Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review of GSM-handset Samsung X300
As times goes by, Samsung continues widening the line-up, adopting a reference design of Samsung E700, and the low-end market share gets reinforcements on regular basis as well. Samsung X300 resides exactly in this niche, though due to alteration of the casing’s size and the materials used, it hasn’t direct resemblance to Samsung E700, one might say they share one and the same concept. The size of the handset is well-measured, as it fits in palm rather well and will suit both men and women. As to the device’s weight, it’s standard and matches weight of other mobile phones, representing this price-bracket. The handset is painted into black – the central framing is glossy, while the sides are dull. In practice, using black color usually turns out beneficial, but on the other hand, when one and the same color scheme is applied to the entire line-up, it lessens the value of the solution.
The external display matches the casing’s color – it’s an inversion monochrome screen. It’s always on, what makes it possible to display not only the status bar, but also time and date. The backlight may be activated by pressing the side buttons of volume control (in fact, budget models don’t feature them too often). The left side also holds IrDA port slot, while the right side lacks any connectors, but the audio jack (miniUSB format, however only original headsets will do). The interface connector resides in the lower part of the handset – it’s pretty wide, what is quite common for the models, coming from the previous generations.
The device can be readily opened single handedly. The internal screen features a resolution o 128õ160 pixels (28õ34 mm), this parameter is inferior the latest models by the company. At the same time, the display is made by TFT technology and is capable of displaying up to 65 K colors. The overall picture quality, provided by the screen is good, colors are vivid, though one can spot slight blur of certain pixels. The display fades in the sun, nevertheless information remains readable. The screen can hold up to 5 text lines and 3 service lines at a time. Low resolution forced the developers to enlarge font size – as a result, it’s well-distinguishable in all conditions, though it’s countervailed by the fact not all titles matches the screen’s size, therefore scrolling becomes very essential (all titles are automatically scrolled on the display).
The keypad is made of plastic with medium-sized buttons, which are set too low. Thus they won’t be right for many people, however the level of ergonomics is average on the whole, so they will not cause any deeply negative experience, and still won’t give much pleasure. The backlight is blue and is visible in various conditions.
The battery plays the role of the back cover as well, and is fixed with a single latch, but doesn’t have any gap at all. The capacity of the Li-Ion battery is 800 mAh and according to the manufacturer, possesses the life time of 300 hours when in stand-by mode or 6.5 hours of talk time. In the conditions of Moscow networks, the charge lasted for about 3 days with around 1 hour of talk time and up to 20 minutes of other functions usage (mainly games). Full recharge time of the device is around 1 hour 30 minutes.
The interface is similar to the latest models in terms of style, though should you dig a bit deeper, you will discover it’s almost alike the previous generations’ handsets. The main menu has the appearance of a set of icons with fast number navigation function available.
Phonebook. The handset’s memory can store up to 500 entries at once. A single contact can have unlimited amount of telephone numbers and an e-mail address. Each entry can be bound up with a certain contact group (there 10 of them), and assigned to a personal ring tone and image (a picture or a photo).
The general list shows the numbers, located in both the device’s memory and SIM-card. One can also conduct search by name – in order to do this, you just need to enter first letters of a required contact. The phone features the function of speed dialing (up to 9 numbers).
Messaging. In this menu item, functions for working with SMS and MMS are separated from each other. Amount of standard SMS messages, which can be stored in the phone’s memory at the same time, is 200. The user is also offered to create up to 9 editable messages templates. Since the device supports EMS, a message can have images, tunes and animation attached. The set of pre-installed files is standard with no significant differences from the other models.
Working with MMS is materialized in the device on the level of the previous devices’ generation – here you should enter a title at first, and only then the rest of the message. One can create several pages and set time intervals between them. The fonts are also adjustable (size, style, color). Maximum size of one message is capped to 90 Kb.
The memory also contains special folders for draft messages.
Call records. The handset features lists of 20 last missed and 20 lately made calls. Each entry contains time and date of call. Via this menu item you can also examine the last call’s time and overall time of all incoming and outgoing calls.
Sounds. There is 40-voice polyphony in the phone, which sounds pretty good. One can choose from several setups: ring tone only, vibration alarm only, or vibration alarm, followed by a ring tone. The other adjustments are standard: selection of alarm type for SMS and separately for MMS, minute beeps, silent mode (vibration alarm or total silence)
Settings. From this menu you can set a greeting message, but what deserves a special credit, are the screen settings – one can set animation (5 pre-installed featured in the device) as a wallpaper, at that you are at liberty to choose font style and legend location, when in stand-by mode.
It’s curious, that the display’s backlight can remain active for various intervals – there is a wide choice of values (from 15 seconds to 10 minutes) - the maximum will suit the people, who usually entertain themselves with games, so they will not need to push random keys in order to bring up the backlight again.
Brightness of the screen can take on five values.
Organiser. A new note can be entered, as they say, on air. A single note may consist of 40 symbols – once you’ve entered text, you will be offered to set alarm signal. Each single day can contain unlimited amount of notes. While viewing several entries, assigned to one day, you are forced to use scroll, as the screen can’t hold them all at once. On the whole, the Organiser is rather simple.
The handset possesses World Time function – no wonders here. The same goes to Calculator and Unit Converter. There are also Stopwatch with intermediate times, and Countdown.
The alarm clock can be set to trigger off on certain days of week, with the function for automatic device’s start up incorporated, so even when turned off, the handset will execute the program.
The sound recorder provides maximum length of 30 seconds for each entry and can be switched on in call mode. Overall number is recordings in limited to five.
Network sevices. All settings, regarding diverting and other similar functions don’t stand out.
Fun Box. Behind this tab one can find a WAP browser of version 2.0, which allows viewing color images. The handset has the support of batch communication (GPRS 4+2), which makes browsing easy.
Media Box folder contains all received images, pictures and ring tones, though the total size of this item can not exceed 300 Kb.
The handset has four games pre-installed: BubbleSmile, Fun2Link, Ultimate Golf, Mobile Chess. A separated memory slot, devoted to Java applications is 256 Kb in size.
FM-radio. The phone can have up to 10 stations preset at once. There also Pop up Alert – a kind of alarm clock, which turns the radio on upon triggering off. The quality of the radio doesn’t arise any questions, and appears to be better than the one, featured in Samsung X140.
Networking part of the handset doesn’t rouse censure – voice is always clear and loud. The volume of 40-tone polyphony is more than enough in majority of cases, and that’s a big advantage, further more, the sound quality is also on a high level. The vibrating alert featured here is average.
Among the pros, we should stress lack of MP3 ring tones support and small built-in storage size. The device is handy in operation, though doesn’t offer groundbreaking solutions – it’s just a good handset in case you need only to make and accept calls. The phone doesn’t possess any considerable software issues either, as the platform, it is powered by, is well-known and perfected. Functionality of the phone is inferior to all competitors residing in this price-bracket, as they are much more attractive, when it comes to specifications and capabilities. A major advantage of this handset is its design, though it doesn’t have anything more to offer a consumer. It will be sold at the price of around 150 USD, what means this handset is aimed at replacing such devices as Samsung X460, Samsung X480.
Published 23 March 2006
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