Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review of GSM-handset Samsung X650
Samsung has made it a rule to release its entry-level models one after another. But why not? These devices are always in demand, and there is no need in inventing cutting-edge technologies to create a successful representative of this class. The recipe is simple: bring some freshness to the design, add a function, cut the other, and that’s it – a new handset. Today we are putting our hands on one of the phones made using this formula, namely Samsung X650.
The handset have the appearance of a clamshell without an external display, yet FM-radio and a VGA camera are meant to somehow compensate this. The model looks pretty austere: slightly curved edges, black trim of the shell – this handset is target to appeal to wide audience for sure, no matter whether it’s a man or a woman. The dimensions are reasonable (87x44x20.6 mm, weight 80 grams), so the phone will nicely fit in your palm, and easily go in your shirt’s or jeans’ pocket.
The casing of the device is made entirely of top-quality plastic, thus I can hardly find a fault with the assembling. The surface itself is smooth to the touch, yet it doesn’t get soiled.
The left side plate holds headset jack, covered by a plastic stub, here a double key assigned to volume adjustment finds its place – this allocation cannot be called smart, as while talking you are to find it blindfolded. The right side features the camera key, Infrared port is positioned towards the bottom end. The upper rim has an eye for a strap, and the lower one – interface connector, protected by another plastic stub, sticking to the casing itself.
The upper cover meets you with a common solution, applied almost to all Samsung-branded phones, which makes them easily recognizable – it’s a glossy framing with the company’s logo engraved on it. This very framing also homes a service indicator, camera lens, deepened in the casing, and beneath it a small mirror for self-portrait is found.
Opening the device doesn’t cause any negative experience, to make it even handier, the manufacturer made a small hollow along the perimeter of the shell. Having opened the handset, you will discover a small-sized UFB screen capable of providing a resolution of 128x169 pixels (28x35 mm) and reflecting up to 65 K colors. For an entry-level model, the picture looks rather sharp, yet it is still inferior to phones adopting a TFT display.
A standard for Samsung keypad layout is applied. A small 4D button with an "Ok" one centered in it is comfortable in use and rather large. Two soft keys of medium size are also very handy in operations. All buttons on the device, saving for the navigation key are made of rubber, they are easy to press and have moderate click sensation.
The numeric keys are located right up to each other, although thanks to their size and the material used, you won’t experience any nuisances with wrong presses. In order to make your experience even better the upper keys row is a bit prominent, while the line at the bottom has a small ledge. This solution makes the keypad look pretty, though the main thing about it is comfort. The backlighting is bright-blue and evenly spread over the keypad, so that all symbols can be easily distinguished in any lightning conditions.
Almost the whole back part of the phone is taken by an 800 mAh Li-Ion battery. The battery, to the constructors’ credit be it said, is fixed firmly, exposing no gap, yet the only inconvenient thing is they way it is placed in the slot – in order to install the battery you will need certain skills. In the condition of Moscow MTS network the device worked for about 3 days in case of 15-20 minutes of talks and about 20 minutes of other functions. When load level is increased by 2 hours of listening to radio and more intensive operation with other functions, life time drops down to 2 days. Full recharging takes about 2 hours
The main menu of the device is standard for last models by the company and represents a 3õ3 matrix. A portrayal of menu's icons is good, icons are animated. Submenus are presented as vertical lists. There is fast navigation with the help of number sequences. You can assign fast aññess to various menu items from standby screen to the navi key press.
The handset has about 3 Mb of dynamic memory incorporated.
Phonebook is accessed only by pressing the right functional key in the standby mode, otherwise through the main menu. The phone memory can keep about 1000 numbers. Any number of phone numbers (you can select even its type - mobile, work, home) and e-mail addresses (up to 50 characters) can be assigned to each user. Besides this each contact may be associated with a picture or a photo, and also with a melody of a ring tone. You may add a contact to one of ten callers group
The device has five contact groups, each of them can be renamed (20 symbols maximum), assigned to an image or a shot and also a personal ring tone.
Contact search letter by letter is carried out. Both data from the internal memory and SIM-one is represented. Fast dialing for 8 numbers is present. At incoming call a photo assigned to a contact is shown only on the internal display, almost full-screen.
