Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review Samsung S100.
After T100 entered the market Samsung launched a new model with advanced features - Samsung S100. It is aimed to that group of consumers who was lack of package data exchange, Java, IR-port and a third band (GSM 1900). Naturally, more features caused some changes in a design of the handset. S100 looks like many other modern folder type phones, only a form of body resembles the shell-form of T100. The dimensions of the phone are 89x46x23mm, in my opinion it's a little bit thick. The handset weighs 99g. When you hold it in hand you feel the weight but it doesn't tiresome. As always the phone is available only in one colour - Silver.
It doesn't very comfortable to wear the phone in the pocket of the trousers because of the external antenna but today it's not a problem. A standard antenna can be substituted by the other one, which has the same quality and gains the dimensions. This site, for instance, offered such operation. On the photo below you can see a result of a replacement.
When the phone is closed you can see an external display, such information as time and data, a battery level and a signal level is displayed there. A display has a resolution of 96x64 pixels, the backlighting is blue. In the standby mode when the backlighting is switched off the screen is playing green. It resembles holographic displays from Motorola. One can adjust the contrast of the external display from the menu, though I don't think it will be an often used feature. Above the display there is a service indicator light, the colour of it can be changed (one of the 7).
A handsfree connector is placed on the upper side of the handset. By the way, a handsfree loudspeaker is contained in the standard kit. On the left-hand side you can find an IR-port, a double volume key is over it. A system connector is positioned on the bottom of the handset.
When we open a phone we see an internal display. It is rather large, the resolution is 128x60 pixels. A display can contain up to 7 text lines (up to 16 characters each), a service line and explanations to the soft-keys in the bottom line. A screen is displayed up to 65000 colours. But don't be very optimistic, a picture on the screen is out of colours, if compare it with T100, which supports only 4096 colours. Why? Just because of different technological methods, T100 has a TFT matrix and S100 has STN matrix. All shortcomings of STN matrix are already known. First of all, a small viewing angle, I don't advise you to tilt the phone, otherwise the screen will be black. Second, it's better to look at the screen at the specific angle, then all the colours will be bright. Finally, the information on the screen is not clearly visible in the sunny weather. There are no such problems indoors.
A key-pad is placed on the bottom part of the phone. Under the screen there is a 4-directional navigation key which is surrounded by soft-keys. All keys are plastic, they are well-spaced and easily typed. It's pleasant to work with such phone. You can see rubber corks on the bottom part of the phone, they protect the screen from the contact with the key-pad.
Engineers took into account that the phone had many functions and decided to supply it with a battery of maximal capacity (Li-Ion, 900 mAh). According to the manufacturer, a battery can work up to 8 hours in the talking mode and up to 180 hours in the standby mode. In reality the autonomy reached 3 days in case of 40 minutes of talking (Beeline GSM Network) and using of different applications (about 2 hours). It's not bad for the phone with a polyphonic ringer tones and a color display. A time of recharging is about 2,5 hours.
A second lithium-ion battery of 720 mAh capacity is also included in the standard kit. It could work approximately 2 days. So it seems to me that an autonomy is more than sufficient.
A menu structure is traditional, a main menu is a list of items with animated icons, and all submenus are also represented as lists of items. The screen can contain not all titles of the menu items, then they are automatically scrolled. All items are numbered to navigate with shortcut numbers. A main menu can be represented in two ways: either with wallpapers or as folders. There is a possibility to change a menu design, you can change colours of the titles and background.
A navigation key is used to quick access to the chosen items (up to 4 items).
Let me describe the main features of the phone.
Phone book. You can store up to 500 phone numbers in the phone book. Up to 3 numbers (home, office and mobile) and e-mail address can be added to one entry. When you create a new contact, you are offered, firstly, to choose a phone number type and then to enter it. Auxiliary numbers can be entered from the edit submenu, not at once. Such arrangement has both advantages and disadvantages. It depends on how often you enter contacts with one phone number.
You can organized your contacts in the caller groups. A special ringing tone and a special icon can be associated with each group.
In the phone list all numbers (from the phone memory and Sim-card memory) are displayed. The handset provides a find option by name. You can just type a first letter and a first name matching your input will be displayed, then you can type the next letter and so on. A similar find option exists in every caller group. You can setup a speed dialing for 8 phone numbers. Unfortunately, though it's a little bit strange, there is no voice dialing in S100.
