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Review GSM phone Samsung E610
Samsung has been expanding basic functionality of its phones from model to model, both hardware, especially screens and polyphony, and software characteristics are improved. The company will represent Samsung E610 as a leading model in the fashion segment. At first sight the model differs from other modern devices in nothing. The set of characteristics is comparable with Samsung E710, X610. In the reality there are a lot of improvements but not all of them are seen at first sight. And now about everything in order.
The design of the phone is unusual for the company, calm colour enamel is combined with black dull plastic. The colour of the enamel covering will differ in various colour solutions (there are 4 of them for the moment). The black plastic is felt like rubber and the one similar is used in Motorola v300, E398, Philips 855 and some other phones. The combination of the two colours is nice and on the one hand the device doesn't look tasteless and on the other hand attracts attention. It is curious that the company pays more and more attention to the design, almost all the last devices have a raisin concerning their appearance. Undoubtedly, we are not speaking about low-end models that are kept in good traditions.
The dimensions of the phone are 85 x 49.5 x 19.8 mm, and following subjective feelings it is worth saying the device is wide but thin enough. The phone is comfortable to hold in the hand and this concerns both men and women. The weight is 84 grams and that is characteristic for this class.
External screen is 65K, TFT. The resolution is 128 x 96 pixels. Such possibilities as setting contrast level and choosing various wall-papers are the peculiarities worth attention. During an incoming call not only the name of the caller but his picture (of course, if it is assigned to a name) is displayed on the outer screen. The screen fades in the sun but information on it still may be read. And if speaking about a picture there are no troubles at all.
There is a VGA-camera objective above the screen and a flash (point light source, not impact), service indicator with up to 7 backlighting colours on each side of it.
There is a handsfree headset connector on the left side surface, it is closed with a cover. A coupled volume level button activating the flash when pressed for long in a closed mode is near it, the phone may serve as a lamp then.
There is a camera button on the right-side surface, the camera works even when the phone is closed. It is useless to look for an IrDA gap on the side surfaces, the developers placed it on the top of the phone. And a strip hole is also here.
An interface connector is traditionally on the bottom of the phone, it is similar to previous models.
The device may be opened with one hand and again you'll see black plastic inside. Silvery buttons match the screen edging. Backlighting is orange, the I button placed into a navi key is of the same colour. Having seen the solution for the first time I thought it was an operator model created for Orange network. As it turned out later it was a usual colour solution of the model.
Inner screen has the resolution of 176 x 220 pixels, 262K. For the moment there are no any evident rivals in this segment in brightness of the screen and clearness of the picture. For instance, the screen of Motorola v620 looks duller and not so vivid. In some way it is worth comparing it only with similar screens by Sharp.
A pleasant peculiarity is a possibility to set font-size for navigation in the menu, now normal (the same as in other phones by the company), small (three more lines may be displayed on the screen) or big (giant letters, two less lines on the screen) size may be chosen. The last mode is for those with poor eyesight, there will be no need to peer at the small letters. And on the other hand, the mode with small font-size is also interesting, more information may be viewed, words get some lightness.
The keypad is comfortable, the keys are large and working with them makes no troubles. Mainly the comfort is achieved due to the width of the phone and good disposition of some buttons. The backlighting is a bit dull and characters are seen rather well in different conditions. Sometimes in the bright sun problems appear, some letters are not seen (with the backlighting on).
A battery is also a back panel of the phone. The battery is standard Li-Ion, 720 mAh. According to the manufacturer it works for 220 hours in the standby mode and up to 3 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the device worked for 4 days in case of 1 hour of talk time and up to 20 minutes of using other functions (an alarm clock, a dictaphone, the camera). If using more intensively working time will vary from 2 to 3 days that is typical for the phone of this class. There is an expanded capacity battery for the model (1000 mAh, Li-Ion) and it is included into a delivery set for the majority of the countries. Working time gets 20 per cent more with this battery. Full charging of a standard battery takes about 1.5 hours.
The main menu and all submenus are numbered, there is fast navigation using digital series. A user may choose from the three possible ways of representing the main menu. They are page-like (a large icon and a tip for it) or a list of the names of the items (three items on the screen). The third way is a set of 9 icons disposed in three rows. All the submenus are usual lists.
The navi button is responsible for the access to different functions of the menu. Deflecting to the left puts into the Message menu, to the right - choosing a melody, down - a Dictaphone and moving up activates the camera. In any item pressing the I button placed into the navi one means confirmation, like OK button. That is why there is no need in pressing the soft key to choose this or that menu item. By the way, moving the navi button to the left when being in a submenu means getting to an upper level.
Phone book. Pressing the right soft key you can switch to the phone book from the standby mode. You find yourself in the list of items and the first one is "Search for a name". The phone allows to view the internal memory at the same time with SIM-card memory. When you save numbers in internal memory you can enter several numbers for a name (mobile, home, office, fax and other) e-mail address and finally assign the user to a group. At the same time you can create up to 10 groups and name them as you like. Own melodies, pictures and sound alert for SMS can be set for groups. You can store up to 2000 numbers in the internal memory.
Names are viewed comfortably, you see a list of all the numbers and may choose a naccesary one to call it. There is a list of the buttons for speed dialing (up to 8 numbers) in the phone book menu.
