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Review of GSM-handset Samsung E780
It may seem we have just another ordinary slim clamshell on our hands, yet it isn’t the whole truth: fortunately this model is powered by the same engine as Samsung D600 and flaunts a whole lot of software fixes, improving experience. The E780 clearly puts it, what the real goal of Samsung in improving the major functions is.
The handset’s design copies that found on other up-to-date folding phones – black trim veils all peculiarities of the casing. Naturally, it’s a sticking point of all RAZR-wannabe devices, as their appearances are very alike – e.g. demonstrate the E780 and the Z540 to a man wide of mobile solutions market, and he is likely to find no sharp distinctions. The same goes to comparison with the slim smartphone by HTC running StarTrek platform. To cut a long story short, if you are going out with the phone, don’t expect to get into the limelight. However some users noted, that this kind of design appeal to their taste – who knows, may be exactly in this seemingly casual design the golden mean of the mass market is found?
The E780 measures 90.8õ46õ22.8 mm and weights, thus yields to the RAZR thickness wise. Well-familiar proportions make this model appealing – all in all it can be carried anywhere, and that’s a major plus.
All managing elements are also on their usual positions – the front holds the lens of 2 Mpix camera module and an external screen, which always meets you with two lines: the former one stands for current time and the latter one – for service icons. On event triggering or incoming call the display goes live and you see a pre-set wallpaper or watches (digital or analog, it’s up to you). The resolution of the screen is 80õ64 pixels and consequently the diagonal measures 1 inch, it’s capable of reflecting up to 65 K colors (TFT) – appears quite common for all today’s gadgets, isn’t it? Due to low resolution provided, the pictures look somewhat unnatural, yet not that bad as it could be. The screen fades in the sun, but only a little, provided that you have found the right angle.
The plate beneath the screen houses media player keys, while two loudspeakers for playing back alert sounds are placed a bit lower. The left side features two-way volume control key, on the right – camera shortcut button and interface connector. The strap slot is located towards the upper rim’s edge.
The handset readily exposes its internal display and mirror framing round it should you open. Basically this surface gets soiled extremely fast, yet I find it very sympathetic, talking of outlook, especially when the display is turned on.
The internal display provides a resolution of 176õ220 pixels (32õ40 mm), 2 inches diagonal and 262 K colors (TFT). The screen is the company’s own technology and is rather good by its characteristics and holds up to 12 text lines with the minimal font size applied. A picture is sharp, vivid and very bright. The screen does not fade in the sun much, so that information remains readable.
The keypad almost exactly copies that applied in the recent devices and has the appearance of small plates, combined in horizontal line. Considering all this similarity, it has acquired a very important advantage over it predecessors – fair level click sensation in order to enhance your experience. I can hardly find a serious drawback which I would be unhappy with – everything seems to be fine with the keypad. All keys are evenly backlit with white light and are clearly distinguishable in any conditions.
The model makes use of a standard Li-Ion battery having capacity of 800 mAh; the battery of the higher capacity is not provided. According to the manufacturer it works for 180 hours in the standby mode and up to 3 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the devices worked for about 2 days in case of 1 hour of talks and 20 minutes of other functions use. The maximum operating time is 3 days in case of few talks. Full recharge time is 2 hours.
The main menu is represented in the only way - as a matrix of icons. All submenus are lists. You can select of a list of functions to assign to the navigation button. Moving navigation key up brings up MyMenu option, to be precise it’s a list of functions you draw on your own out of the variety of incorporated capabilities. Fast number navigation through the menus is also on place. The handset retains 65 Mb of dynamic memory without memory expansion slots available.
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, other) 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.
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 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 displayed not on the full screen, but on a part of it, nevertheless having rather large size.
Call list. 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, as well as duration can be seen for separate files. Calls from/to one number are summarized and a number against the call specifies the number of calls. Time for each of them can be obtained in detail menu. As always, the overall time of the calls and their prices can be viewed in this menu (this service has to be installed).
Messaging. 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. T9 functions very well and is quick and easy to use. At the last stage you are able to pick telephone numbers the message will be sent to both from the phonebook, recent calls list and groups. The manufacturer has made it a rule to integrate black list function, so that all correspondents found on this list will be banned, in other words their messages will be automatically deleted.
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.
The built-in mail client isn’t full of functionality, yet offer fairly standard set of options. Attachments are supported there, though there is no way you can send a mail with content more than 300 Kb in size and receive a message with files exceeding 5 Mb.
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 weekly and the monthly calendar are very convenient with each type of the event having its own color.
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, however, that is typical of the two others also. For each of the alarm clocks there is a selection of five melodies but also mp3 compositions can 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 Ñonverter, 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.
WAP. There is a WAP-browser version 2.0 similar to some phones by Nokia and Sony Ericsson using http protocol. Although it’s feature-packed, it would make more sense if you replace it with Opera Mini.
Applications. 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. The bit rate of the files is not that important since the phone accepts all the possible formats.
Of extra possibilities, pay attention to sound transmission to earphones via Bluetooth – the corresponding profile has been introduced to the latest Samsung’s models and I’m positive, you will find it very useful.
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 selection from classic, rock, jazz and normal). The tracks can be played through the stereo headset as well as through the speakerphone. The volume is of ten divisions. The user is welcome to create play lists of his/her own. Nearly 65 MB of the memory are kept for the mp3 compositions. The player cannot work in background mode.
