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Samsung is a pretty prolific maker of smartphones and consumer phones, and it has come up with some interesting takes on both concepts in the past.
On the mobile phones front it has produced some great handsets. I am still smiling about the SGH-F700. The company also sometimes bemuses. I remain a little confused by the twisty and small SGH-F210 and the two-faced SGH-F300. On the smartphones front Samsung usually impresses, though, and the SGH-i600 was a case in point.
The SGH-i640V, though, is not an all round winner, and I'll get to why as this review progresses.
Exclusive to Vodafone as I write, this is a tri-band 3G slider running Windows Mobile 6.0 in its non touch-screened smartphone incarnation.
You'd not be rash to surmise from that fact that that the SGH-i640V is designed for those whose communications are more voice-centred than data oriented. But think again, as the SGH-i640V is a slider and beneath the slider mechanism hides a full QWERTY keyboard.
Sliders with QWERTY keyboards don't lend themselves to tiny proportions, and that is illustrated well here. The SGH-i640V is 95mm tall when closed, rising to about 133mm when opened. To be fair, that isn't wildly off the mark you'd expect from a slider. But this is a wide beastie at 61mm which does make it a bit of a challenge for some pockets.
There are two thickness measurements. This is not because the SGH-i640V is constructed in some sort of ultra quirky wavy way, but because it comes with two batteries, one longer life and therefore thicker than the other. The official thickness measurement at the Vodafone web site is 16mm which is accurate for the standard battery. The extend life battery brings the thickness to a more generous 18mm.
This has an obvious ramification for weight too. With the standard battery in place the weight is 126g. Slot the extended life battery into place and you are toting closer to 160g.
The good news is that with both batteries fully charged battery life is superb. I ran my usual rundown test on both batteries, asking the SGH-i640V to play music without stopping and with its screen forced on. The standard battery gave me a minute less than seven hours and the extended battery managed nine hours 22 minutes. Taken together that gives you a battery life of 16 hours 21 minutes.
The SGH-i640V ships with a battery charging unit. This is quite sizeable in its own right, but if you are prepared to carry it, as well as the proprietary charge connector Samsung likes to use, then you needn't worry about battery life.
Having mentioned the proprietary charge connector, I'll just add at this point that the headphones share the connector, and they are one-piece. Obviously, this means that if you have a favourite set of headphones with a 3.5mm jack, you can't use them here.