There is a Photo Call function in the phone that means a photo may be assigned to a number in the phone book. Samsung has realized the functions similarly to the phones by Motorola. You may assign a photo to any number that means that every user with several numbers may have several photos. Only photos may be assigned but not images. As different to the devices by Motorola there is no own or personal melody for a user, only a possibility to choose a group and thus a group melody.
Messages. The phone supports EMS and concatenated messages (up to 918 characters). As a corollary there is a set of 22 small pictures, animation (24 pictures), a possibility to integrate a melody into a message. Internal memory allows to keep 200 messages in addition to SIM-card memory.
When typing a message you can call a submenu that allows to switch languages. It means that a message can be typed in several languages. An interesting peculiarity is that predictive text input is supported for all the languages of localized menu. Thus if having menu in Russian you'll be able to use Russian T9.
MMS. There is a possibility to create several pages, the limitation on the size of an outgoing message is 100 KB, incoming - 45 KB. 1400 KB of memory are kept for MMS.
Call logs. Everything is ordinary here - there is call log of the last 20 outgoing, incoming and missed calls. Total call time is not registered though outgoing and incoming calls duration is present in separate mode.
Sounds. The phone has 64-tone polyphony that sounds not very bad. There are several modes of call signal. They are only sound, only vibrating alert or first vibrating then a melody. Other settings are standard, it is possible to choose SMS, MMS alert, adjustment of minute minder during a call, silent call mode (vibra or complete silence).
Settings. There is a possibility to set welcome note but screen settings attract more attention. So, there is a possibility to set animation as a wallpaper. You can choose font style and colour in the standby mode.
It is interesting that backlighting can be set for a period of time and a range of values is rather wide (from 15 seconds to 10 minutes). Maximum value is for those who like to play games for a long time, there will be no need in touching buttons to activate backlighting.
Organizer. There is a possibility to set a new memo immediately. Any memo can contain up to 40 characters. There are no separate categories for events. You just enter an event for a current day and that's all. There is a possibility of keeping several events for a day and a go-to function to a necessary date. The calendar displays the current month.
There is also world time function in the phone, no any peculiarities here. The same can be told about a calculator, currency converter.
Alarm clock can be set for certain days of the week, the phone can be switched on automatically. Then even a turned off phone will work at the preset time.
To-do list allows to set priorities for entered notes, everything is standard.
Dictaphone allows to make up to 5 records for 30 seconds each, total memory size for them is 100 KB.
Network Services. The settings connected with redirection and things like that do not represent anything special. We should point out that the device is a tri-band phone, though official resources declared another information. There is a possibility to choose the third band (GSM 1900), it's traditionally done manually.
Fun Box. Wap browser is "hidden" here, in this model it is 1.2.1. The device supports batch communication (GPRS 4+2) that makes browsing not very expensive.
All your received pictures, images and melodies are kept in folders Sounds and Images. 716 KB of memory are kept for sounds and images.
Five games are preset in the phone, they are BubbleSmile (a favourite version of bubbles), Fun2Link (game for logic), MobileChess, Ultimate Golf, Bowling. They cannot be deleted. 512 KB of memory are for games.
Camera. VGA-camera is integrated into the phone and it would not attract any attention if the developers have not changed its interface. First, dealing with it became much easier, there is no need to go to the menu, all the main functions are available from the shooting mode (when the picture is displayed on the screen). You can set contrast level, enlarge picture (8x digital zoom), change resolution. Among standard functions there is a timer, frames (a wide range, some are really not bad), effects (negative, sepia, gray tone, poster). The phone supports MultiShot function in two speeds, normal and high. Each series can contain 6, 9, and 15 pictures.
The camera supports the following resolutions - VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240), QQVGA(160x120), Mobile (176x120). Also there are four types of data compression, file quality (Economy, Normal, Fine, Super Fine). 4 MB of memory are intended for photos, average size of a photo with high resolution and medium compression quality is about 30-40 KB. In its quality the camera practically doesn't differ from a similar one in Samsung E700 and Samsung E600.
There is a possibility to view decreased pictures from photo album and it will be possible to load photos to PC with the help of special software.
Besides photos, the camera allows to record short clips up to 30 seconds in duration (with sound, Motion JPEG). 2 MB of memory are kept for video. I didn't manage to transfer video to PC because of the lack of corresponding software and transmission via IrDA is not supported either (the same for photos). The quality of clips is not bad and almost ideal for extra function even though the image still remains a bit twitched.
The quality of connection is typical for Samsung, there are no any troubles with it. The sound in the loud speaker is clear though there is some background noise (it is permanent and one may dislike that but this is characteristic for all the phones by Samsung). Its 64-tone polyphonic call signal has rather high volume and the phone is one of the best in the market considering this parameter. The power of vibrating alert is average and may be felt in many situations.
The company intends the model as a fashion device replacing E710. Thus the price is rather high, it will be 395 - 420 USD in November. Functionally the device is much similar to other last time phones, for example, X610. The difference is in some changes in software, better screen and a bit increased memory size.
The device will be ideal for those who need basic functionality, good screen, qualitative polyphony and a pleasant design. Considering these parameters one shouldn't say the device is overestimated, it becomes the leader of the line (Р730 looks weaker in this way). Considering traditional promotion of the leading products by the company it is possible to say the model will be popular shortly. And what is more important for a fashion phone the device will be prestigious.
Published 21 October 2004
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