Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Samsung SGH-D807 Review

Slim enough to match up with the RAZR, the D807 measures 97 x 52 x 15 mm and weighs in at just 98 grams, rather thin and lightweight, but not impressive with the influx of similarly slim devices.

The Samsung D807's most dramatic feature is its large 176 x 220 px 262K-color screen. Offering exceptional resolution with vivid imaging, the state-of-the-art LCD is the centerpiece to the D807's impressive design.

Below, 4-Way Keypad with Select Key, Connect and Disconnect, and Left and Right Keys allow users to navigate without having to open the D807. But the arrow buttons are quite small, make functionality a bit difficult.

The multi-function port for Headsets, Accessories, and the Charger can be found along the left side near the Volume Keys. But with an irregular connection port for the Headset, consumers will have to purchase special headphones for the D807. Along the right side, an expansion slot accepts microSD memory cards.

Located on the other side the screen, an integrated 1.3-megapixel camera is revealed when sliding open the D807, ensuring the lens protected when the slider is closed. Capturing pictures up to 1280 x 1024 px in resolution, the D807 provides good quality photos that can be used for printing, allowing consumers to leave the digital camera at home.

Easily opened with one hand, the spring-loaded slider reveals a slightly recessed keypad. With the buttons connected, the smooth appearance is a beautiful design element, but is rather difficult to type on, being unable to differentiate keys from each other by feel.

Overall the D807's obvious appeal is its stylish, sleek look with a vibrant LCD set off by the matte-black finish and chrome trim. Similar in dimensions to the RAZR, the D807 is as compact as any of the latest ultra-thin phones on the market, fitting tastefully in any pocket.

Samsung SGH-D307 Review

Offering a rather ordinary exterior, the rectangular D307 is rather plain, a sharp contrast for the ultra-thin fad to sweep the market. Having a boxy 94 x 48 x 22 mm frame and weighing 122 g, the D307 is reasonably sized; small compared to most PDA phones, but large enough for quick text messaging.

On the front, the D307 is a minimalist, featuring only a monochrome 96 x 96 px external LCD. However, convenient access to voice functions is available through the Voice Key on the right side. Activating voice dialing in idle mode, the same key also turns on the speakerphone. On the left, Volume Keys adjust earpiece volume during calls, and ringer volume in standby mode. The Connection Port is located on the bottom.

When opened, a 176 x 220 px internal screen is revealed, capable of showing a brilliant 262K-colors. But the highlight is the D307's revolutionary dual-hinge design. Allowing consumers to use it two ways, the D307 opens both vertically (as a phone) and horizontally (as a PDA).

Depending on which mode the D307 is in, the QWERTY keypad has different functions. Opened vertically (like a normal phone), the top portion functions as the 5-way directional keypad (W, A, S, D, and X keys) with Left and Right Softkeys (Z and Q). The bottom half works like a normal 12-key numeric keypad. Opened horizontally, a 30-key keyboard is supported by additional Option / Menu, Back, and Symbol Keys, and a 4-way directional keypad.

Out of the box, the Samsung SGH-D307 comes with a standard 800 mAh Li-Ion Battery, Travel Charger, Battery Door, Welcome CD, Quick Reference Guide, and User Manual.

Samsung SGH-A727 Review

Its main display screen measures 1.8-inches diagonally and utilizes 262K-colors and TFT technology to produce beautifully vivid images. Users can customize the phone's backlighting, brightness and dialing font.

Below the screen is an extremely smooth keypad, toggle and other buttons that lie flat on the phone's thin surface. Surrounding a circular navigation toggle and WAP browser shortcut button are left and right soft keys, which appear to take more force to push than other keys. Below the soft keys is the shortcut button to activate the phone's music player, one button to "swap" between multiple applications, a "clear/back" button to navigate within the phone's menu and other programs, and a power/menu exit button. From a usability standpoint, the numeric keypad seems pushed too low down on the phone for comfortable dialing or texting and may be difficult to use for people with large hands.

The A727's left side panel includes a jack for a headset or USB adapter and up and down keys for volume control. The right panel touts a microSD memory card slot as well as a shortcut key to activate the phone's camera and camcorder. The phone's antenna is located in the bottom half of the handset. On the flip side, the top left hand corner of the phone is home to the camera/camcorder lens. This particular model lacks a flash and an additional screen to guide self-portraits.

