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Review GSM phone Samsung SGH-E770
Having created a great number of models, the company of Samsung often can't pay enough attention to the promotion of its real improvements in some functions of new devices. Thus it seems the majority of the models differ exclusively in shape and a slight variation of some parameters. Having studied a model skin-deep in a shop, you will only strengthen your opinion that there is no reason to change the device (maybe that is why the loyalty of Samsung users is so low?) No doubts, not every model provides considerable set of improvements. Many of models released at the same time do not differ much. At the same time software updates, which appear on the market, provide some pleasant trifles that greatly widen the comfort of the phone use. And Samsung E770 is the one bringing not revolutionary but evolutionary changes.
The engineers collected the most successful features of the previous line and added some new functions. It is traditionally designed as a clamshell and not considering the thickness we can call the dimensions typical (90x46x20 mm). The phone is not a thin one, and is not positioned as a thin solution by the company. However it seems plane and really differs from the previous generation of clamshells (it seemed the E770 is similar to the E610 in some way). At that we see the design is taken over from Samsung E720/E730 with a naked eye. You can carry the device as you wish. Either in a shirt or in jeans, it weighs 85 grams.
The design is actually strict with no peculiarities. And the refusal from silvery insertions except for the face panel happened to be for the good. Dark blue colour makes a feeling of airiness, and makes the phone interesting. The player button is placed on the face panel, which is an advantage as allows controlling the player without opening it. Here the player is fully functional and can work in background and when the phone is closed as well, it supports play lists.
The external screen is OLED, and two lines with blue backlighting are always shown. These two lines show time, signal level, and battery charge. The rest of the screen has the resolution of 96x96 pixels and shows about 65K colours. Its real advantage is that in the sun it fades not much as compared with STN and TFT screens.
An objective of 1.3 MP camera is placed above the screen. The backlighting lamp is placed to the left, which serves as a flash. A coupled volume button is placed on the left side surface, a headset connector is above, and it is closed with a plastic cover fixed to the body. A camera button and a MicroSD (TransFlash) connector are to the right. Hot card change is provided.
You will easily open the phone with one hand. And inside there will be black plastic, the internal and external colours differ greatly. The phone looks stylishly like the latest Samsung's solutions. The navi button is rounded with a silvery chrome-platted edging. The internal screen has the resolution of 176x220 pixels (30x38 mm) and shows 262K colors. In the sun, it behaves well; the picture remains visible (TFT). And traditionally the quality is high, that is one of the best displays on the market.
The keypad is average in size with the buttons made of plastic and well positioned. It is comfortable and comfortable to work with. The navi button has no problems. The white backlighting of the keypad is even is well seen in various conditions.
The capacity of the integrated Li-Ion battery is 800 mAh. According to the manufacturer the battery is capable of 180 hours in the standby mode and up to3 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow networks the phone worked averagely for 3 days with 45 minutes of talks and up to 30 minutes of using other functions. Keeping Bluetooth on constantly, you will have the battery lasting for about 2 days. Recharging will take you about 1.5 hours.
Two menu views are available - the Block (a traditional matrix of icons) and the Flash (one of the items is highlighted with a large icon). Fast navigation using number sequences is available. All submenus are lists. You can select of a list of functions to assign to the navi button. In general, the menu division seemed quite logical, navigation brings no problems.
Phonebook. 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 fields 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 inserting the 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. Three caller groups are preinstalled and out of any category. You can easily create a necessary number of groups, select a personal melody and image for each.
New names can be entered only through the main menu; the right 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.
When receiving a call, a picture is not displayed full screen, but only on a part of it although takes a considerable part of it.
Call lists. Up to thirty 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 entries. Calls from the same numbers are summed up and the number is specified opposite the entry. In a detailed view you can see time and date of each call. As always, the overall time of the calls and their prices can be viewed in this menu (this service has to be installed).
Messages. Working with various 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. 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 an outgoing 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.
Integrated mail client supports POP3/SMTP boxes and several tracking files are supported. The letter is limited like MMS in size.
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. Calendar weekly and monthly views are realized comfortably. Each type of events has its own colour, everything is very visual.
