Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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Review GSM phone Samsung X640
The company of Samsung is trying to diversify as much as possible its offers in the middle segment where the demand for phones increases the most dynamically. This forces the company to modify the products already approved and offer them with new titles. It is true for the model X460 that has got the index numbers changed and gained the index 640 in the new reincarnation. A number should seemingly imply the development of functional features, yet that has not been made in full. On the contrary, the manufacturer has refused an external screen and added a camera in order to countervail these models. As a practical matter the presence of an external is more important screen for a clamshell than the presence of a camera and the latter remains just an additional but not main option.
The model's design is of interest and, thanks to a front insert of lacquered plastic, the phone looks more expensive than it is virtually. The bottom of the insert has a vertical service indicator which twinkles blue in standby mode. A mirror and a VGA camera lens are also constituents of the front panel.
The handset dimensions are modest for the class (87x46x23 mm) and due to the rounded shape the device fits your hand well. The weight does not exceed any tolerable figures (85 g). One could not feel the handset in hand, though its mass is enough not to forget of it. The left side surface has a headset gap (a usual pin gap shielded with a plastic shutter) and a coupled volume button. On the bottom there is a standard interface connector. The right side surface has a button assigned to the camera. It is interesting that when the device folded, the camera runs as well - you should just press and hold down the button and the service indicator will blaze with even light that means availability. A further pressure permits you to photo yourself, peeping at the mirror.
The device is very easy to open with one hand and you will see a UFT screen showing up to 65K colours. The resolution of 128x160 pixels (26x34 mm) fits six text and two service lines. The font size is large and it is seen well at various distances and this partially saves the situation in sunlight when the screen fades. The image is not very bright and enough saturated, for the screen belongs to the preceding generation and so is not able to offer a particular richness of colours. As distinct from elder models, X640's screen is not so rich in the colour palette.
The keypad is designed traditionally in the customary style and there is no departure from standard dimensions and opportunities. The keys are average in size and suit both men and women. A browser button is inserted into the navi button and does not serve as an OK key as in the company's other new models. The blue backlighting makes characters be seen well under various conditions.
The device is equipped with an 800 mAh Li-Ion battery. According to the manufacturer, it is capable of providing about 3 hours of talk time and about 250 hours of standby time. In the condition of Moscow MTS network the device worked for about 4 days in case of 40 minutes of talks and the least use of other functions. Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
The main menu is represented as thee icon rows. The handset has merely such representation of the menu and one may not select another one. Submenus are represented as vertical lists. A quick navigation using number sequences functions everywhere.
This product has a very good localization. There are T9 vocabularies for all menu languages. While inputting data, you could switch between languages. Russian predictive text input is also available. Like other products by the company T9 is always active by default and if you do not use the function, you will have to deactivate it manually every time.
Phone book. Up to 1000 phone numbers can be stored in the phone memory. Up to 5 phone numbers, e-mail can be added to one name. All phone numbers can be grouped in caller groups (up to 6). It is possible to assign a melody or a picture to each entry. Unfortunately only pre-default picture can be assigned. It is impossible to add a picture taken by a digital camera. Today it is the main shortcoming of the phones by Samsung.
Horizontal scrolling allows listing bookmarks and viewing the phone numbers. Both phone numbers from SIM-card and phone memory are displayed in the total list. There is search by name; you should just enter first letters of the name to change the list.
You can adjust up to 9 fast dial numbers.
Messages. There are two separate items, which allows operating with SMS and MMS messages relatively. Up to 200 SMS-messages can be stored in the phone. There are up to 9 editable SMS-templates. The phone supports EMS, so it is possible to add pictures, animation and melodies. Set of standard files is usual, there are no changes compared to other models.
Now it is more comfortable to work with MMS-messages. When you create a message, a template with fields to input text, music, picture, and subject appears. Everything is direct and convenient. You can create several pages, set showing time between them, adjust font (size, style, and colour). The maximum size of one MMS-message could not exceed 80 Kb.
There are special folders for drafts and own messages. Memory for storing photos and MMS-messages is shared dynamically. Total memory pool is about 7 Mb. It is sufficient and a half for the phone of this class.
Call records.There are lists of 20 missed, 20 received and 20 dialed calls in the phone. Time and date of each call is indicated in this menu. You can also view time of the last call, total time of all incoming or outgoing calls.
Sounds. The phone supports 40-tones polyphony, which sounds not bad. There are several modes of incoming alert, for example, only sound, only vibracall, and then a melody. Other settings are standard. You can select signal tone for SMS-messages, MMS-messages, adjust minute minder during the talk, select silent mode (vibra or perfect silence).
