Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review Samsung S500
According to price and phone capabilities Samsung S500 is aimed to middle class users. This phone doesn’t have new features, they all similar to the features of such phones as S300 and T400. S500 will be available only in the beginning of summer on the market, what makes the phone not very attractive for users. But the price of this handset changes the situation. Namely Samsung S500 will be the cheapest phone, which has standard features, from this company. Let’s see them in details.
Phone dimensions are comparable with any modern phone (80õ43õ22mm). It seems to be even smaller as the phone has a small width. The handset weighs 80 grams. It’s not much and the phone is handy. It’s very easy to open the phone with one hand, the phone construction enables to do it without problems.
An external screen has a resolution of 96õ64 pixels, what allows to display up to 2 text lines and a service line. It is a monochromic display with pale-yellow backlighting. The information is quite visible in all lighting conditions. The reason, why the phone is equipped with this kind of screen, is obvious – reducing of prime costs.
You can find a portable handsfree connector on the left-hand side of the phone; lower there is a double volume key. IrDa is placed on the left-hand side. As usual, system connector is seriated on the bottom of the phone.
When you open the phone, you can see an internal TFD-65K-screen, which has a resolution of 128õ160 pixels. The display contains up to 5 text lines and 3 service lines. The font size is rather large and can’t be scaled.
Phone keypad is made of plastic. All keys are deeply placed into the phone, although they are very comfortable. Alphanumerical keys are well-spaced and response well to commands. Another shape of soft-keys and navigation key doesn’t spoil phone ergonomics.
As always few words about the battery. This phone has a lithium-ion battery of 800 mAh capacity. Manufacturers declared that it provides up to 160 hours of stand-by time and 2.5 hours of talk time. In reality the phone operated about 4 days in case of 45 minutes of talking and 30 minutes of using other applications (organiser, alarm-clock, games). Time of full battery charging is about 2 hours.
Menu structure is typical to phones from Samsung. A main menu looks like a row of submenus, which consist of menu items lists. A shortcut number navigation is available. Let’s turn to the main features.
Phonebook. You can enter a phonebook if you press right soft-key in the stand-by mode. Then, you see a list of menu items. “Name search” is the first item in the list. You can view phones from both SIM-card and phone memories simultaneously. It is possible to add up to 5 phone numbers (mobile, home, office, fax and other), e-mail address to one entry. Besides, you can sort all phone numbers to groups. Totally, one can create and name up to 5 caller groups (+ one more group – “Without group”). A special melody can be also assigned to each entry.
When you view an entry, you can see only a title and 1 phone number. The other information will be available when you move to the other bookmark. Unfortunately, you can’t view the whole list, though sometimes it is the easiest way to find a phone number. Up to 8 phone numbers can be assigned to speed dialing. Totally, up to 500 phone numbers, not entries can be stored in the phone memory.
Messages. The phone supports EMS standard and concatenated messages (up to 918 characters). There is a set of pre-installed small (22 pictures) and animated pictures (24 pictures) to attach them in the message. Besides, you can send melodies via SMS. Up to 50 messages can be stored in the phone memory, but SIM-card memory is also available to keep them.
There is a new capability concerning text input. Now you while creating a message, you can call a submenu, where you could select another language, and continute write a message. As a result, you can create a message, written in several languages. It’s interesting that predictive text input (T9) is available for all menu languages. For example, there is a Russian menu in the phone, hence, we can find a Russian text input (T9).
Call lists. Nothing new here. There are lists of missed, received and dialed phone numbers with time and date indication. Up to 10 phone numbers can be stored in each list. A total duration counter is absent in the phone, but separate timers of dialed and received calls are available.
Sound settings. One can select a ringing tone (up to 44 polyphonic melodies and animal voices are available) in this menu. The phone supports 40-tones polyphony and has a very loud ringer.
There are several types of incoming alert: just sound, just vibrating alert and a mixed mode (firstly, vibrating alert and then a sound). One of 10 pre-installed tones can be chosen for SMS messages. You can also switch a minute minder, which works in a talking mode and set a tone, which is played while connecting with the other phone side.
Phone settings. There are 5 new nice animated screen savers in this model. The other surprise is a possibility to select a font type, which is displayed on the screen in the standby mode and text line position (above or below). Color schemes of the menus and other displays settings are also placed here.
A pleasant feature is that you can assign an action to a side volume key. For example, you can mute a sound while incoming call.
Organizer. Current month is displayed as a calendar. You can add a reminder (up to 100 characters) to certain days. It’s interesting that number of events is displayed on the screen. Days, which have notes, are indicated by a color.
To-do list. You can add notes concerning your business, set a priority level (high, low, usual) and copy these notes to a calendar.
Date and time. You can view a world time in cities and set current local time and date.
Alarm-clock. There are two alarm-clocks here: recurrent and the one, which can ring only once. Both alarm-clocks can work when the phone is switched off.
Calculator is simple but it makes the job.
A unit converter allows converting different units. It is very useful function, especially in the trips.
There are also countdown timer and stopwatch with intermidiate results in the phone.
Fun box. It is possible to activate IrDa here. There are also GPRS and WAP settings in this menu. They are rather simple. In Media Box you can find all downloaded melodies, images and animated pictures as well.
There are several pre-installed games in the phone: Honey Ball, Go! Hamster and Bowling. The last game became more functional and captivate in this model. Now you can select a hero and a ball, which is used.
Reception quality is typical for the phone from Samsung. A volume of the loudspeaker is also excellent. The phone is heard even in noisy conditions. Vibrating alert is average. It’s easy to choose a nice melody as the phone supports 40-tones polyphony.
Generally speaking, S500 is a cutting version of S300. We’ve already mentioned that this model is aimed to a middle class and as a result the price will be rather low. First time the phone will cost about 300 USD, later it would fall down to 250 USD or less. It would be the first clamshell phone, which has 40-tones polyphony, color screen of such quality and such price. Other capabilities, such as IrDA, GPRS become standard functions for the Samsung’s phones. S500 would be available on the European market in the beginning of summer, may be in July.
Published 04 March 2003
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