Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review Samsung E800
Samsung had recently introduced model D410 which became the first phone with slider on the GSM-market released under this brand. Before this we could only see Siemens SL55, fashion phone that had small size and interesting design. The main stumbling block was its size, the manufacturers were unable to make this phone ergonomic and provide it with good screen. All these disadvantages were fixed by Samsung, who decided to release several models similar to the above mentioned Siemens SL55 in terms of form-factor and targeted segment. I’d like to make a note that at the moment these phones will be competitors to Siemens SL65, which will soon be released on the market and will have similar specifications.
The difference between models Å800/E810/E820/E850 is the color of case, keypad and camera’s construction. In case with E810/E850 the camera is rotating, alike the way like it was done in Samsung X600. Also these models have only 6 Mb of memory. In other phones the camera is built in into backside of the slider. The phones’ sizes are almost identical, it is 87x44x23 mm, the phone is sinking in one’s palm, it is very small. The main reason for this is the form-factor, since the very same size is typical for clamshell phone and does not amaze anyone. Here, because of the case, rounded corners the phone looks smaller than it actually is. The weight is 86 grams that is typical for modern phones.
The ergonomics of each model is not perfect since the keypad is located on the lower block, and the upper row is located too close to the upper part of slider. When you are dialing the number – you will most likely accidentally touch the slider, but there amazingly low chance that you will press one button instead of other. There are no problems with pressing keys on the lower row, although they are closely placed to each other. Some might not like this, or consider this not very convenient. The other disadvantage is related to your finger’s transfer from soft-keys to the keypad, the movement from higher area to the lower is not very comfortable. On the whole reduction of size did not affect the keyboard’s ergonomics positively. Once again we see the situation with Siemens SL55, by the way, I personally found Siemens keyboard better and more convenient. The Ex0 phones can be considered as extreme miniaturization of such phones. On the other side we see Samsung D410, which keyboard is maximally comfortable, but the phone’s size is rather big. In nearest future we can expect announcements of intermediate solutions from Samsung (in terms of size), the company decided to put the main stake on this form-factor, Samsung believes that it has great perspectives on European market.
All E8x0 models are provided with auto-opening mechanism, alike the one used in Samsung D410. According to developer’s plans you just have to start moving the upper part of case, and the mechanism will complete the operation by itself. Due to small height of the phone it was impossible to fulfill this function’s true potential. It turns out that when you are starting moving the slider, you will actually finish the operation by yourself. Presence of such mechanism is not necessary. The pleasant trifle is location of rubber bolster, which is located under the screen. The thumb automatically lands on it, with its help it is a lot easier to open the phone. In the above mentioned Siemens SL55 such insert was not present, you had to put your finger on the screen which always lead to its dirtying.
The most interesting part of modern day mobile phone is the screen, it is up to its quality to define how comfortably you will be able to use the phone. It seemed that E8x0 phones are step backwards for Samsung since the screen is made by TFT-technology and can display only 65k colors. In the very same D410 the display is physically bigger and can display up to 262000 colors. The explanation is hidden inside the display’s physical size – Samsung belives that the displays of such types should be provided with 65k color support, not more. But the realization of such 65k color displays should be different from what the market has to offer at the moment, it should be better. In my opinion the screens installed in E8x0 phones can be classified as the best among the ones presented at today’s market. The picture looks lively, saturated, it is bright. The direct comparison of screen with Pantech G500 in which the manufacturer announced support of 262000 colors shows huge advantage of Samsung’s displays. Even Sharp’s matrix which are installed in Motorola’s phones are worse.
The screen’s resolution is 128x160 pixels, this allows displaying up to 5 text lines and up to 3 service text lines. The font’s size is standard for Samsung’s phones, it is pretty big and nicely readable.
The joined volume control button is located on the left side, on the right you can see the special camera button, and slightly above it – headset connector (new port type), it is covered with plastic cork. The interface connector is located in the bottom, it traditionally matches the previous models.
You can work with this phone even when it is closed, you just have to unlock the keyboard. You can also try talking when the phone is closed, too bad that your interlocutor will not hear you, since the mic is located on the bottom panel, you will have to open the slider in order to talk. It is convenient to see the call lists and read SMS messages when the phone is closed.