WAP. There is a wap-browser version 2.0 similar to some phones by Nokia and Sony Ericsson using http protocol.
Applications. MP3 player. An integrated mp3 player supporting random track reproduction, 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.
Voice transmission to stereo earphones via Bluetooth-connection is rather an interesting feature and a corresponding profile appeared in the latest Samsung's phones.
The number 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 or a memory card. The player works in background mode, you only should press cancel button, and a corresponding icon appears in the menu bar.
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 form one hour in duration. All the files are kept in a separate folder in the memory. The recorder can function well during lectures, conferences and presentations. The phone is a partial substitute for a digital tape recorder.
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 rich and three-dimensional games. There are four games preinstalled in the E770 - Bobby Carrot, Arch Angel, Freekick, Airship Racing.
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.
Image editor. A plain picture editor that allows transforming pictures almost completely and using various effects.
Voice commands. A system of voice recognition independent of the pronunciation is integrated into the device. It allows both dialing a number from the phonebook and navigation in the menu. Samsung E620 was the first to provide the feature; the function was not applied in local versions of the device. The recognition works with no problems, the system got more stable in exterior conditions, especially at significant noise.
Funbox. All files, such as music, images, videos and sounds are kept here. All the downloaded files are also stored here. One disadvantage here is that sometimes the file is not immediately displayed in the general list and a user has to exit and open the list again.
Bluetooth. The model supports various profiles like Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, A/V Headset, Basic Printing (version Bluetooth 1.2). Bluetooth works not ideally, sometimes problems with phones having only Headset profile happen, sometimes work with a speakerphone can be incorrect. Bluetooth is realized averagely on the level of Nokia, however losing to Sony Ericsson. Although you can face no problems if working with several devices only or using Bluetooth rarely.
Settings. You are allowed to choose font colour in the standby mode, protect any section of the phone with a password (phonebook, short messages, photos and so on). You may select the menu colour. Call settings allow selecting a scheme when vibra works with a melody simultaneously (it is call VibeTonz).
Camera. The camera module is 1.3 MP and equal to the majority of Samsung models of the last generation. The camera is typical and allows taking photos of good quality to show on the display. At the same time photos look not very qualitative on a PC screen.
The camera works in 6 different resolutions:
The compression quality for JPEG pictures is set separately, several types are available:
There are about 5 different sounds for a shutter and the sound may be turned off at all then taking photos won't draw everybody's attention. A default file name, the sensitivity of the matrix (Auto, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400) may be set. I'd recommend using an Auto mode because it works correctly mostly. The difference between sensitivity modes is not felt in usual conditions. You won't see any changes on a real photo.
The timer for selfshooting is set for 3, 5 or 10 seconds.
The matrix mode switches the camera to the lowest resolution (a final picture is 640 x 480 pixels) and you get a picture that consists of 4 or 9 items (2x2 or 3x3). It's a curious mode that may be interesting for experiments.
In a multishooting mode it's possible to select some series, in particular that may be 6 photos with high speed (practically immediate pictures), with normal speed (the period between the photos is a second or less). Also modes with 9 and 15 photos are available. I'll note that the function is interesting as a photofinish at a competition, in real life if moving the camera the photos will be blurry in the majority of cases. The resolution is 320x240 in this mode. Describing separate functions, we completely forgot to tell about switching into a shooting mode, which is done either by pressing a side button or via the menu. The screen of the phone serves as a viewfinder, using a navi button you may change the contrast level and use zoom. When the resolution is maximum, the zoom function is turned off automatically. The picture may be mirrored on the screen using side buttons.
There is a number of effects in the phone that may be applied either during a shooting process or while postediting. As for me, the second variant is more acceptable just like applying frames to the photos. We'll just name the effects and you may get acquainted with them in a separate archive (Black & White, Negative, Sepia, Emboss, Sketch, Orange, Aqua, Red focus, Yellow focus, Blue focus). The last three effects distinguish the main colors of the composition but the function is middling in the majority of cases.
The photos are kept in an album and here you may view the data on a certain photo (not above the photo as in previous models). The list is formed fast and indicates the phone name and a small icon. Any photo may be assigned to a name in the phone book or set as wallpaper just from the album menu. There is a slide show mode, a plain editor that allows adding emotion icons, apply frames and effects to the photos.