Messaging. About 200 messages can be kept in the phone's memory. Since this handset supports EMS standard, it provides a preset of small pictures, animations and melodies. Besides, you will find a set of emotion icons, which will be suitable if a recipient's phone has no EMS support. You can also create about 10 own templates. Besides, you are allowed to attach calendar events, contacts from the phonebook and wap-links. Predictive text input T9 is supported. When in typing mode, font size (small, medium, large) and style can be adjusted to your liking. Multi-messaging to 20 numbers at once is also on-board.
MMS editor is plain and clear, for your comfort special pictures are kept besides explicative tips. The maximum size of an outgoing message cannot exceed 95 KB.
Call list. Standard lists (up to 30 numbers in each) of incoming, outgoing and missed calls are stored here. Calls from the same numbers are not summarized, but shown separately. Pressing a name/number, you see the number itself, date and time of call. Call counters are exactly here.
Organizer. In the phone's memory it is possible to keep up to 100 events of four existing types - "meeting", "business", "anniversary", and "misc". For each record you may set date and time, and alarm tune.
In a calendar only monthly viewing is possible. Those dates which have records are marked with color, everything is very representative.
A dictaphone allows recording both in the standby mode and during a conversation (activated only through the menu). Each entry is limited only by amount of available storage space, that you can set the cap of 2 minutes (for an MMS).
Alarm clock. Three separate alarm clocks are used in the phone - once, recurrent and daily. You are allowed to set own melody for each.
World time is displayed for two selected cities, everything is plain and visual.
In the same menu there is a measure converter, stopwatch with intermediate values and countdown timer.
Fun box. Browser. Here is a WAP-browser version 2.0.
Multimedia. This section homes folders with shots, pictures and sounds.
Java. The device supports Java MIDP 2.0 and has two games installed – a puzzle Bubble Smile and an arcade Snow Ball Fight. All additional applications can be installed through WAP services.
FM-radio. This service works only with a handsfree set plugged in, which performs an external antenna. Sound is directed to the headset itself or the loudspeaker at your choice. Reception quality is average, the function has auto-search option, though you better do it manually. The handset’s memory may store up to 30 stations at a time.
Camera. There is a built-in VGA-camera in the device. The camera can take pictures of the following resolutions: 640x480, 320x240, 160x120 and 128x120 pixels. Besides it is possible to expose compression quality: super fine, fine, normal, economy. While shooting, it is possible to take advantage of one of 8 effects. Multi shot mode is also on its place – 9 or 15 frames, taken at pre-set intervals, the device also embeds high and normal procession speeds.
The camera's quality is average; more or less good pictures can be received only at good illumination, otherwise it is rather difficult to determine what the photo represents. All shots are transferable to a PC or any other external device via Infrared.
In a picture album you can view pictures both as thumbnails (9 pictures are displayed simultaneously) and one by one in a full screen mode..
Sound setting. Here you will find all options and checkbox that have something to do with the sound. Unfortunately the phone doesn’t support profiles system, thus all settings are changes via this very menu only. You can set one of the following as alert type: light indication only; vibration alarm only; tune only; vibro and then tune.
Network Services. No wonder that here you will discover settings regarding your current network settings.
Settings. All standard handset settings are located right here – through this menu you are at liberty to alter the wallpaper, by default the phone offers 5 pre-installed pictures, yet you can upload some more images. It’s possible to pick one of the provided color themes of the menu, as to the other options, brightness and contrast are also set here, as well as numbers’ color when dialing a number.
The section also holds an Infrared with two options available – either connection to a PC or another mobile terminal.
The phone provides good connection almost under any condition. Both loudspeaker's volume and microphone sensitivity are on a good level. The 40-tones polyphony sounding is wholly satisfactory. Call signal volume is higher than average. However the power of vibra is lower than it should. A speakerphone is also present and works without a problem.
Presence of FM-radio set, built-in camera and Java support, combined with appealing design and portability, are more likely to attract youth’s attention. It’s a pity, of course, that the manufacturer hasn’t materialized MP3 tunes support. Absence of video recording looks strange, although I think they just don’t want to raise competition within its own product line.
The model is scheduled to appear in retail stores in the end of May – beginning of June of 2006 at an approximate price of 200-220 USD. Still, taking into account all the abovementioned advantages, this one will encounter serious difficulties with gaining popularity, since this market is crowded with other manufacturers’ models and the competition is incredibly tough.
Published 20 April 2006
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