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Review GSM phone Samsung E350
As a pioneer on the slider market the company of Samsung gradually widens its model line with such products and offers them in new price segments. Let's remember the slider promotion started with Samsung E8x0, and even now these models have remained extremely popular. Then the E630 was offered as a cheap solution, and Samsung D500 acted in the D-series concurrently, by the way it was a company leading model. So, as we all understand with time sliders were to become mass and enter a new price niche. And this very step is the launch of Samsung E350.
The model design mainly calls up the current leader, and namely Samsung D600. A lacquered plastic insertion of the front panel, a silvery body-colour are typical traits for today Samsung. The design of the model keeps up with the company style, and thus will please many. The dimensions are little, and the weight echoes them (87x45x21 mm, 75 gram). A characteristic feature of this class product is the absence of automatic finishing, and it's absent here also.
Generally, the function set and its fashion component tell about an expected by the company long life circle for Samsung E350. The device is functionally on the level of the best products of this autumn (certainly, we speak about this segment representatives). So, everything in order.
The design will please both youth and middle-aged people; this is some kind of classic in this segment. There are no peculiarities; the model is the maximum far from addressing representatives of this or that age or gender audience only. This approach seemingly should guarantee even sales among men and women, but here is when the size starts its action. The handset is rather small, which makes it interesting for women (the same thing played its role in the E630). And so, we think the audience will disperse in this way - 65 to 35 (and the sterner sex is in minority).
The screen is 65K, which looks not very promising against a background of the majority of the companies claiming 262K in similar products. On the other hand, most of Samsung products were equipped with very qualitative screens and give odds to their rivals. And here is the same case. The colour rendering is quite good, the image is bright and vivid. The resolution forms 128x160 pixels (at 24x34 mm), which allows up to 6 text lines and up to 3 service ones. It shows no problems in the sub, the picture fades, though the screen itself remains readable.
The device can work in a closed mode as well. So, you can answer calls, view menu items. The thing impossible is dialing a number, and, certainly, entering a message, since the keypad is closed. Although, second dialing of the number requires no opening, this is very comfortable sometimes.
A rubber rest, though not very comfortable due to the phone's size, is placed under the screen. The discomfort is your finger will try to lie on the screen. So, you'll have to either clean the screen or put up with your fingerprints.
The number keys are of average size and quite acceptable. An Ok button calling a wap-browser from the standby mode is inscribed into the navi one. The number keypad is quite small in size; the keys are perfectly placed, since you don't touch the upper pert of the slider when pressing the upper key row. This keypad seemed comfortable, though loosing to the ones in big phones. The key backlighting is white and well seen in various conditions.
A coupled volume button is seen on the left side surface, a little below - IrDA gap. A phone's peculiarity is the strap hole is placed on the right of the top edge, which will please girls, since they prefer carrying phones exactly this way. A headset connector is on the right side surface (a standard for Samsung miniUSB slot); see it covered with a plastic shutter. A separate button is provided for a camera application. An interface connector is on the bottom end, it's also covered with a cover fixed to the body.
The center of the back holds an objective of the integrated VGA-camera; it is a copy of those ones provided with two-year-old models, for instance, Samsung E700. A mirror and a flash are put on he sides. You can't have a flash as a lamp, since it works only with the camera on.
The back is also a battery having no backlash and fixed reliably. The capacity of the Li-Ion battery is 800 mAh. And as the manufacturer claims, it works for 220 hours in the standby mode and up to 3 hours in the talk one. In Moscow networks the phone averagely worked for three days in case of one hour of talks and up to 30 minutes of other functions. The battery gets completely live in 1.5 hour.
This model stands out for quite an untypical memory capacity of 41 MB for its class. First this memory may be used for mp3 files, which may serve as call melodies. Special expansion slot of 4 MB is provided for Java.
The menu is organizer typically for last Samsung models, that is a 3x3 matrix, and only one menu view is available. Number sequences are at your disposal for fast navigation.
Phonebook. By pressing the right soft key, one can obtain the contacts in a form of a list containing all the files both from the phone's and the SIM-card memory. The first name in the list is backlit by default and the number is shown in the status bar (there is a special sign for numbers from a SIM-card). There is a fast search by first letters of a name. By pressing the OK key, you enter in the view menu of a single file where you may see a small icon in case the name is matched with the image. Any graphic file or the pictures of your own may be used as such image. Up to five phone numbers of various types (cell, office, home, fax, etc.) may be kept for a name with one number as the main contact (it would become the first one by default). The fields are strictly fixed and there may be not two cell phone numbers entered. On the other hand, SMS/MMS can be sent to any number from the phone book once chosen.