Messages. It's possible to keep up to 50 messages in the phone memory and it is not by chance, this phone supports a EMS standard. So the handset has a good set of icons, melodies, sounds and animation. A rather unusual set of smiles is also placed here. Funny faces have now a body.
The other features are standard: a predictive text input T9 for English, a possibility to create up to 5 own templates.
Call records. Traditionally, the lists with last 20 received, 20 dialed and 20 missed calls are under this menu. You can view a date and a time for each call. A peculiarity of the phone is that the same numbers are not doubled in the list, a phone number moves up and a new time and date are indicated. It is the most convenient structure for the vast majority of users.
Tone. You can set various ringing tones to personalize you r phone: one of the 6 bells, one of the 8 animals voices (horse, dog, birds and so on), one of the 31 melodies. Melodies are different - modern and classical, it can satisfy all needs. I think you will be delighted by them, taking into consideration that the phone has polyphonic melodies and a loud sound.
Settings. You can set language, wallpaper (by default phone has 22 animations). In this menu you can tune screen brightness.
Organizer. Several applications are placed under this submenu.
The first one is the calendar. You can add one event for each day, to add more you should copy a note of the other day, it's not handy. Here you can also view a calendar by month. Days with events are highlighted and you can quickly move to the date you selected.
A to-do list supplements possibilities of the calendar. This submenu allows you to write a job list, set a priority type (high, low, normal). Notes can be copied to the calendar.
Time and date. Here you can setup a time and date, check the current time in many cities (a world tome feature).
Alarm-clock. You can set the alarm to ring at a specific time (once, daily or weekly (from Monday till Friday or from Monday till Saturday)).
There is also a calculator and a convert currency in the phone.
Network Service. All settings concerning network services are placed here.
Funbox. This submenu allows you to use your phone as Web-browser via WAP (version 1.2.1). There are also three preloaded games here: two arcades (in the air and in space) and one Tamgotchi. The latter is not very interesting, rather monotonous.
Java-games are more captivating. You can download them to the phone (about 300 Kb of memory space is allowed). My test sample contained such games as bowling, hexa and midpman.
Two more items - sounds and pictures are positioned in this submenu too. All loaded files are kept here.
A standard kit contains a cable to synchronize a phone with PC (RS232) and a disk with software (GPRS Wizard and Easy GPRS). The first application enables to connect a phone to the Internet to package data exchange. There is a special switch on the cable for the data mode. Turn it on in the position "data" while synchronizing. The second application is more interesting. It enables to edit phone book and short messages on the PC, compose melodies and download them to the phone. You can also download your own images to the handset. A disk contains a large amount of ringing tones and images. The current problem of the software is impossibility to download more than one melody to the phone. We hope this drawback will be abolished later.
GPRS works good but you need a bit of practice with the settings.
Field tests showed an excellent sound quality. There were no missed words. S100 can be compared to other phones from Samsung by the connection quality. A loud volume of the polyphonic ringing tone was surprising. It resembles simple ones. The ring can be heard even in noisy places. Playing games, you will attract attention because sound accompaniment is of high quality. A vibrating alert is average, you can feel it in the pocket of your jacket but not in the bag.
A phone shows good and correct work while incoming call when you play a Java-game. It was really very pleasing to see. An information about the call is displayed and the phone asks you whether you answer or not. After a talk you can continue playing.
A display has a high quality. It doesn't have such colours as T100 has, but nevertheless it is one of the best phones with a colour display. Animated screen savers can be particularly appreciated.
A presence of disk with a software, extra melodies and wallpapers is one more advantage of the tested handset. Unfortunately the software doesn't always work stable.
An expected price of the phone which will be launched in September is 550$. As for me, it's not a reasonable price for the phone of this class. For example, SonyEricsson T68i with better possibilities costs about 400$. But Samsung S100 is a top model of all phones from Samsung and it doesn't have any contenders in its market segment. These factors allow the manufacturers to overcharge the price. You can buy S100 if you need a package data exchange, IR port and Java-applications. If you need only a polyphonic ringing tone and a colour display I advise you to pay your attention to Samsung T100. Its only shortcoming is a shorter working time (one day) in case of the same talking mode.
Published 04 September 2002
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