Overall, the A727 is a very thin and lightweight phone to carry around. While the design is aesthetically pleasing, there may be some issues with the phone's potentially slippery keypad and position squashed toward the bottom of the face of the phone.

Out of the box, the Samsung SGH-A727 comes with a standard 900 Li-Ion battery, AC Travel Adapter and User Manual.

Samsung SCH-U740 Review

The soft, metallic champagne colored casing fits well with its fairly bright 1.1-inch external screen. However, the touch-sensitive music controls on the exterior are difficult to activate. Also, the left hand side charger outlet also serves as a headphone outlet, which means simultaneous charging and listening are impossible unless the two interior independent speakers are put to use. The buttons can only be used when the music player is on and the keys lock. Every time a track needs changing, the U740 must be unlocked and without a strict locking setting, those with wandering fingers might accidentally skip the track while grazing their finger over the pad. Smarter exterior buttons include a left-hand side volume control and expandable microSD memory card slot on the right hand side along with a speakerphone key.

The U740's interior has a slew of buttons in addition to its unique QWERTY keyboard. A typical rounded arrow button pad is customizable with its options. Also, an automatic camera/video camera button links to that function. A direct button also activates voice recognition, which is often spotty. But with all these great options, the keys are still crammed and users with fingers bigger than a regular pen-size point might find it difficult to use.

Out of the box, the Samsung SCH-U740 comes with an 800 mAh Li-Ion battery, Travel Charger, 2.5 mm Headset Adaptor, and User Guide.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Samsung SCH-A990 Review

Being designed around camera functionality, the A990 offers vertical (phone) and horizontal (camera) viewing conventions. Encased in a silver-lined sleek black exterior, the A990 measures 97 x 48 x 21 mm and weighs 125 g; average in size, but heavier and thicker than most devices on the market. Fairly traditional in style, right angles and straight lines are highlighted by an external display for convenient view of essential information.

The sides of the A990 offer a dizzying number of buttons and ports. Offering Rewind, Play / Pause, and Fast Forward Keys to let music listeners control the integrated MP3 Player, the left side also includes a microSD slot for extra memory. Dual external speaker ports are positioned on both sides, blasting a loud open-air listening experience. Meanwhile a Headset / Audio Video Jack provides handsfree access, also doubling as a connection port to view audio and video files on a television monitor (using a data cable).

The right side has a Speakerphone and Volume Keys, along with various buttons used during Camera Mode (when turned sideways) for Zoom and Options. The top has a loop to attach a Hand Strap, while the bottom contains the Charger Port.

Opened, a brilliant internal display reveals 262K-colors at a large 240 x 320 px resolution. Able to rotate the screen 180-degrees, the clamshell can close with the internal screen facing outwards; turning the screen into the viewfinder in Camera Mode. Suddenly the Camera Keys on the right edge become apparent, now positioned on the top when holding the A990 horizontally. Intuitively placed for familiar Zoom and Setting controls, users will forget they're using a camera phone and think the A990 is a standalone digital camera.

Samsung SCH-A970 Review

Featuring a 96 x 96 px external LCD, users can quickly glance at basic information in 65K-colors. Equipped with a built-in MP3 player, convenient Rewind, Play / Pause, Stop, and Fast Forward keys on the front panel allow users to control playing capabilities without having to ever open the phone. Through dual stereo speakers on the bottom corners below, users can experience music through an open air environment or speakerphone functionality; activated by pressing the Speaker Mode Key on the right side.

Located nearby, an Option Key provides additional functions dependant on mode, similar to Smart Keys on other devices. For instance, when Camera Mode is active, pressing the button will bring up additional settings. On the left side, a headset jack provides personal music listening and safe and convenient handsfree conversations, while a TransFlash card slot offers additional storage for multimedia.

The A970 is cumbersome to open one-handed, due to its design, stopping at 90 degrees before opening completely. However once opened, the main 262K-color LCD is revealed. Standard 5-way navigational and numeric keypads provide fairly sizable for comfortable typing through T9 predictive text.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Samsung SCH-A950 Review

Equipped with an MP3 player, the A950 offers convenient music listening functionality through Previous, Play / Pause, Stop, and Next keys, giving users complete control of MP3 playing capabilities without having to ever open the phone. For more advanced functions, the A950 allows consumers to quickly scroll through their playlists with just a few spins of an innovative scroll wheel, reminiscent of the iPod.