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 to one hour in duration. All the files are kept in a separate folder in the memory. The recorder can function well during the lectures, conferences, and presentations. The phone is a partial substitute for a digital tape recorder.
Java World. 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 six installed games on the handset: Forgotten Warrior, Arch Angel, Freekick, Asphalt Urban GT, Block Breaker DeLuxe, Lemmings. Entertainment wise the handset looks pretty appealing.
Pictures Editor. It is a simple editor which helps you to make some simple pictures transformation and putting effects.
Voice commands. The handset retains independent voice recognition system, providing possibility to dial telephone numbers stored in the phonebook without having to practice beforehand. This holds true for device managing, menu browsing, battery status, etc. This function works only with English version of firmware and is more likely to be excluded in models for several national markets.
My files. All the 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.
Settings. That is traditional that you are allowed to choose font color in the standby mode, protect any section of the phone with a password (messages, short messages, organizer and so on). You may set the time for backlighting on and its brightness.
Voice Clarity function, packed into the handset, allows increasing voice transmission quality when talking in environments with much noise. In other words, it’s a kind of an equalizer.
Even though the handset lacks profiles system (what is quite unusual for a Samsung-branded device), the receiving part can be switched off. In Security settings sub-menu you can set password on certain content stored on the phone.
Random wallpapers change on both internal and external displays turns out to be very appealing; no matter how hard I try I cannot find similar solutions by other manufacturers. The wallpapers may have various grade of transparency and pop up in any menu. Should you wish for it, you can switch this option off.
Telephone number’s font size is adjusted by user. The backlighting turn on and off in accordance with set time spans, so that it can be inactive for the time of solar day.
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.
Synchronization with PC. Synchronization using a cable or bluetooth is supported. You may download the special software Easy Studio 3.0 for these goals from the company's web site.
Camera. Samsung E780 has a 2 Mpix CMOS camera module with a default interface for the latest Samsung’s products embedded. The image may be turned vertically; shutter’s sound is also adjustable. The desired quality of shots is set in the menu - Super Fine, Fine, Normal, Low. ISO parameter varies from 100 to 1600; however I found it somewhat better to keep the default value. White balance has several options to pick from, Auto is set by default.
When taking a photo in maximum resolution (1600õ1200 pixels), the shot is processed for about 2 seconds. The handset lacks both auto-focus and macro mode capabilities. If you are shooting in sunny weather, the output shots are of excellent quality, at that should you be capturing image against the sunlight, the camera focuses on the brightest parts of the picture. Quality wise, the phone is an even match for Nokia N70, on top of that their specifications are equal, but the device withdraws in the face of Sony Ericsson K750 and Nokia N90.
There is a number of special effects provided in the device – Gray scale, Negative, Sepia, Emboss, Sketch, Antique, Moonlight, Fog.
The text found on the photos takes with Samsung E780 is easy to read.
For all shots taken in the 320x240 pixels, you are at liberty to apply default or any uploaded frames. The flash module works both in auto and manual modes. The self-timer can be set to trigger in 3, 5 or 10 seconds.
Lacking several significant capabilities, like macro mode and auto-focus, the handset still provides multi shot mode, letting you take images in series containing 6, 9 or 15 images – in each of these cases shutter speeds is set to normal or fast values. Finally, the handset can take mosaic pictures (2õ2, 3õ3).
The effects set found in single photo mode holds true for video recording. The maximum resolution of video clips is 176õ144 pixels at 15 fps. The same four grades of quality as in photo section are implemented in video capturing menu. Generally speaking, on the phone’s display, the video looks fine. The length of clip is unlimited with nothing, but available storage (up to 1 hour, according to the timer).
Unlike the predecessors and Samsung D600, the maximum resolution the video can be captured in has been somewhat reduced – obviously, it is made in order to present several solutions with the same understated function, so that they won’t look out of place.
The receiving quality is on a fair level, and doesn’t rouse censure. The volume of 64 tone polyphone is the highest one among all phones residing in the modern market, therefore be sure you won’t miss a single call if all ring tones are on. Silent alert is rather average or even a bit stronger than that, so you can normally feel it in most of the cases. The settings affecting the silent alarm allow turning it on simultaneously with a ring tone.
The E780 cannot show off extraordinary specs, it’s rather a solid medium-end solution with a couple of appealing capabilities, namely these are automatic wallpaper change and various menus’ outlook adjustments. Nevertheless don’t look for making an MP3 player out of this unit – it doesn’t possess memory extension slot, and consequently is useless in this field. The provided camera module is pretty good, allowing you to acquire average shots quality, which is on the same line with Motorola RAZR V3x or LG P7200. EDGE class 10 support adds a whole lot of points in potential users’ opinion, but the truth is, the handset is a bit too late with the release, and therefore there are a number of propositions capable of offering even more functionality – starting with Motorola RAZR V3i, LG P7200 and ending with solutions that are still to be released.
On the Russian market the model is to be distributed only via “Svyaznoi” retail stores, nonetheless it may appear on the shelves of others’ major distributors. Due to being an exclusive offering, the handset is more likely to be sold for 500-550 USD, and that’s quite much in light of the fact the same gadget costs 350-400 Euro in Europe, depending on given region. All in all, the model looks attractive, provided that you find the design fitting. For those, who are looking for a grandly feature packed handset, this unit is more likely to be absent on their short list, since it lacks possibility of minimizing applications, radio set, and video capturing option is inferior to the current Samsung’s sliders. Thus if you come and think of this, the device arises rather conflicting feelings.
Published 04 May 2006
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