Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Chinese Version of Nokia E71 – a Fake Without Nokia Logo On It
In the box:
The telephone sits in a small box (slightly bigger than the phone itself).
A lot of you must have already held phones made by Chinese factories in your hands. Strange shape, logos that you would never expect to see on one and the same device (XpressMusic-Walkman, etc.) Almost all phones have two active SIM cards and an analogue TV receiver. Some people don't even know they've bought a fake and truly believe this is a new model with a built-in TV. The phones themselves are sometimes not bad; however, garish design and horrific translation keep away potential clients. But the situation is changing for the better: as time goes by, manufacturers improve their products and start offering rather high quality phones that deserve attention.
If you ship your phone to some country, you need to work directly with the clients; should you run into a problem, you need to fix it immediately. Although people in Russia do not feel uneasy when reading something like «Call the wood log» (what seems to be a machine translation of "Call log" into Russian) in the menu; they still buy these phones. Some enterprising Chinese phone sellers use an interesting business scheme: they select a large country (say, Russia) and start selling localized phones there. The seller goes to the factory and orders a batch of phones with Russian symbols on the keys; the ludicrous Russian translation of menus is also corrected. Then follows an online store in Russian. As a rule, payments are made via PayPal or Western Union. Western Union is often a priority for sellers, as the strict Chinese government checks payments via PayPal which therefore take a long time to arrive. Friendly clients consult the sellers on how to correctly spell some particular words in the menu. Say, there is a wrong symbol on a key: the seller has no problem with going to the factory to correct the mistake. The new batch will already have the corrected keypad.
The phone looks like an almost full copy of Nokia E71; there are no strange logos like Nokla etc. The length is slightly different; however, the difference is only noticeable when comparing the two phones side by side. Thanks to the slim design, the phone fits in the pocket of jeans or a shirt really well. The build is good. The phone does not squeak in the hands; you can feel how sturdy it is.
The chromium-plated belt around the phone body and the insert under keypad are fully metallic. The back cover is also made of metal. The back cover texture is the same as in the first batches of Nokia E71. Thanks to the well-designed hooks, the back cover sits very tight. Even after dropping down the phone will not fall into pieces.
The screen is covered by glossy plastic with a front camera for video calls on top of it. Just wondering why they put this camera at all: the phone does not support 3G.
On the top end of the phone, there is a telescopic antenna of the analogue TV receiver and the ON button; on the bottom end, there is a standard Nokia-compatible charger jack (2mm). On the right side, there is a 2.5mm headset jack, volume buttons, camera / flashlight ON button and a standard microUSB connector.
On the back side, there is a 1.3 MP camera (don't believe the "8.0 MP" ad), a LED flash, a mirror for self-portraits and a speaker. The speaker location is not optimal. When the phone is lying on the table, the ring sound is muffled and distorted.
The phone measures 114x57x10 mm.
The screen leaves a dubious impression: rather good view angles, bright picture, 2.4 inch diagonal, 320x240 resolution, physical size 44 mm by 33 mm; however, the screen fades out in the sun making it really difficult to see something.
The keyboard looks exactly like that of Nokia E71; there are some differences in the location of symbols and keys.
In the standby mode you can use hot keys to quickly open an SMS, calendar, contacts list, games, video player, musical player and dictaphone. To the right of the joystick, there are dedicated keys to activate the TV and open a built-in web browser. Pushing the space bar opens the quick launch panel for multimedia applications. The keys on the original Nokia E71 are softer. On the Chinese phone you can clearly feel the click; however, there is no big difference, and you will get used to it really easily. All symbols are marked in white. This will be a great problem for neophytes, as both Latin and Cyrillic characters all look the same. One can also notice a distinctive feature of Chinese phones: the symbols do not look as neat as on the original. I asked someone who is an active user of Nokia E71 to type a text on the Chinese clone. He found no dramatic difference. Therefore, one can get used rather quickly. T9 users will have a problem: there is no T9 on this phone. So you will have to push some keys several times to select the right symbols you need. If you hold the volume buttons while typing the text, the phone will switch to ABC, abc, 123 and back into Cyrillic. The text starts with a capital letter after a full stop, question mark and exclamation mark. There is no Shift key as such. To type in CAPS you need to hold the bottom-most key and select Multitap RU from the list. To enter a comma and a full stop, you need to push "х" and "ж", accordingly. There is also a separate key that will show you all symbols available. Obviously, the developers have worked a lot on the convenience of typing: knowing Chinese phones, I expected something worse. Backlight is white, and all the symbols on the keys are clearly visible in the dark.
As you have already noticed, the phone uses a similar battery from Nokia (BL-5F, 1200 MAh). Use of 2 SIM cards, 20 minutes of watching TV, 30 minutes of phone conversions and about one hour of web browsing allowed running the phone on one charge till mid-day of the next day. You can charge from USB and from a Nokia-compatible network adapter, so you will not experience any problems with finding a way to charge your phone.
The phone has 87.7 MB of built-in memory; 82 MB are available to the user. The phone supports microSD cards. The phone comes with a 2 GB memory card. The card can only be pulled out after removing the battery.
I was pleased to realize that the phone can be charged from USB. When connecting the phone to the computer, you can select one of the following work modes:
Bluetooth. Here have a standard Bluetooth 2.0. Can be used to transmit and receive files or business cards. The following profiles are supported:
The phone is based on the MTK platform which is a common solution in this segment. Desktop in standby mode and the menu slightly resemble those in S60, but actually they nothing in common. The platform is rather fast and animation effects in the menu look smooth. Items in the menu are logically organized; however, finding the right icon may give you a hard time. After a while, though, you will be navigating in the menu without problems.