Above the external display, the lens to a 1.3-megapixel camera and camcorder with built-in flash is activated by pressing the Camera Key on the left side. Located below the Camera Key, an expansion slot is incorporated for extra memory through TransFlash cards. While the right side contains a headset jack and volume keys to adjust earpiece and tone volumes during calls and standby.

Through the dual stereo speakers on the ends of the hinge, users are able to experience enhanced sound quality - from ring tones to music / video playback to conversations via speakerphone.

Flipped open, the main 262K-color LCD is revealed, able to display images at up to 176 x 220 px in size. Standard 5-way navigational and numeric keypads provide fairly sizable for comfortable typing through T9 predictive text.

Out of the box, the Samsung SCH-A950 comes with a standard 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery, AC adapter, and user manual.

Samsung SCH-A930 Review

Giving off an industrial feel, the strong angles and pure black exterior embeds a narrow vertical external screen. Meant to be held sideways, the LCD is more stylish than functional; adding an aesthetic element to the design for a monochrome view of commonly glanced at information.

Below the elongated screen, Rewind, Play / Pause, and Fast Forward buttons control the built-in MP3 player, while above, a rotating 1.3-megapixel camera with flash is positioned on the hinge captures photos up to 1280 x 960 px in resolution. Dual speaker ports on to bottom corners give users an open-air listening experience.

Volume Keys along the left adjust earpiece and tone levels during calls and standby, while a dedicated Speakerphone Key nearby activates handsfree access. On the right, a 2.5 mm Headset Jack is positioned next to a microSD expansion slot, able to accept memory cards up to 1 GB in size. The Power / Accessory Connector Port is located on the bottom.

Samsung SCH-A890 Review

Turned around, the back includes a second speaker grill in the upper right for multimedia content, and a capped antenna port on the upper left to attach an external antenna for extra reception.

Flipped open, an internal screen is revealed, able to display 262K colors with a resolution of 176 x 220 px. And navigation and text messaging is performed with the standard 5-way directional and numeric keypads.

Against the left, up and down side keys adjust the ringer volume in standby and earpiece volume during a call, while a 2.5 mm headset jack allows for handsfree access. To snap unexpected moments, a dedicated Camera Key is positioned on the right side. Meanwhile, outlets for attaching the charger and accessories are located on the bottom.

Out of the box, the Samsung SCH-A890 comes with a standard 1100 mAh Li-Ion battery, desktop charger, stereo headset, Welcome CD, quick reference guide, and user manual.

Samsung SCH-A870 Review

Instead, it offers the standard array of mid-range features packaged together with a mid-range price. Keeping its lower price in mind, the A870 is hardly a disappointment; it offers a nice design, a VGA camera with flash, Bluetooth, voice command and other handy features.

The design features both internal and external screens, as well as a two-tone exterior. Display options give users some leeway to customize wallpapers, fonts, and color schemes. And while the camera doesn't take print-quality images, it does feature various tools for fine-tuning PC-ready photos, as well as color effects for some added fun.

Audio features standard MIDI ringtones as well as VibeTonz, which causes the phone to vibrate along to song beats or game action. The Internet connectivity is not the most cutting-edge, but the cdma2000 1xRTT certainly gets the job done when it comes to messaging and browsing the Mobile Web network, while a handful of Bluetooth technologies allow for the most common accessories - headsets and hands-free kits.

Operating on the higher-end of standard, the A870 is no state-of-the-art multimedia communication device, but it remains a strong mid-level offering from Verizon.

Samsung MM-A940 Review

Housing a 96 x 96 px screen, the A940's front panel features a 65K-color LCD allowing users to quickly glance at basic and incoming information. Below, Rewind, Play / Pause, Stop, and Fast Forward Keys control the built-in MP3 player. Through dual stereo speakers on the bottom corners, the A940 becomes a portable speaker system, letting users experience music through an open air environment.

Pressing the Voice Command / Speakerphone Key on the right activates voice and hansfree functionality. And located nearby, the Camera Option Key offers additional functions when Camera Mode is active.

Personal music listening can be enjoyed through the Headset Jack on the left, also doubling for handsfree headphones. Additional storage is available through the adjacent TransFlash card slot.

Opened, the main 262K-color LCD is discovered. Standard 5-way directional and numeric keypads offer comfortable navigation and text messaging through T9 predictive text.

