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Review of GSM-handset Samsung C120

Standard kit:

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Users Guide

Samsung has consistently dropped out models, which could have affected its image of stylish headsets for prosperous people developer. In view of absence of loyalty to the brand on the part of consumers, this approach proved right, as the entire entry-level was taken up by outdated models. However in 2005 the companys managers mentioned that release of budget solutions isnt such an impossible thing, though this decision refers to the period when Nokia, Motorola, Siemens began setting pace in this segment, and consequently, Samsung was going to lose its share there, unless it could provide similar handsets. They have always said over at Samsung, that the income makes all the difference, while market shares are all secondary, nonetheless they could not miss that statistics. Thus the fist device targeted at entry-level was Samsung C120. In fact, it wasnt a budget model in the full sense of this word, but rather a candy-bar shaped mobile phone with a color screen, thats why it poses such high price for its segment. Yet this is easily explained by Samsung taking its very own route once again the engineers simply used C200s platform and cut almost all functions on it, that is how come the device lacks WAP, polyphony and a number of other functions The handset adopts Samsung C210s appearance, which is not that bad, as it differs from all other products residing in this class.

The glossy finishing of the device is here only to put you on a false front and conceal the low-end roots of the handset. Once youve looked at the rear parts plastic, you will instantly see that the device isnt too expensive, but to the designers credit be it said, this is hard to notice. The phone measures 1054417.5 mm and weights 75 g quite typical for a product coming from entry-level. The handset easily slips in any purse or pocket, and hangs nicely on neck.

The display shows up to 65 K colors (STM), providing a resolution of 128128 pixels (2828 mm). The screen may contain up to 4 text lines at a time and one service line. Overall the display seems to perform well for a low-end one, even though its colors are not so vivid as that of up-to-date TFT displays. As compared to Motorola C380, the screen of the C120 rides high though is slightly inferior to Siemens C65 quality wise. The picture fades in sunlight, yet the text remains distinguishable.

The navigation pad incorporates an OK key into it, the numeric buttons are moderate in size and terraced. The experience of working with the keypad is fine; it is average in terms of convenience.

The battery resides behind the back cover, which holds firmly. The device makes use of a standard 800 mAh capable Li-Ion battery. As the manufacturer claims, it can last for 150 hours in stand by mode and 3 hours in talk time. In conditions of Moscow networks, the device managed to provide nearly 4 days of life time at 40 minutes of call time and up to 15 minutes of other functions usage. Full recharge time of the battery is almost 1,5 hours.


The main menu has the appearance of three rows of icons with shortcut navigation enabled.

Phone book. You can save up to 500 contacts in the phones memory with one name, up to three phone numbers (home, work and cell one), and an e-mail address entered for each. As you enter a new file, you may choose the type of telephone number. Such phone book organization contains both pros and cons everything depends on how often you are going to submitt entries with only a single telephone number.

You can assign an entered name for one group of the phone subscribers. For each of such groups the special ring tone and an icon are set.

On the main list, you can see the numbers from both the phone memory and the SIM-card; there is a speedy search by name. For such search all you have to do is to type in the first name of the letter; the list will display the data found first and then you can enter the second letter, etc. Such list is available for every group of the phone subscribers. You can assign the speedy dialing for eight phone numbers.

Messages. You can save up to 200 messages in the phone memory. The phone supports the EMS standard, so there is a decent set of icons, melodies, sounds, and animations available. The set of emoticons is very cute-if those would normally be just happy smiling faces, now these are the faces with the bodies.

Other then that, the phones possibilities are standard: you can enter up to five samples of your own; the predictable T9 text entering.

Call lists. As usual, you will find here the lists with the last dialed, accepted, and missed calls with time and date displayed for each. The fact that the same numbers are not doubled in the list makes an interesting feature of the model - the call is just moved upwards with the new date and time displayed. Consequently, there are no repetitive files in the list, which most of the users find very convenient.

Sound settings. One of the limited tunes pool may be set as the ring tone, the truth is the installed list of melodies is not wide and has become some kind of default one already. The handset doesnt feature profile system, but you can still pick your own alarm signal (dynamic light, tune, vibro, vibro+tune). From this very menu you can also switch minute beep function on.

Phone settings. This menu allows you to set the phones functions according to your taste, to choose the language of the menu, and the wallpaper for the stand-by mode (by default, there are 11 of them and all are animated). You can also set here the screen brightness and find the safety settings.

Organizer. Several applications are offered here.

The calendar in which you can enter up to one event for each day (to add more events you have to copy the file from the other day, which is not very convenient) opens up the list; you can view the monthly calendar here as well. The days which have some events appointed are highlighted with a different color; quick switching between dates is available.

The To Do list contributes to the calendar possibilities. Here you identify the task and the level of its importance (high, low, normal). You can copy the tasks list into the calendar.

Alarm clock. You can set the alarm clock for the single triggering, daily or weekly (from Monday to Friday and from Monday to Saturday), or simply switch it off.

Traditionally, the calculator and the currency converter are available on the phone.

Time and date. Here the current time and date are set; there is a world time function.

Dictaphone. Records up to 5 files, lasting 30 seconds each, all memos may take up not more than 100 Kb. The sound recorder is disabled while making a call.

Network services. All the settings connected with the operators functions are kept here.


The receiving part is fine quality wise; the power of vibration alarm is slightly above average. The monophonic ring tones are sometimes too quiet, though overall volume is decent. The handset has no extra functions embedded in only the most necessary capabilities are one board, so no wonder it yields to all its competitors in the segment and should have been placed in category 45-60 USD.

The retail price of Samsung C120 equals 80-90 which is quite much for a handset with this set of functions, in other words it is way overestimated. On the other hand, it claims the position of Samsungs cheapest proposition, thus it still capable of acquiring fair sale rates many will agree to have a stylish device in their pocket. Comparing this very solution to other entry-level models, you will realize that not only Motorola C168 shows off it radio, but also Motorola C350 has some features to offer, e.g. polyphony, all this without taking account of other manufacturers offerings. Against that background, Samsung can keep its solution alive only by promoting in retail chains, where it will be a best purchase. The other factor benefiting the manufacturer is desire of some users to boast a little the company has already read this tendency, therefore it artificially limits production of this model and dont allow overstocking to occur. In fact, such policy leads to the very possibility of extending range with similar products. All in all Samsung C120 is intended for making and receiving calls only, thus one could rightfully ask whether a color screen is essential on this handset, in light of the fact it lacks any installed games. Honestly I cannot answer this question, but I suppose value of such solution is miserable.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 17 May 2006

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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