Browsing All Posts By Mihai Mateescu

HTC Vivid

HTC-Vivid

A new phone ready for Christmas

HTC Vivid is the first of two smartphones which will work on the T-Mobile network; the other one is Samsung’s Galaxy S II Skyrocket. Between these two devices we’d say the latter one is the best according to our tests, but the Vivid model also has some very good qualities which we’ll discuss in our review.

4.5″ display diagonal

When it comes to design, the HTC Vivid is quite a heavy smartphone with its 177g; this might deter people who love light devices. But the product makes up for that with these measurements: 5.07″ x 2.64″ x 0.44″. Unlike other HTC versions, the one we tested had flat edges and a single flat stainless-steel slide-out panel on its rear which added a solid factor to the device. The front is made of plastic. We didn’t have any problem when setting this product up.

The Vivid is the company’s first smartphone to have a 4.5″ display and one of the few to sport a 480 x 800-pixel resolution. Details and colors especially looked great, but the team behind HTC should definitely work on improving brightness.Viewing angles were also disappointing, as was looking at the screen in full sunlight. The buttons located on each side of the smartphone are the same ones found on previous versions. The camera is an 8-megapixel one and it boasts dual LED flash, a wide-angle F2.2 lens, auto-focus and backside illumination.HTC-Vivid

Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS

The Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS with Sense 3.0 allows for a lot of personalization options. The user interface on the HTC Vivid was by far the most appealing one in terms of design and one of the most deeply integrated ones we’ve come across so far for this review. When we tested the smartphone and its interface we found many varied widgets, apps and other such things which kept us well entertained for a couple of hours. The virtual very responsive keyboard offered by the Sense 3.0 was more than spacious, making typing an utterly pleasant experience, especially considering the fact that we found everything we needed (including symbols, language and so on) on the layout.

Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor

In the processor department, the HTC Vivid ran on a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 with 1GB of RAM. Navigating through home screens, opening apps and performing other such actions was done with good speeds; only twice or three times did we experience lags.

As on other HTC smartphones, core organizer applications on the Vivid model were functional and offered us control over features such as the clock, voice recorder, calendar and many others. Whenever we used Gmail apps or HTC mail we didn’t need to scroll as much as we used to on other devices to be able to read content. What was more, we very much appreciated the possibility to preview the e-mails we received without having to open a dedicated app to do so.

8-megapixel camera

The HTC Vivid also comes with an 8-megapixel camera that sports a wealth of settings for both snapping pictures and shooting videos. Outdoor conditions produced overall good results, although some of the pictures had a purple tint about them and exhibited noise in darker areas. Macro shots were the camera’s best asset. The dual LED flash managed to turn photos taken in low light into decent-looking ones. Videos lost a lot of detail when we played them back.

HSPA+ speeds delivered by the Vivid smartphone were simply amazing: download speeds reached 12Mbits/s; upload speeds were around 1.5Mbits/s.

As far as call quality goes, the earpiece didn’t have good volume levels and voices sounded hollow; the speakerphone fared much better,despite some squeakiness when we set the volume up. The battery life took almost 6 hours talk time with a single battery charge.

Review conclusion

At the final of the phone review and at a conclusion, the HTC Vivid will make a good present for Christmas if you wish an Android powered smartphone.