Samsung MM-A920 Review

Regardless, its design is well-suited for MP3s. Situated on the front, an external screen displays vital information at a glance away in vivid 65K-colors. Positioned above, a lens and flash to the 1.3-megapixel camera and camcorder is activated with the press of the Camera Key on the right side.

Below the screen, a 5-way keypad provides music listeners access to convenient Rewind, Play / Pause, Fast Forward, List, and Shuffle Keys for complete MP3 playing controls without having to ever open the A920. Accessing music through TransFlash memory cards, an expansion slot on the right side pops open.

On the left, a Headset Jack allows convenient music listening and handsfree access, while Volume Keys to adjust earpiece and tone during calls and standby. Power and Accessory Interface Connectors on the bottom allow users to connect optional accessories such as the USB cable. Meanwhile dual stereo speakers on the ends of the hinge allow users to experience enhanced sound quality - from ring tones to music and video playback to conversations via speakerphone.

Samsung MM-A900 Review

Using a lightweight magnesium metal instead of more commonly used plastic shell, Samsung managed to increase the rigidity of the A900 to withstand the everyday wear and tear of daily use.

Maintaining its slim profile, the front panel prominently features a brilliant 65K-color screen to glance at essential and incoming information. Blasting music through dual external speakers on the bottom corners, music listeners can control the built-in MP3 player through dedicated Rewind, Play / Pause, and Fast Forward Keys; all without ever having to open the phone

On the right, Volume Keys adjust earpiece and tone levels during calls and standby, and Power and Accessory Interface Connectors allow users to connect optional accessories such as the USB cable to transfer music and multimedia from a PC. Should users want to enjoy the music privately, headphones can be connected to the Headset Jack on the right side, also doubling as the output port for handsfree access. And a Camera / Voice Memo Key nearby allows consumers to take pictures in Camera Mode or record voice memos during a call.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nokia N75 Review

Optimizing for design, the N75 sports an internal antenna. A small, black Power Key is positioned at the top of the phone, while the top left hand side has a large tab that covers the USB Port. The USB Port provides connectivity with a PC or a compatible media player. Nokia PC Suite software can be used to print images or transfer data. The Charger plugs into a port below the USB Port.

Below on the left side is a smaller tab that covers the microSD card slot, allowing users to expand storage space with extra memory cards. This cover is less flimsy than some, but it still seems delicate enough to break at some point.

A bi-directional Volume Key on the upper right side also doubles as the Zoom Key during Camera Mode. Directly below, an Infrared Port lets consumers transfer data wirelessly to other devices. Above the multi-function Mode Key gives users added convenience by switching between different applications. The bottom right is the Camera Key, which activates the camera and camcorder and snaps photos with the phone open or closed.

While the keypad is overall very simple and well designed, some users might have difficulty with the Menu key and Music Key. These two buttons are positioned between the Call, End and Right and Left Selection Keys. One misplaced touch to the Menu or Music Key brings up those applications, and can interrupt texting or dialing.

Key multimedia features on the N75's exterior are the two 3D speakers located discretely at the top corners, and the three simple Music Player buttons on the face, below the display.

Back and Forward arrows straddle a Play / Pause Key, and all three Multi-Function Keys control other applications in addition to music. A blue light pops up behind the keys with the touch of a finger, an attractive color that ties in well with the black exterior.

Out of the box, the Nokia N75 comes with an 800 mAh Li-Ion Battery, Charger, Data Cable, Quick Start Guide, and User Manual.

Nokia N-Gage QD Review

One of the first noticeable changes was the design of the N-Gage QD. The original N-Gage's microphone and speaker were located on the top. This forced users to hold the phone on edge. Due to the N-Gage's shape, the term "taco phone" or "elephant ear" came to be synonymous with embarrassed users talking on the N-Gage. Many people complained about it's awkward shape and even more awkward design as a phone.

Nokia listened and created the QD to have the earpiece and speaker on the front allowing for a much more natural way of answering the phone. Additionally, the dimensions are slightly smaller at 118 x 68 x 22 mm, compared to the 133 x 70 x 22 mm of the N-Gage. But unfortunately, that makes the N-Gage QD slightly harder to grip.

The N-Gage QD keypad has been altered as well. Many consumers have complained that the original N-Gage's keypad was too stiff to be used comfortably. Fortunately, the QD has been redesigned to include a more responsive keypad.

