; you can set two types of speed for each case (normal and high). Finally, the device supports matrix photos (2x2, 3x3).
The same set of effects is provided when recording video. Four resolutions are supported- 352x288, 320x240, 176x144, 128x96 pixels. The quality may be set just like for photos (four levels). The video looks not bad on the screen; you can also switch sound off. You are not limited in clip duration, write as long as free space allows.
That is the first time the quality of the video is quite acceptable both on the phone screen and on a PC. You can see the clips recorded in a good quality, though the picture shakes when shoot (the samples provided here show the same because of your humble servant's walking). The device should be praised highly for the video quality.
Synchronization with PC. Synchronization is made using Bluetooth and a cable. Easy Studio 2.0 will be included into a delivery kit (or provided on the manufacturer's site) that is a renewed version. There are many changes comparing to the first version and we won't tell about all of them. I'll only note that this software is similar to programs for synchronization by other manufacturers in some kind (in a maximal configuration) but also provides its own capabilities.
PIM Manager allows loading all the contacts, messages, organizer entries, call lists to and from a PC. Here you may compose new messages on your PC and send them at once using the phone. The program provides enough capabilities for the majority of users. Synchronization with MS Outlook is not offered and thus many people may say the program looses its attraction. But it could be this way if a special phone and MS Outlook data converter was not included into the package, it works correctly and no problems appear, notebook, organizer, mail data is transmitted correctly. Mail program has strict limitations on the length of a letter and the number of attachments and that is quite clear.
Melody and picture editor are represented in separate programs. Here you may create whatever you like and send it all to the phone at once. File manager is also included into the package, it allows viewing internal memory, transmitting between a PC and the phone. I'll note that any files with any extension may be transmitted using the manager. That means the files that are not accepted from other devices are saved this way perfectly.
In fact, even when the own software is absent installing E530 rouses no troubles. Operating system offers a standard set of drivers that allows using all the capabilities of the phone including viewing file system on it (only dynamic memory).
The connection quality is high and rouses no complaints. The volume of the 64-tones polyphonic alert is the maximum for today and the device may be heard in various sound conditions. The power of the vibra is average or a bit higher and it may be felt in the majority of cases.
The design is dubious and will rouse the same arguments as the Samsung T500 did. One will praise it highly, others will criticize severely. We can surely say the model is well-taken and will attract the target group especially considering the active advertising support. The model should be expected in the middle of the summer for 400-420 USD. The price seems quite adequate for a solution intended exclusively for women. The model competes with the Samsung E720 inside the line and differs in the expanded application set for women, another design. In general the models are comparable.
Published 08 May 2005
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