Sunday, December 30, 2007

Review of UMTS-communicator Samsung i780 Part two – hardware platform, navigation, preinstalled software


Mobile-review have posted the second part of their Samsung i780 review. Here is the final impression.

The reception quality was never an issue with the i780. The loudspeaker's volume was average or a tag higher than that, which made for audible calls in most environments. We found a couple of things to fault the vibro alert for – we couldn't feel it when the i780 was in outerwear or in a bag. The earpiece fared well in general with its pretty much average volume, however people on the other end of our calls would frequently complain about the phone's extremely sensitive microphone which rendered our voices excessively loud. But keep in mind that we didn’t have a commercial unit in our laboratory, so we believe when the i780 arrives this drawback will have already been dealt with.

The Samsung i780 has no direct rivals in sight – neither design-wise nor in terms of technological talents. And while its looks may be questioned by some (not all consumers are fond of thumbboards and thus thick casings, as well as square-shaped displays), as far as its spec sheet is concerned, the Samsung i780 packs more punch than any other device available today.

In this sense, the i780 is somewhat like the HTC TyTN II, however, the latter boasts a batter camera, yet a weaker CPU. Both retain displays with average resolutions, however the Samsung's matrix has the upper hand here. Here is a brief conclusion on what is good and what is bad about the i780:

The good:

New platform, PXA3xx, packing the best-performing CPU among WM-powered solutions
128 Mb of RAM
Decent display
Robust build quality
Well-picked suite of applications
The bad:

Mediocre (for Samsung) 2 Mpix camera, which is only in line with other WM communicators
Non-standard display resolution (320x320 pixels), bringing about issues with games and some applications
Touchpad, installed instead of a conventional navigation key (not everyone finds it convenient)
And the most interesting. The device is slotted for early 2008 (in Russia), no word on exact release dates, though. But they have already let some info on its retail price slip – the i780 will go for 700 USD for both European and Russian (!) markets. We put an exclamation mark in there on purpose – there will actually be one price for these two markets. So even if you throw its letdowns into the equation, specifically a weakish camera, questionable ergonomics and a suqare display, all thanks to its price tag, the i780 morphs into one of the most intriguing offerings on the market of Windows Mobile communicators.

In essence, its price is almost half of what the HTC TyTN II goes for, lower than that of the HTC Touch Cruise, Glofiish X800, M800, X650, Asus P750 and even the Mio A702. What is more, while the Samsung i780 may not trump the above in some departments, it surely is on a par with them.

And now for the revelation we promised earlier in this write-up – why the i780 is very likely to be overlooked with all its merits and strengths. There are several reasons for that and the first one is that Samsung is not synonymous to Windows Mobile communicators in minds of most users. Many believe Samsung rolls out intuitive and eye-candy phones, which can be mastered by the very act of turning them on. Then, brand name. Which is all famous and renowned, yet has nothing to do with Windows Mobile. Essentially, the reverse thing is true as well – the consumers bent on Windows Mobile do remember that Samsung occasionally forays into this market with some solution, but they will hardly focus on devices from this maker alone. And that’s the place where another factor comes into play - the way the company treats the platform.

It is an open secret that most of Samsung's resources on the market of mobile devices are allocated to phones, whereas the segment of smartphones and communicators running Windows Mobile is more of a proving ground for the manufacturer. That's where the way it looks at this market stems from - as a rule, Samsung's solutions are loners on the Windows Mobile market, meaning that once they forge a new device, off it goes – no ad campaigns whatsoever, since the company doesn’t find the segment that interesting. But let's leave all these sad things behind. All we have left to say is that despite its oddball controls, quirky design and a very questionable square display, the Samsung i780 is still worth a glance or two.

Who will fall for this communicator? There is only one question to ask yourself to determine whether you are one of them or not – if you can live with all the abovementioned letdowns, then you should definitely keep the Samsung i780 towards the top of your short-list, as it is one of the best offerings on the WM market in terms of the price/quality ratio.

Click for part one

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