Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review Samsung X600
Samsung made a version of the X100, added an integrated camera and named it X600. The phone accentuates itself not only by the camera, but also by its camera flash. To be honest it’s a kind of backlight which can also be used as a torch, which along with the camera are the main differences from the X100. We can also mention a small external aerial. It was impossible to make it internal because of the integrated camera. To open the camera you rotate it manually to open it. You can take pictures of the surroundings or yourself, it handles both. We’ll describe the camera functions later, now let’s talk about the design.
We are sorry that this review resembles the X100-review as much as it does, but fact is, so does the impression of these phones. The handset has the same colour spectrum as other features from Samsung, i.e. silver edging around blue plastic, and the side faces and backside of the device are in silver. The phone looks attractive, which also was mentioned by many people who was allowed to try it out. Quality plastic obviously also plays a role, as the device appears exclusive. The edging around the speaker and the keys are silver too, and the keyboard is made of plastic. The backlight is blue and visible in both day and night conditions. The central line of keys is primarily lighted, and sometimes stops the user from reading the characters on the keys.
A four-directional navigation key with a Wap-browser button in the middle is placed under the screen a bit deeper in the phone. The key is rather small by size, and could mean problems for anyone with big hands. Therefore, we recommend you to try it before you buy it.
The dimensions of the phone are a little bit larger than other devices of this segment since this model is thicker, which at times can be felt. But overall, the device is comfortable enough(106x45x19.6 mm), and you can carry the device however you want. The phone weights 80g that doesn’t feel muchat all.
There’s a handsfree (included into the standard kit) connector on the left side of the device, The connector is covered by a rubber cap which is fastened to the casing. Our test sample didn’t have a strap holder, which allows the user to carry the device around the neck, but it seems it will appear later in the actual market version.
The IrDA is placed on the right hand side of the phone.
There’s a system connector on the bottom of the handset which is also covered by a rubber cap. You can see the speaker on the phone’s backside, which is used for sounding ring tones and other events.
The battery is a part of phone’s backside, is fixed strongly and has no backlash. The phone is equipped with a lithium-ion battery at a capacity of 800 mAh. According to the manufacturer it can provide up to 230 hours in standby mode and up to three hours of talk-time. The device we operated lasted about three days when talking 40-45 minutes and using other functions 20-25 minutes (a day). If you skip using the other functions and just talk the 40-45 minutes mentioned earlier, you really don’t get a considerable increase of operating time; just up to four days instead of three. But being a product with such a bright quality display, it has the longest operating time in its class, and it takes about two hours to recharge it.
The battery status indicator doesn’t always display remaining operating time. I.e. if you leave the phone for two days without touching it, it will still indicate that the battery is full (three points). If you then try to make a call, the indicator will decrease to one point when you’re done. Remember this phenomenon when using your phone again after leaving it on for a couple of days.
The screen is an STN-display which looks quite pale in broad daylight, but the information is still viewable. The resolution is 128x128 pixels and the physical size is rather large – 30x30 mm. It supports up to 65K colours and isn’t bad, but it isn’t quite as vivid as the colours of top models with TFD-displays. The screen is capable to display up to 4 text lines, 2 service lines and tips to the soft-keys (sms reading mode).
The main menu of the phone has the following structure: menu title, animated picture and three sub-items below each choice. Every item has its own number which makes speed navigation possible. Unfortunately, those means of navigating are only possible when having selected a function in the main menu, which is the price paid for this menu structure.
The product has an excellent localization, and there are T9 vocabularies for all menu languages. While inputting data, it’s possible to switch between them. Russian predictive text input is also available!
The phone’s interface has been considerably improved comparing to older models and the pop-up menus are made in a new style. In our opinion it looks fresh.
Phonebook. Up to a 1000 phone numbers can be stored in the phone memory. Up to five phone numbers and e-mail can be added to each name. All phone numbers can be organized in up to six caller groups. It’s possible to assign a melody or a picture to each entry. Unfortunately only pre-default pictures can be assigned, and it’s impossible to add pictures taken by a digital camera. These days it must be the main disappointment of Samsung phones.
Horizontal scrolling allows listing bookmarks and viewing the phone numbers. Both phone numbers from SIM-card and phone memory are displayed in the total list. You can search by name and need only to enter the first letters of the name to look it up.
You can set up to nine speed-dial numbers.
Messages. There are two separate choices, which allow sending/receiving SMS and MMS messages relatively. Up to 200 SMS-messages can be stored in the phone, and there are up to nine editable SMS-templates. The phone also supports EMS which enables you to add pictures, animations and melodies to your SMS. The set of files you can use are the same as on the average Samsung phone and there are no changes compared to other models..
Now it’s even more comfortable to work with MMS-messages! When you create a message, a template with fields to input text, music, picture and theme appear. You can create several pages, set the display time between them and adjust font (size, style). The maximum size of an MMS-message is limited to 80 Kb.
