Let’s talk touch buttons at this point. I am not a fan, which makes using the SGH-i640V challenging since all the front buttons, Call, End, two softmenus, Windows Mobile Home and Back, are touch buttons. If one thing puts me off this smartphone, it is these buttons.
I really like the way Samsung has made the navigation button a wheel which you can swivel as well as nudge in up, down, left and right configuration. I’ve seen this before on Samsung devices, and it works well for me. The QWERTY keypad is not too bad either. Its keys are tall and thin, and angled out slightly from an imaginary central vertical line. I found them quite comfortable and easy to use at a fair old lick.
The SGH-i640V runs Windows Mobile but it doesn’t look like it at first glance. If you remember my review of the Palm Treo 500v (on Vodafone) back in the latter part of last year you’ll recall that it sported a fancy new interface.
The SGH-i640V does it again, and while I rather like the different look it gives to things it can take a little getting used to. When you hit the Start button you are taken to a screen that offers a horizontally scrolling set of application and information groups. Highlight one and you can scroll vertically through the options it offers.
The groupings are not all going to be familiar to Windows Mobile users. Music and Video, Recent Photos, Message Centre, Favourite Contacts, Upcoming Events and My settings, are complemented by groups for Windows Live services, Recent Programs and Live! which provides access to Vodafone Live!, Google Maps and Mobile TV.
As you scroll through the list the softkey buttons change their functions. In theory this allows you quick access to features, and it does in practice too, but you may need to spend some time familiarising yourself with everything if you are migrating from Windows Mobile on a more standard-looking device.
You can get to the Windows Mobile main menu from all this, though, and if it really proves alien there are some other user interface choices including a few Samsung specific ones and some that are much more standard Windows Mobile fare. Between the many on offer you should find something you can work with.
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