Whatever option you choose, music goes into the phone’s internal memory of which there is 1GB. There is no option to expand this using flash memory cards. I think this is a major drawback. With players like SanDisk’s Sansa e280 offering 8GB and a microSD card it could end up being a clincher on the ‘to buy or not to buy’ question.
Music player quality was fine to my ear and to its credit Samsung provides a two-piece headset which uses the same proprietary connector at the handset end as the PC cable and mains power but has a 3.5mm jack after its microphone so you can use your own favourite headset easily.
On the downside while you can go into offline mode for music listening you can only do this via the Settings menu and it requires no less than five key presses. Then later you’ll need to make another five to get back into online mode.
For all its novelty of combining music player and phone Samsung has not forgotten to include a camera – I mentioned its shortcut button earlier. With a maximum image resolution of 1.3 megapixels it is decidedly behind the times. It is also somewhat fiddly to use and its performance is disappointing.
I found it difficult not to put my finger over the lens when taking shots because of its position and the fact that the handset is so small. The size of the screen made framing photos rather difficult, though if you are used to using clamshell front screens for this purpose you might be able to get on with this OK.
As for image quality, as usual I left the handset to make up its own mind what to do about conditions, shot at the highest resolution available and set picture quality to super fine. The results were passable but no more.
My standard reference shot of the coloured dish was grainy and its colours less than vibrant. Outdoor shots often suffered in colour definition too. The pure gold of the catkins is reduced to a pale mustard shade. On the other hand the snowdrops are fairly well coloured, and I was surprised that the camera coped with this shot as it was taken no more than 12 inches from its subject.
The screen is a major problem with this phone because it simply isn’t big enough in many circumstances. Web browsing is technically possible but viewing in the tiny screen is difficult. Reading SMS messages is OK but not wonderful, and so it is with other applications, which include a calendar, voice recorder, alarm, calculator, various unit converters, timer, stopwatch and memo maker.
Battery life proved very impressive. Continuous playback of MP3s from the internal memory off a full battery charge delivered over sixteen and a half hours of music. That’s well up there in comparison with standalone portable music players.
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Serious compromises have been made here and they’ll make or break your decision to like or loathe this handset. If you want a phone that can handle web browsing and display a detailed calendar view, then this isn’t going to suit you.
But if you want a phone primarily for voice calls and texting and you’re also a music fan who doesn’t need more than 1GB of storage, then this could be just what you need.