The camera in our model E820 is located on the back side, near the flash (in reality it is flashlight, which can be nicely used in darkness). The built-in camera has VGA-resolution, no other differences in other models can be found, all of them are the same, same amount of pretty reach set of settings is present too.
The battery plays the role of back cover for the phone, it does not have backlash. The capacity of Li-Ion battery is 700mAh, according to the manufacturer it can work up to 160 hours in stand by mode and up to 3.5 hours when you are actually talking on the phone. We were testing this phone in Moscow, our operator was MTS. The phone worked for about 2.5 dayts with 40 minutes spent for talks daily. On the whole you can expect this model to work for 2-3 days, this is common performance for Samsung’s phones. It takes slightly more than 1.5 hours for the battery to charge back up.
The SIM-Card holder is standard.
The menu’s structure is full copy of other Samsung phones, the only exception is that the interface was significantly reworked, it became more interesting, the icons are livelier. The main menu is indexed, this means that the fast number navigation is supported. The user has the ability to choose one of the three menu’s appearances: slide-mode (big icon and signature), list mode or list of icons placed in three rows. All sub-menus are presented with usual lists.
The phone has about 20mb of memory, which can be used for storing your data: photos, MMS messages, ring tones and games. The lack of mp3 file support makes such amount of free memory pleasant, but in my opinion it will not be very useful especially in the phone of such class.
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 “Search”. 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 separate contact can be assigned with custom picture, it can be either preinstalled image (for example – rich set of funny humans), or a photo, which was done by you. Of course you can bind custom ring tone, this is out of the question.
On the whole the organization of contacts viewing is different from standard Samsung models, here the movement via bookmarks in horizontal projection is used. This realization is typical for several LG phones.
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. The multimedia messages are found as standalone item in the menu. You can create several slides, the limit for outgoing messages is 100kb, incoming – 45kb. You can save up to 150 MMS messages, which theoretically allows using all phone’s memory for these needs.
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.
Dictaphone. Five voice memos can be stored, the length limit is 30 seconds for each.
The phone allows recording conversation, in order to perform this operation you’ll have to enter the menu and launch Dictaphone from it. It’s not very convenient, however this is the only way to activate it.
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.
The phone has two games preinstalled: Bubble Smile (my favorite edition of balls), as well as SnowBall – snowball fight game. These games cannot be deleted from the memory.
Camera. The phone has VGA-camera on board, and its main functions are available from the shooting mode (when the picture is refreshed in live mode). You can setup the picture’s contrast level, zoom the picture (8x digital zoom), or change its resolution. The standard functions on board are: timer, frames (rich collection, some of them are nice), effects (negative, sepia, grayscale, poster). 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 the following resolutions – VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240), QQVGA (160x120), Mobile (176x120). Four types of file compression are presented (Economy, Normal, Fine, Super Fine). 18mb of memory are dedicated to pictures, the average size of picture in High resolution and average quality is about 30-40kb. The camera is practically identical to Samsung E700. Of course recording of short movie clips is supported (MJPEG), nothing special can be said about it.
The network reception quality which is provided by this phone can be compared to any Samsung phone, it is typical, no problems were encountered. The volume of 64-tone polyphonic ring tones is high, the phone will be heard by you even if you are on a noisy street. The vibrating alert’s power is average, or just above average.
One of the phone’s advantages and strong sides is presence of built-in loudspeaker function, Samsung was not using this feature in its products until now. On the phone the realization quality is very good. The volume is enough in almost all conditions, the sound is clear. During the talk the sound in the speaker remains clear, but there is always slightly heard background noise present, this is typical for Samsung’s phones.
The phone’s disadvantage is ergonomics, the keyboard is not very comfortable when used. The rest is only advantages, good display, nicely presented interface, big amount of free memory. The E8x0 models will be released in the end of summer, their price will be around 400 dollars. The main competitor for these models will be Siemens SL65, which is made in the same form-factor. The phone’s disadvantages is worse display and polyphonic ring tones.
Published 03 June 2004
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