There are two fields for a Name and a Surname (search only by the first one) that are concatenated when displayed and the Name field goes the first. For example, if you entered Eldar Murtazin, it is displayed exactly in this manner. The length of each line is 20 symbols for any of the available languages. You may opt to alter the language while inserting the text as well.
Files in different languages are sorted out according to a rule - first it will be all files in the local language (Russian, for example), and then those in English. This is rather convenient and habit forming. Taking into account an option of fast language change during the search, it becomes clear that the files in different languages do not impede the work with this phone.
Let us return to the information entered for one name. Besides phone numbers, an e-mail address and a little text memo can be recorded. Any music file as well as composed MP3's can be chosen as a ring tone for the name. Three caller groups are preinstalled and out of any category. You can easily create a necessary number of groups; select a personal melody and image for each.
Up to 1000 names with all the data can be saved in the phone's memory. Even if all the available lines are not used, the number of names to be saved would remain a thousand. It is possible to indicate in the settings where the new numbers should be kept by default. There is an option of moving files from the SIM-card although not vice versa. According to the developers, PC is the best means of synchronization, MS Outlook in particular. Any file in the form of SMS/MMS, mail message or other text file can be sent quickly through Bluetooth to another device. There are no problems with sending and the phone book entry being transmitted to another device is precisely decoded without any trouble.
New names can be entered only through the main menu; the right soft key always calls for the name list only. You can create your own visit card; its format would be the one of a regular file from the phone book.
There can be up to eight numbers in the speed dial list; peculiar is the fact that separate numbers of one name may be in this list as well. The subtitle of the chosen name (but not of the phone type) is displayed on the buttons.
When receiving a call, a picture is not displayed on the full screen, but only on a part of it (approximately 96x96 pixels).
Call lists. Up to twenty phone numbers are displayed in each list. There is a combined list of all the last calls with an icon indicating a call type. Tilting the scroll key horizontally, you may switch quickly from one list to another. The date and the time of the call (it's duration is not kept) can be seen for separate files. As always, the overall time of the calls and their prices can be viewed in this menu (this service has to be installed). /p>
Messages. Working with various types of messages is done through separate submenus. Let us begin with short messages. Up to 200 messages can be saved in the phone's memory; the phone supports the EMS standard compatible with Nokia Smart Messaging. The support of various encodings chosen by a user (GSM or Unicode) is a very nice feature here. T9 functions very well and is quick and easy to use.
MMS. The interface for multimedia messages is very nice; the messages can be saved in several folders at once and right away. There are no size restrictions for a message to be received although an outgoing message should not exceed 295 KB. As for additional services, the rejection of advertising messages, the option of the message receipt in the roaming and the home network should be mentioned. The messages are saved in the general memory since there is no special memory for them.
Mail client. POP3/SMTP boxes and several tracking files are supported. Besides the title downloading, the phone can receive the letter itself. As for attachments, only the graphic files (GIF, JPEG) are supported. When sending a letter, you can attach a picture from the integrated camera to it. Overall, the mail client is nice although it does not stand out with an immense number of functions. There is also an option of creating templates.
Applications. Java World is the first menu item; up to four MB of memory are available in the phone for various programs. This is a separate memory allotment and is used for Java only. MIDP 2.0 version allows the use of the graphic reach and three-dimensional games. There are three games preinstalled in the phone - Forgotten Warrior, Freekick, ArchAngel.
MP3 player. An integrated mp3 player supporting random track reproduction, sequential and cyclic, is available in the phone. Mp3 files can be downloaded into the phone both directly through Bluetooth and through a synchronization program. Files may be of various names and tags (in Russian language as well!). The bit rate of the files is not that important since the phone accepts all the possible formats. We came across several problems with the files recorded through VBR since the phone would report an error and reject downloading. However, a number of the same VBR mp3 files were successfully downloaded and reproduced without any problem.
