Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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The manufacturers often create new models based on the previous ones, and the way the previous were accepted by the consumers. Some of the manufacturers try to keep the design style, some use one and the same design but change the functionality. Samsung decided to use the 2nd choice, E600 is S300’s twin. The case is the same, same edgings and practically identical button placement of the outside. The main difference is an appearance of built-in camera, it looks like an eye and is placed above the external screen. The serial index of this model shows, that E600 is a cheaper version of Å700. E700 was popular for quite a while (both versions), meanwhile the built-in camera becomes a common thing for all mobile phone classes nowadays. That’s how the E600 appeared; it’s a sport of response to fast-growing mobile phone market with built-in cameras. This model is significantly different from S300, but functionally poorer comparing with E700. It’s a marketing move, and as a matter of fact Samsung don’t count this model to be a massive one, its sales will be about the same as the S300 had. They will be good and stable, however not shockingly big.
Samsung believes that this models is a legacy of innovative traditions used for such phones as Samsung A300 (two screens for the first time), S300 (two color screens). And since it’s the third generation phone, tit received 600 in it’s index (À300+S300).
The phone’s sizes are comfortable enough to carry it anywhere you want (82x41.8x23.5 mm, 85 ãðàìì). The presence of external antenna looks like an anachronism; unfortunately it is a casual thing for this segment of mobile phones. The handsfree connector is located on the top edge; it’s covered with plastic cover. Samsung starts using such kind of covers in all new models, they’re fixed in grooves. This was made since rubber covers get damaged pretty often, and begin sticking out of the case as a result. However the cover located near the interface connector is made of rubber, most likely this was caused because changing the construction would affect the phone’s size. This cover is not removable, so you will not lose it accidentally, unlike the previous Samsung phone’s covers. In my opinion this is a lot better, than having a removable ones.
Joined volume control button in located on the left side, just above the IrDA. The soft-key for camera’s activation is located on the right side. By the way the camera can work even if the phone is closed; the picture will be displayed on the external screen.
This model has an external screen with 84x84 pixel resolution; this means that basically it can display two text lines and an extra line for service needs. The screen can display 65 000 colors (TFT), unlike the S300 colors look more saturated, although the difference is not that noticeable. The difference will be seen when you’re using the external screen for photos, or when the incoming caller’s picture is displayed.
The joined volume control button can act as zoom during the photo shooting process. The came can be disabled by opening the phone.
A set of one and the same type of wallpapers is supported for the external display. The colors are their only difference between each other. The icons were remade as well, but there’s nothing extraordinary as well.
You will see an internal screen that can display up to 65000 colors and has 128x128 pixel resolution (28x28 mm) when you open the phone. The screen has TFT matrix, and is rather good at transferring the picture quality. Not the best, but still good (only Panasonic X70, Motorola v300, v500, v600 have better ones). If we speak about the phones from the same segment, then the only competitor will be Motorola’s phones.
The backlight’s color is blue, symbols located on the buttons are seen nicely, but not in all conditions. The four-positional navigational key is located above the keypad. Two soft-keys are located on the sides and three keys “End Call”, “Call” and “Cancel” are located below them. The keys are easy to press, and no problems with ergonomics were encountered. The keypad is made of plastic; keys are big enough, so dialing a number is not a problem. I’d say that the ergonomics level can be rated as average one.
The Li-Ion battery with 750 mAh capacity is used. Samsung claims that it can work up to 3 hours during the talks and up to 145 hours in the stand by mode. We were testing this phone in Moscow, and it lasted for 3 days with 30 minutes spent for talking daily and minimal use of other functions. However when the phone was used more actively (45 minutes for talks and 30 minutes for games) it worked only for 2 days. 2 hours are required in order to get the battery charged.
This model is really similar to Samsung’s previous phones, however it has its own advantages as well. The main menu is numbered, this means that the fast number navigation is supported. The user can choose of the two menu appearances (slides or full list of items). All sub-menus are presented as usual lists.
The navigational key can be assigned with two actions (vertical and horizontal sides), horizontal sides are responsible for providing access to the messages and Dictaphone entries.
Phone book. The phone book can be accessed by pressing the left soft-key from the stand by mode. You will instantly access the list of items, where the first one is “Seach”. The phone can show both SIM-card’s and phone’s phone books at once. If you are entering new contact to the phone’s memory – you can assign several numbers to contact (cellular, home phone, work, fax, other), as well as the e-mail and internet homepage. The group can be defined as well. The phone supports 10 fully customized groups. The customization includes the change of title, custom sound for SMS messages and custom pictures. Up to 1000 entries can be stored in the phone’s memory.
The viewing of a certain name is made nicely, you can see all numbers at once and choose the one you need in order to make a call. The phone book menu features a list of fast dialing keys (up to 8 numbers).
And now – the major change that is so far unique feature of Samsung’s phones. This phone has the Photo Call function; this means that the photo can be assigned to one of the numbers from the phone book. Samsung made this function alike a similar one in Motorola. You can set a picture for any number; this means that if an entry has more than 1 phone number, each of them can have its own custom picture. However, only photos can be assigned, the pictures can’t be. Unlike Motorola’s phones, you can’t bind a ring tone as well, the only thing that can be done with a custom ring tone – is setting it for a group.
Messages. This phone supports EMS, and joined messages as well (up to 918 symbols). As a result we get a set of small pics (22 of them), animations (24 of them) and little melodies that can be implied in the message’s body. Phone’s memory can store up to 200 messages besides SIM-card’s memory (20 more).
You can access the sub-menu in order to change the input language while you are typing an SMS. The predictive text input is supported for all languages that can be chosen as your phone’s language.
