This last in particular is all about being user friendly, and I have to say I like it. I am also happy to see the software tweaks Samsung has added to the standard Windows Mobile fare.
Among these is a pair of alternative Today screens. On one of these a complex information and shortcuts panel can be maximised to replace the usual Windows Mobile Today screen, while on the other you scroll through single line information bars.
In both cases you get access to incoming message notifications, applications, file viewing, a view of upcoming appointments, missed calls and the Windows Media Player. With the single bar option, the remainder of the screen can be devoted exclusively to a wallpaper, with is a rather more pleasant on the eye system than the Windows Mobile Smartphone default – though you can have that too if you prefer.
Samsung adds applications to the Windows Mobile Smartphone standards too. For example a group called Organiser contains not only Microsoft’s Calendar, Tasks and Voice Notes, but also an alarm application and one called D-Day. This lists dates by category and tells you how many days away they are. It won’t pick up dates from the Windows Mobile Smartphone calendar but does cater for recurring events and could be useful.
There is also a unit converter, stopwatch, voice control software, and the Picsel viewer for Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint files PDFs and some image formats.
There was 109MB of free storage memory on my review SGH-i320 which came SIM free from Expansys. If you get yours through an operator you may find its software consumes some of this, but there should still be a healthy amount available. You can expand on this using microSD cards. Hotswapping cards is out of the question as you have to remove the battery to get to them.
Windows Media Player and all that available memory in theory makes the SGH-i320 a viable portable music player. But Samsung’s headset is a horrid in-ear type that simply won’t stay in my ears. That pretty much meant music listening was a no-no.
Had it been possible, I’d have been irritated by the sound quality controls. The SGH-i320 incorporates the SRS WOW system, which caters for various equaliser settings and quality enhancements, but you can’t access these while music is playing. Instead you have to set it up before running Windows Media Player. This means you can’t fiddle with equaliser settings while listening to music, which is simply irritating.
The 1.3 megapixel camera is something of a letdown in terms of megapixels, and I wouldn’t suggest you use the miniature flash unit unless you are absolutely desperate.
Indoors without the flash shots are reasonable as the sample image of the coloured dish shows. Outdoors on an overcast autumn day colours were quite vibrant but of variable quality. The purple, yellow and white of the single flower are well reproduced but the camera seemed quite keen on turning the vibrant crimson in the multi flower shot into a rather more pinky hue. Both the flower shots were taken at quite close quarters – around 30cm from the subject.
The SGH-i320 is a triumph in some respects. The wide screen does Windows Mobile Smarpthone a real favour, much of the additional software is useful, and the second battery system is handy. But the keyboard is something of a let-down.