The title of the track playing is displayed as well as the overall number of different composition. An equalizer is of an entertaining nature; there are no separate settings (only a possibility to choose from classic, rock, jazz and normal reproduction). The tracks can be played through the stereo headset as well as through the speakerphone. The volume has ten levels. The user is welcome to create play lists of his/her own. There is 41 MB of memory available for mp3 compositions. The player is realized neither better nor worse than ones by other manufacturers. Everything is quite plain. We see no sense in using the E350 as an MP3 player due to the reduced memory capacity.
Dictaphone. You can record up to several hours of voice memos with the number of files being unlimited. The time restrictions for one recording are set by a user and can vary from 30 seconds to one hour in duration. All the files are kept in a separate folder in the memory. The dictaphone cannot record a conversation, since it only works in stand-by mode. Two types of equalizers are offered in the settings with one of them meant for noisy surroundings. The recorder can function well during lectures, conferences and presentations. The phone is a partial substitute for a digital tape recorder.
World time is displayed for two chosen cities. Everything is nice and simple here.
Alarm clock. The phone is equipped with three alarm clocks. One is meant for mornings and can be set for selected weekdays as well as for weekends. For each of the alarm clocks there is a selection of five melodies although mp3 compositions cannot be used here. It is up to a user to indicate in the settings whether the phone would turn on automatically in the time of the event or not.
Calculator. Everything is nice and simple here.
With a Сonverter, you can operate with different units of measurements as well as with the currencies.
A stopwatch and a countdown timer are also present.
Calendar. Up to 400 events of four types - meeting, affair, anniversary and others, can be saved in the phone's memory. The day and the time as well as its end are indicated for each file. A signal can be set for the interval during which it has to go off; repetitive events are available for setting.
The weekly and the monthly calendar are very convenient with each type of the event having its own color.
WAP. There is a wap-browser version 2.0 similar to some phones by Nokia and Sony Ericsson using http protocol. That means in some networks operator's setting is required.
Settings. That is traditional that you are allowed to choose font colour in the standby mode, protect any section of the phone with a password (messages, short messages, organizer and so on). You may set the time for backlighting on and its brightness.
Themes are absent in the phone that is different to Sony Ericsson and they are replaced by Skins. There are four of them, and they allow changing not only a colour scheme but a header also, it gets roundish.
File Manager. Here are all the files such as music, pictures, video and sounds. All the uploaded files get here. The disadvantage is files sometimes are not displayed in the list immediately, you need to leave the menu and enter it again.
Synchronization with PC. Synchronization is made using IrDA and a cable. Easy Studio 2.0 will be included into a delivery kit (or provided on the manufacturer's site).
Camera. It is the last menu in the phone. To start shooting just press the joystick to the right (in the open phone mode). Images of different resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 160x120, and 128x120) can be taken using this camera. There are several types of compression for each of the resolutions (files are stored in JPEG format): Super Fine, Fine, Normal and Economy. The difference is visible on the large images of the highest resolution. Super Fine image size is about 90-95 Kb, Economy image occupies about 40 Kb. In other resolutions the differences are also seen.
You can view your photos in the photo album, as thumbnails in particular. Some images can be locked from occasional deleting. There is an opportunity to move several images to own albums.
The user sees a picture on the screen while shooting. Deflecting navigation key, you can zoom in or zoom out a picture (5-x digital zoom). Horizontal movements allow adjusting matrix photosensitivity (from -3 to +3). It is a good diapason; even in the darkness images have rather good quality.
You can select one of the frames in the shooting mode. Graphical editor is absent, so this feature is available only while shooting. There are also different effects, for example, grey, negative, sepia, emboss, sketch. As for me the most amazing are emboss and sketch effects. As for the second case, the picture turns into a slate sketch, which is very artistic.
Video clips are recorded in 128x96 or 160x120 pixels resolution.
The connection quality is typically high and rouses no complaints. The loudspeaker sound is clear with no strange noises. The volume of the 40-tones polyphonic alert is average, and mp3 melodies sound loud enough to hear in a noisy street. The power of a vibra is average.
The model will appear in the market in August, and its primordial price will form 280-300 USD, which is not relevant for this class product. The real price is on the level of 200-220 USD. Considering the company plans long life circle for the model, we can expect high sales after the price falls. The device is of curiosity, to tell the truth. It has a certain charm. It will suit people who need a phone for calls design in a slider form-factor.
Published 2 August 2005
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