The directional keypad has also lost the ability to be pressed down. Instead of a 5-way keypad, the QD has a 4-way keypad with an extra button below. As to if this is better or not will depend on the user. Some may find it frustrating to pick up their thumb to press the button, while others may find the change refreshing.

Nokia 7610 Review

Nokia has taken a more aesthetic approach when designing the 7610. From one look, the vivid casing colors and stylish keypad layout provide a unique and unforgettable impression. The Nokia 7610 comes in two colors: Silver Grey, and Black / Red, however additional colors can be purchased through Nokia's X-Press cover accessories.

The front of the 7610 features a 65K color 176 x 208 px TFT screen. The LCD doubles as a viewfinder when camera mode is enabled. A cascading keypad layout is located below. Users with bad flashbacks of the 3650's rotary keypad can be at ease. Unlike the former, the 7610's artistically designed layout is as functional as it is fashionable, with a 5-way directional keypad to navigate the Symbian OS menu as well.

The back of the Nokia 7610 is colorfully designed with intricate patterns and shapes. It is also where the camera lens lies. Featuring a 1 megapixel built-in camera, the Nokia 7610 has the ability to capture images at up to 1152 x 852 px. Unfortunately the lens is unprotected, so scratches will occur if not careful.

Nokia 7250 Review

On a bright note, the 7250 plays ring tones through its internal speaker rather than an ordinary buzzer. That means you'll get vastly improved sound quality for ring tones, alerts, and game tones.

What has been improved upon is the new addition of a built-in camera. With Sony Ericsson, and Samsung planning cameras in their new phones, Nokia had to follow. In terms of image quality, it's not the best. But what would you expect from a camera phone. It's main purpose is talking on the phone. It does it's job for taking quick snaps of some idea you jog a napkin, or taking pictures of people to stick as your background. But aside from that, don't expect to get printable photos.

Things that Nokia hasn't added since the 7210 are still voice commands. If you use this feature a lot, it'll be quite disappointing to you. Better get your thumbs ready, because they'll get quite a workout.

Nokia 7210 Review

The 4096 color screen is one of the best we've seen. The 7210 has a resolution of 128 x 128 px. The display shows 5 lines of text and a service line. When messaging, 8 lines of text and 2 service lines are displayed due to scaling. The screen is bright and clear in dim conditions. However in sunny weather, the screen becomes washed out. Ghosts have been a problem where you see residual images that fade out when the screen changes. But it isn't all that noticeable. Overall though, the screen is considerably better than the T68i screen. The resolution is higher and you can have bigger pictures as wallpaper.

Nokia 7200 Review

An external monochrome 96 x 36 px display is included on the front lid, offering information such as time, missed calls, messages, and caller ID. Additionally, there are animated black-and-white screensavers for the mini display to add to the 7200's look.

The internal screen is a 65,000 color 128 x 128 px TFT display. Up to 5 lines for text can be shown in basic mode with 16-pixel font. TFT, as opposed to STN, has the circuit transistors placed on the glass at the pixel location instead of the need to scan the pixel location. This results in greatly increasing the response time and allows for very fast refresh rates. Up until now, Nokia's new releases have primarily been 4096 colors, and have lagged behind other manufacturers. But the 7200's display is wonderfully bright, crisp, and colorful.

Nokia 6820 Review

Not much has changed in appearance from the 6800. The 6820 still retains the same revolutionary flip QWERTY keypad. A few additions and improvements have, however, been added. Since the 6820 was designed with text messaging in mind, it is chock full of text messaging features. Among other things, users can SMS to send standard text messages, or attach pictures, sounds, or video clips with their MMS messages. A fully functional email client contains POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP capabilities for receiving and sending email from 3rd party sources.

A built-in 352 x 288 px CIF camera with video recording and playback capabilities peers out from the back housing of the 6820. The phone has a variety of shooting modes such as Standard Mode, Portrait Mode, and Night Mode. Self portraits are possible with a self-timer delay function. As with most camera phones, users should not expect standalone digital camera quality. Pictures taken with the Nokia 6820 are great for capturing impromptu moments, or attaching images to caller information and business cards, but anything more is best served using a dedicated digital camera.

There are, however, a few features missing from the 6820's precursor, most notably the built-in FM radio. Users who still desire a radio have the option to purchase it as a separate plug-in accessory.