The phone records 3GP video and you may choose recording with sound or without it. All the settings are comparable with similar for photos, the same 3 quality levels but the resolutions are different. The maximum resolution forms 355x288 pixels. As for the video quality, both models are ones of the best on the market.
There is no any limit on the duration of the record and everything depends on the free memory. Specially for MMS a recording mode that doesn't allow to exceed 100 KB is provided.
Synchronization with PC. Synchronization is made using Bluetooth and a cable. Easy Studio 3.0 is provided on the manufacturer's site.
Memory card. You can save any files on the TransFlash card and work with them from a corresponding file manager. Each menu has a Memory card item that is active only when the card is in and is inaccessible if the card is out. A disadvantage is memory card support is still new for the company, and the interface is not well thought over as well as the maximum memory card integration into the current phone capabilities. Thus, you can't create combined playlists containing tracks both from the card and internal memory. From the very beginning a firm folder structure equal to the one in the phone memory is created for the memory card. That means the phone won't see files saved in other folders and will ignore them. Subfolders in standard folders are supported. Standard means may be used for file transfer between these two memory types. A disadvantage is you can't select all the files at once (each file should be selected manually), that is tiring if the number of files is big. Memory card is first necessary for saving music and images, it copes with this task well.
Picsel Viewer is one of the strengths similarly to the D600. To describe shortly, Picsel Viewer is an application that is capable of opening MS Office files (for instance, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Adobe Acrobat (PDF), graphical and video formats on the phone. All the pressure of the technology is its fast action, opening a 20 MB PDF file will take about a couple of seconds, then you can quickly scroll pages, scale them, rotate. No editing capabilities, only viewing, but that is enough sometimes, especially considering there is no need in extra converting for the mobile phone.
Besides viewing data on the screen, an image may be sent to external sources, for instance, a TV-set, projector. A TV-OUT cable is included into the kit. One end of the cable is miniUSB and another one is three "tulips" for connecting to external sources. I had a TV-set as an external source. Put all the cables in and connect to the phone. And here it is! The menu is shown on the TV screen, moving along the phone menu you see your actions on the screen. Besides Picsel Viewer documents, you can view any standard applications, full-screen video (pixels are seen too much for 3GP files, the resolution is still improper), photos, play games if you like to. A TV-set not only represents the picture but reproduces the sound from the phone.
Productivity. All three Jbenchmark test packages provided no surprises. The phone productivity is higher than in the Samsung D800 (a hardware copy) due to lower resolution. The model should be called an intermediate considering operating speed. It has no problems, however is not a sprinter.
The connection quality is high and rouses no complaints, which is typical of modern phones. The loudspeaker provides with a clear noiseless sound. The volume of the 64-tones polyphonic alert is average. However mp3 melodies sound enough loud to be heard from a noisy street. The power of vibra is average.
SWF files are not supported. EDGE mode is indicated with a red GPRS sign. The function roused no cavils. The phone really can pretend on the D600's role in the clamshell form-factor. Only lower resolution and a usual camera (1.3 against 2 MP) are those real differences. Other characteristics are on the same level or better (hardware player buttons, a capability to minimize it, some extra settings). So, Samsung E770 seems to be elimination of errors and adding pleasant trifles. We consider it a pleasant fact that Picsel Viewer is getting mass. Samsung has made this office document browser standard for its middle and high-end products.
The phone is to appear in the end of January for about 400 USD, which can make it a very demanded solution in its segment. The model is capable of competing with models of any maker, as it has no rivals in its form-factor. And only in the beginning of the summer a similar solution by Nokia on the platform 40 version 3 will appear on the market. The discussed model is extremely good and interesting both functionally and from the design point of view. That is just a pleasant phone.
P.S. The model is be renewed in the second half of 2006 and will be equipped with a QVGA screen, radio, better interface and probably a fully functional mail client. And now it represents a very interesting replacement for Samsung E720/E700/E710, which is a natural continuation of the line. I will stress again that the model has no direct rivals still.
Published 02 December 2005
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