Music playback and the camera are both disappointing. Sound quality is not as good as it could be, though volume is loud enough. As you can’t escape Samsung’s proprietary headset you are going to have to live with its in-ear buds and absence of music playback controls.
The camera, whose lens is on the back of the casing and invisible unless you open the slider, takes a while to get going after you press its shortcut button, and there is a noticeable shutter lag which means you need to hold the phone still for a second or so after pressing to shoot an image. This will be annoying if you like candid snaps and you’ll get some image blurring if you are not careful.
The two sample shots below were taken indoors in natural light without the flash at the highest quality available. Colour rendering was reasonable though not outstanding and the camera does not cope too well with a moving image – the purple blobs in the first image are bubbles flowing though a liquid. The red ends of the tube in this image are in reality bright pink.
The flash is pretty feeble and was not very useful for shooting more than a metre from the subject. My sample shots left the camera on auto mode but you can manually set white balance and ISO (100, 200 and 400), and there are plenty of tweaks you can apply such as multi shot and mosaic modes, oodles of frames, and 3, 5 and 10 second self timers. Overall, though, I’ve seen better.
I rather like the way the menu system works in this handset. When you choose the Options soft-menu you scroll through choices with the navigation button using its right side to see submenu options. It is a simple but effective and fast way of getting through a large and complex set of choices.
Samsung quotes talk time of up to 3.5 hours and 220 hours on standby. I found myself charging every couple of days to be on the safe side, but did not use the handset for much other than phone calls during testing because of its disappointing music and camera features.
I wanted to like the Samsung SGH-E900 a lot, having been wowed by the Samsung SGH-D600, but sadly that was not to be. There are some good points, not least its small overall size, light weight and the comprehensive PC connectivity, but the camera is disappointing and overall this handset is hamstrung by the touch based system used on the front fascia.