There is a special folder for drafts and sent messages. Memory for storing photos and MMS-messages is shared dynamically, and the total memory is about 9 MB which is more than sufficient for a phone of its caliber.
Call records. 20 missed, 20 received and 20 dialed calls can be listed in the phone. Time and date of each call is indicated in this menu. You can also view the time spent in the last call as well as total time of all incoming and outgoing calls.
Sounds. The phone supports 40-tones polyphony, which doesn’t sound bad at all! There are several modes of alerts, i.e. only sound or only vibracall finishing with a melody, but you can also select silent mode (only vibra). Other settings are pretty much standard. You can select signal tones for SMS-messages, MMS-messages and enable a minute minder which keeps the time-flying at bay when in a conversation.
Settings. Apart from choosing greeting messages, here’s where you adjust the display settings. You can set an animation (up to 5 pre-default ones) as a wallpaper, and it’s possible to select which font style to use and location of the text.
One of the four color schemes is available.
Duration of backlighting can be also altered (from 15 seconds to 10 minutes). The longest choice is probably interesting for those who like to play games, and in this case won’t have to push the keys to reactivate backlighting while playing a game. Game ON!
There are up to 15 levels of brightness in the screen.
Organizer. You can easily add a new reminder - each up to 100 characters. After inputting text, you can select one of the following categories - schedule, to-do list, call, anniversary. Depending on your choice, different actions will be available. For example, if you select a schedule, you will see a calendar, then be able to select a date and time and finally set the alarm-clock. Afterwards this record will be saved and displayed in a separate window. An almost (well) unlimited number of records can be added to each day, with totally up to 25 records of each category available. When you view several records added for one day, you can see the numbers of records input. Overall, the organizer is well-planned.
The world time functions are conventional.The same goes for the calculator, unit converter and currency converter. A countdown timer and a stopwatch with a lap-by-lap feature are also available in the phone.
The alarm-clock doesn’t support simultaneous set alarms. The user can use an autopower on/off function thus the alarm-clock is active even if the phone is switched off.
Network Services. Just settings - calls diverting, choice of operator etc.
Fun Box. A Wap-browser of the 2.0 version is located here and allows viewing of color images. The phone supports GPRS 4+2 which means you won’t have to pay much for browsing.
All received pictures, images and melodies are kept in the Media Box.
There are three pre-installed games in the phone: Honey Ball (a kind of arkanoid), Go! Hamster (you should open the picture and avoid flying animals) and Bowling. These games can’t be deleted from the memory.
A special menu choice – Java World is also placed here. There are two pre-installed Java-games there, which CAN be deleted. The first game is Snow Ball Fight. You move around on the map and throw snow balls on your enemies. The second game is well-known BubbleSmile – a nice logic game.
Up to 600 Kb can be used for Java applications which is memory space separated from the regular memory pool where photos, pictures and messages are saved.
Camera. The last menu choice. Just press the navigation key to start the camera when in standby mode. The camera manages resolutions of 640õ480, 320õ240, 160õ120, or 128õ120. You also have a choice of quality, which in turn affects memory usage: Super Fine, Fine, Normal, and Economy. The differences are considerable when comparing images of Super Fine quality (image size is about 90-95 Kb) and Economy quality (around 40 Kb).
You can view the photos in a photo album-mode as thumbnails, and write-protect the pictures you cherish the most in case you fear risking deleting them accidentally. You can manage the images and organize them in albums.
The display works as a viewfinder when taking pictures, and using the navigation key you can zoom and unzoom in the picture (5x digital zoom). Horizontal moves regulate matrix photosensitivity (from –3 to +3). The diapason is rather wide and even in rather dark conditions you can still get pretty good images.
You can select one of many frames while taking pictures. There is no graphic editor, why the effects can be used only while taking pictures. Different effects are available: black-and-white, negative, sepia, emboss, sketch. I think that the two latter effects are the most interesting – especially the second which I found very enjoyable.
On the whole the camera is quite appealing. You can transmit your photos to a PC by using the sync-software bundled with the standard kit and a cable. The notes from the organizer, phonebook, SMS and MMS-messages are also synchronised the same way. IrDA transmissions are not possible.
Integrated backlighting allows to take shots at a short distance. This feature is not very important and mostly there just for the fun of it.
The device has no problems with reception quality and the corresponding voice is audible enough in the speaker. The volume of the 40-tones polyphonic ringer is high which is a big advantage. Melodies sound nice and the vibrating alert is stronger than average.
This device will probably be in demand on the market, since the X600 is the middle segment model. The release date and features talk in favour of it, as there are currently no models with equivalent memory size, IrDA and VGA-camera in this price range, which is expected to be 275-300$ (during the first weeks), from where it will drop down to an estimated 250$. The device will be really interesting for those who need a phone with an integrated camera and a large memory pool.
Published 03 November 2003
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