MMS. Multimedia messages are separated from the ordinary SMS, unlike the other models E600 features simplified interface. You are free to create several slides, the size limit is 100kb, and 45kb for an incoming one. Overall amount of memory dedicated to MMS – 1400kb.
Call list. Everything is traditional here; we get a list of received, dialed and missed calls with date and time stored for each entry. Each list can store 20 entries. The call timers lack the common time of incoming and outgoing calls even though there is a separate timer for each.
Sounds. The phone has 64-tone polyphonic ring tones, it sounds rather nice. There are several ring tone types, including ring tone only, vibrating alert only and the vibrating alert followed by the ring tone one. Other settings are standard, it’s a choice for the SMS alarm tone, MMS alarm tone, setup of minute beep during the talk, silent mode (vibrating alert only or nothing at all).
Settings. This menu allows setting up welcome message; however the display settings deserve a bigger attention. For example you can setup an animation for your wallpaper (the phone has 5 preinstalled ones). The font's style in the stand by mode can be customized as well.
An interesting fact is that you can setup the backlight for various periods (from 15 seconds up to 10 minutes). The maximum amount of time was made for those who like to play games that don’t require any action within a several minute period.
Organizer. You can enter a note instantly; the maximum length is 40 symbols for each. There aren’t separate categories for the entries. You just enter the note for definite day and that’s it. Several appointments can be assigned with one and the same date. Fast access to the needed date is present. Calendar can show current month as well.
The phone has world time function present, however it doesn’t have anything special. The same can be told about the calculator and the unit converter.
The alarm clock can be set for definite days of the week. You can also activate special function when the alarm clock will still be active even if the phone is turned off.
To-do list allows defining priorities for the entries, everything is rather typical.
Dictaphone can record short (30 seconds) conversations; the number of possible stored voice memos is 5, and the amount of dedicated memory is 100kb.
Network Settings. Settings related to call forwarding and stuff like that is located here. An interesting fact is that this phone is actually tri-band and not dual band, as the manual says. The third frequency (GSM1900) has to be activated manually.
Fun Box. WAP-browser v2.0 which allows viewing color images is located here. The phone supports GPRS (4+2) which makes the surfing nice and comfortable.
Sounds, images and photos are located in the Sounds and Images folder correspondingly.
Four games are pre-installed in this phone, they are: BubbleSmile (my favorite variation of bubbles), Fun2Link (logical game), Ultimate Golf, Mobile Chess. These games can not be deleted from the phone’s memory.
512kb are dedicated to Java applications, and 725kb are saved for pictures and messages.
Camera. This phone has VGA camera on board. This part of the phone would not be worth mentioning, unless it had something new, and so it happened. From now on working with the camera became a lot easier, thanks to the rebuilt interface. You don’t have to access menu in order to change something, the main functions are available right from the shooting mode (when the picture is displayed on the screen). You are free to setup contrast level, zoom it (8x digital zoom), change the resolution. Timer and frames (a rich set of them), effects (negative, sepia, grayscale, poster) are present as well. This phone supports MultiShot function, there are two speeds available: normal and fast. While using either of these series 6, 9 and 15 pictures can be made.
The camera supports following resolutions – VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240), QQVGA (160x120), Mobile (176x120). Four quality types are available (Economy, Normal, Fine, Super Fine). Five megabytes are dedicated for picture needs; the average VGA size picture with Normal quality occupies around 30-40kb. The quality is practically the same as the camera in E700 had.
The thumbnails can be viewed from the photo album. As to the pictures transfer to PC, it can be done via special software that is not yet available.
Besides taking pictures you have the ability to record short video clips (30 seconds, w/o sound). The video clips share the same memory, as the pictures do. However I didn’t manage to transfer the clips to PC, since there is no required software around, and direct transfer via IrDA is not supported (the same thing goes with photos). Video clip’s quality is nice, and it suits perfectly as an additional function. Although the picture remains rather shaky.
The polyphonic ring tone’s volume is very loud, seems that this became a good tradition for all Samsung’s phones. Unlike the other models, this one received an updated list of melodies; some of them are really attractive and charming. Perhaps it’s because of the 64-tone polyphonic ring tones? Don’t know for sure. The incensement is more like a quantity one, instead of quality. Comparing this model with a 40-tone polyphonic ring tone one is rather hard, the perfect conditions will be a quit indoor location and sharp ear, and otherwise you will not feel the difference. The vibrating alert has average strength, however its strident enough, and you can feel it.
Appearance of certain noises while the ring tone volume is set to the max can be counted as one of the advantages. The speaker just can’t candle the pressure. They are not annoying, however you can hear them especially in the indoors. So just follow my advice – do not set the ring tone’s volume to the max, 4th position is enough and the sound will remain clear.
The phone’s obvious advantages are the size, and built-in camera. This model will not become massively popular; however it will definitely find its fans and consumers. It some kind of caliph for one hour, which has increased quantitative characteristics (the screen, the polyphony, an ability to place a photo for each number stored in the phone book, video). Both men and women will buy this phone, and it’s hard to say who will like this model more. E600 will be released in several color variations, just the way it was made with S300.
The external screen is 65k, this comes as a true surprise. It turns pale on the sun, but not as much as the current external screens do (OLED and STN).
This model will go for sale starting from the beginning of April; the price will be around 400 dollars. The price is rather high, that’s why I believe that it will be popular among narrow range of users. However I can assure you that this price will drop to 280-300 dollars in the 2-3 month period. It will be the time when this model will become popular. Those who are interested in quality display, good polyphonic ring tone and basic set of features should look forward this model. However those who need hi-tech features will not find them in this phone. This model is a typical example of how Samsung isn’t trying to jump over its head, and moves slowly towards the functionality richness. The competitors will soon run out of any new ideas for the phones, meanwhile Samsung will still have time for development and moving further.
Published 06 February 2004
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