Settings. Besides a greeting message, you can adjust display settings here. You can set animation (4 pre-default ones) as a wallpaper. It is possible to select font style and location of text in standby mode.
One of the 4 color schemes is available.
Duration of backlighting can be also different and a choice of various values is very broad (from 15 seconds to 10 minutes). The longest value is interesting for those who like to play games. In this case they will not have to move keys to activate backlighting while playing a game.
There are up to 15 points of the screen brightness.
A side button could serve as a Cancel key or change to silent mode (the device stops ringing). The function is interesting when an external screen presents and here it is optional.
The handset has Voice Clarity - this is a preinstalled equalizer that improve the quality of speech in case of bad receiving. This option is worth activating, if you often have problems in connection and hear your interlocutor bad. You could activate it while talking as well.
The security options are usual. We should note a distribution of an access to messages, phone book, organizer, and other functions of the phone (a password access).
Organizer. You can easily add a new reminder (up to 100 characters). After inputting text, you could select one of the categories (Schedule, to-do list, call, anniversary). Depending on the selected category, different actions will be offered. For example, if you select a schedule, you will see a calendar, then select a day, indicate time, set alarm-clock. Then, this record will be saved and displayed in a separate window. Unlimited number of records could be added to one day, totally up to 25 records of each category are available. When you view several records added for one day, you could see the number of the current one. On the whole, the organizer is well-realised.
World time function is usual. The same is true for calculator, unit converter, including currency converter. Countdown timer, stop-watch with intermediate results are also available in the phone.
Alarm-clock can be set only for one time. One can use an autopower on/off function. Alarm-clock will be active even if the phone is switched off.
Dictaphone permits you to record more than 3 and a half hours and it runs both in standby and talking modes. The function is very unusual and infrequent for a device of the class.
Fun Box. Wap-browser of 2.0 version is hidden here. It allows viewing color images. The phone supports GPRS 4+2 and this makes browsing an inexpensive activity.
All received pictures, images and melodies are kept in Media Box.
There are two pre-installed games in the phone: Bubble Smile, SnowBallFight. New games may be uploaded since the phone supports Java. 1300 Kb are allocated to games, meanwhile the other applications have 9 Mb allocated.
Camera. The device has a VGA camera installed and it agrees on characteristics to the company's other models. While shooting, you can adjust a picture's contrast, enlarge it (8x digital zoom), and change the resolution. Standard functions consist of a timer, frames (wide choice and there are good versions), effects (negative, sepia, grey shades of grey, poster). The handset supports MultiShot of two speeds - normal and high. Each series has 6, 9 or 15 shots.
The camera supports the following resolutions - VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240), QQVGA(160x120), Mobile (176x120). Moreover, 4 types of compression and the file quality (Economy, Normal, Fine, Super Fine) are provided. 9 Mb are allocated to photos and an average shot size of the high resolution and modest compression quality compares 30-40 Kb. Viewing of reduced photos is available from a photo album. Video recording is lacking.
The model suffers no difficulty in connection. On contrast to most models by the company, this one lacks a modern TFT screen and so the device is positioned lower. The polyphony is average in quality, although its volume is high and it is heard well. The vibracall is average in power.
The presence of a dictaphone running during talks and a large memory capacity seem to be usual and strong functions of the handset. The lack of an external screen decreases sharply the device's general functionality. The model has turned out unbalanced and the presence of a camera is not so attractive for the customer of such handsets. The device is interesting with its design and in many respects will become a casual and impulsive purchase. The fact that this phone was created on an old basis did not allow realization of an OK key and ergonomics, a comfort of using a phone, has affected. The lack of an IrDA gap makes photo transmission a very difficult task and one should either use MMS or buy a cable in addition.
The X640 will enter the market in the end of April and at first its cost will compare 200-220 USD. Such models as Siemens CFX65, Motorola v220 are already represented in the segment. Their prices are lower and functionality higher owing to the presence of an external screen. Moreover, there is a direct evidence of rivalry within the model series, for Samsung E600 comparable in price has a higher functionality. If the high original cost remains, the model would not be called successful, since this is far from the company's best supply. In general we could say about the success in case of a sharp drop in price to 140-150 USD that will never happen from marketing consideration. Advertising will increase sales and they will stand out against a background of the rivals. Samsung gambles on belligerent marketing and the longest keeping prices at high level. Regarding the success of Samsung X450 that was in the same situation, we could say the company's strategy is righteous.
Published 5 April 2005
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