In the standby mode the screen contains 6 user-adjustable icons, information on SIM cards, calendar, standard status icons and a clock.
Contacts in the phone book are not listed in alphabetical order; however, finding the contact with a QWERTY keypad is not a problem at all. As it turned out later, the order of contacts is based on the number of symbols in the contact name; I failed to find out how to organize the contacts in alphabetical order. You can opt between showing the contacts on the selected SIM card, in the phone memory or all the contacts. The phone successfully received a contact from Nokia via Bluetooth; however, trying to transmit a large number of contacts resulted in errors. You can use special software to synchronize contacts from Outlook or manually edit them on the PC. You can assign a ringtone and photo to any user. Memory holds up to 1000 contacts. Groups are supported.
The phone has several built-in social networking applications, such as AOL, eBuddy, Facebook, MSN, Opera Mini 4, Skype, Yahoo. Installation of Java applications is a simple process so there will be no problem with installing them. The phone hardware is not the best one, so modern heavy applications will run slowly. For instance, Opera Mini 4 runs quite fast, while the 5th version is much slower. Only one application can run at the same time. You can minimize it but you won't be able to start another one. Even to open the camera you will have to close Java applications first. ICQ clients may run in background mode and receive messages; however, I had to find the right client as the notifications did not work. After a quick search I finally found a version that, when minimized, can give sound notifications of incoming messages.
I was surprised to find the accelerometer (or a "G-sensor", as the Chinese mostly call it). Accelerometer's sensitivity is poorly calibrated, hence the numerous false activations. However, if you play with the settings you will probably get it to work properly. Shaking the phone allows changing the wallpaper, turning off the sound of an incoming call, switching to a new song, adjusting the volume and switching between the channels.
Unpretentious owners of Chinese phones especially like such models for the ability to watch TV. Indeed, what should a night security officer or a taxi driver, waiting for clients, occupy oneself with, but watch TV. During the Victory Day Parade when crowds of people blocked Tverskaya Street in attempts to watch the military equipment it was impossible to know what was going on elsewhere. I remembered that I had a "pocket TV" and tuned into one of the main TV channels to watch the live broadcast. Bored people immediately took notice and turned to me.
On our market you can so far buy only one model with the analogue TV receiver - Samsung Star TV (S5233TV). It is really useful to have the TV receiver in a pocket: you can always read the latest news or watch a football match without any subscription fee. The broadcasting starts automatically when you pull out the 24 cm telescopic antenna or push the keypad button. The tuning is quite simple: choose the country, then starts the scanning and in a minute you can watch the selected channels. During the playback you can record video or make a screenshot. The speaker's volume is high enough and provides good quality sound. Not to interfere with others you can use the headset. In the stable reception area you can even do without the antenna.
The music player is rather simple, but looks nice. It has 3 covers and you can change the equalizer styles. Sound settings feature preset equalizer regimes and you can choose the "base boost" or "pseudo 3D" as well. Those who listen to podcasts will benefit from the function of playback speed change. The tracks come from particular folders without any tag classification. You can also listen to music in the background mode. When you launch the application the track is paused and when you exit the playback begins. 3.5 mm adaptor comes in the box and provides good sound quality.
The video player is very basic and offers no settings. The available features are minimal: rewind, volume control, screenshot by pushing the space button. Movie fans will have to convert video files to match the screen resolution of 320x240. AVI and 3GP formats are supported, but you should not strain your eyes.
It seems that the camera module is the cheapest 1.3 MP with the quality of photos even below that. Near the camera you see the letters 8.0 MP. Your friends who will take the phone in their hands and feel metal, good assembly quality and chrome elements may sincerely believe it! The camera is activated by the button situated between the volume control keys. If you press and hold it the flash will be launched and it could be used as the torch. The camera has many settings, but sometimes it is unclear why do we need them all. The manufacturer probably wants to create the impression of something special. The variety of settings cannot change the situation. The quality of photos remained the same despite all my attempts. The function of the second camera under the screen is unclear as well, because it can be used only as a mirror or for self-portraits. The video recording is of low quality with 176x144 resolution and 8 frames per second.
Samples of camera shots:
The handset has two active radio modules and you can be accessed through both SIM cards. You can choose the one SIM access or Flight modes as well. The keypad has two call buttons for both SIM cards. Call records also provide information in accordance with your two SIM cards. Unfortunately, in the phonebook you cannot assign a particular number to one of the cards. You can customize the use of any SIM card for Internet settings and Java applications.
Other features are quite typical and do not offer any surprise: calendar, to-do list, 5 alarm clocks, which support repeat function, world clock, calculator, currency converter, timer, SMS, e-mail without HTML support and different sound profiles.
The sound quality is below average and in the busy street you may not hear the interlocutor. It can be helped with the software to change the standard sound settings. The ringtone sound is loud enough, there are no creaks or squeaks, but at times you cannot hear the tune well due to the location of the speaker. The vibro is weak and you can miss it when the phone is in the pocket. The connection quality is typical of modern phones. There are no problems here.
At large we have an interesting model: tough body, good build and nice materials. I think that in future the Chinese manufacturers will be able to put fonts on keypads better and the quality benchmark will be higher. Current tendency shows that similar phones will improve and the quality will catch up.
This model will attract attention of young people, who use social networks a lot, send Twitter or ICQ messages. You can proudly take it out from the pocket in front of your friends, but do not show them what is inside. It offers good value for money and you cannot find any other phone on the market with such a price tag to target young adults.
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Published 14 June 2010
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