Technical specifications

Device statusAvailable. Release date: November 2011.
Official anouncedOct-11
DimensionsExternal dimensions128.8 x 67.1 x 11.2 mm
ScreenTypeS-LCD capacitive touch screen, 256K Available Colours
Dimensions540 x 960 pixels, 4.5 inches (~245 ppi pixel density)
Multi-touch input method
Total weight176.9 g
General specifications2G NetworkGSM 850 MHZ / 900 MHZ / 1800 MHZ / 1900 MHZ
3G NetworkHSDPA 850 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
LTE 700
SoundAlert characteristicsVibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jackIncluded
LoudspeakerIncluded
Call recordsPractically unlimited
MemoryPhone bookPractically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Memory card slotmicroSD card, up to 32GB,
Internal16 GB Data storage
EDGEIncluded
3GHSDPA, HSUPA, LTE
DataGPRSIncluded
BluetoothIncluded, v3.0 with A2DP
Accelerometer Light sensor for UI auto-rotate
Proximity Light sensor for auto shut down
HTC Sense UI
touch-sensitive controls
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
USBIncluded, microUSB v2.0
Infrared portNot included
Camera specificationsPrimary camera8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
VideoIncluded, 1980×1080 pixel, [email protected]
FeaturesGeo-tagging, face detection
Secondary cameraIncluded, 1.3 MP
PROCESSOR1.2 GHz dual-core CPU
FeaturesOSAndroid OS, v2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
Internet BrowserWAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
RadioStereo FM radio with RDS
MessagingSMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email
Google Search, Maps, Gmail
YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa included
MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
Time management organizer
Voice memo/dial/commands
Predictive text input
Document viewer
MP3/AAC+/WAV/WMA player
Digital compass
GamesIncluded + downloadable
GPSIncluded, with A-GPS support
JavaIncluded, via Java MIDP emulator
Available ColoursBlack, White
Battery typeStandard battery, Li-Ion 1650 mAh
Estimated talk timeUp to 7 h 40 min
Stand-by timeUp to 288 h battery life
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Samsung HM7000 Bluetooth Headset

Samsung-HM7000-bluetooth-headset

A new gadget on the market

Wearing a Bluetooth headset is a good idea when driving through busy traffic, especially when you want to avoid getting into an accident or landing a driving fine. But there are many people who wear this kind of device in completely inappropriate places, like theaters or cinemas; they usually annoy spectators when they decide to answer a call in the middle of a very important scene. If you’re one of those who want a Bluetooth headset to use only when the situation clearly calls for it, Samsung has what you need in the shape of its HM7000. We took the gadget for a spin and wrote the following review.

miniUSB wall charger included

The recent Samsung HM7000 Bluetooth Headset is one of the lightest products in its category, because it weighs only 11g. The unit ships with a charger/carry case, 2 ear hooks, 1 miniUSB wall charger, 2 ear gels and a quick start guide. Sadly there was no user’s manual, but we found that setting the device up was very easy once we started reading the quick start guide. Being such a slim product – measuring just 1.5″ x 3.38″ x 8.5″ – made us forget we were wearing it. And, when we didn’t want to use it anymore, we simply put it in its charger/carrying case which acted both as a protective case and a charging spot. The ear support offered by this HM7000 is made of plastic, which reduces the visibility of the whole device, but not by very much as to become an annoying factor. Almost all Bluetooth headsets have a distracting blue light, but this one features a circular piece of frosted plastic that makes the light quite invisible to other people standing at a distance. Another thing we saw when we started testing the product was an optional curved ear support; after removing it the headset almost fell off. Our advice is to wear it, even if the speaker sits over the ear rather than in it.Samsung-HM7000-bluetooth-headset

A small device

The Samsung HM7000 Bluetooth Headset is quite a small product which is nonetheless preloaded with many great features. Just to name a few: managing text-to speech settings, viewing your Bluetooth headset status on your phone, answering and making calls with simple commands, customizing the settings of your headset with the text-to-speech capabilities offered through an Android app called FreeSync and many other various possibilities. The small dock this gadget came with was able to connect to external power via USB; our readers should also know that the dock had its own battery which, when we tested the headset for this review and it could be charged up to 3 times per day. We could even take the device, put it in our pocket and leave it to charge while moving around in our lab.

Built-in voice commands

The included microphone was somewhat protruding beyond the main body of the headset, but its great advantage was that it featured dual noise cancellation technology which actually worked really well. People we talked to reported they could hear us loud and clear and we had the same experience when talking to them. The HM7000 Bluetooth Headset was also able to reduce and cancel wind noise and echoes.

As a downside, voice commands didn’t work as they should have. Using the headset for Google Voice Search wasn’t possible, so we were stuck with using Motorola’s Bluetooth Commands, for instance, which weren’t impressive. There is, however, recognition on the built-in voice commands, but they don’t offer useful things. On the bright side, the device allowed us to get about 15m away from our phone before it disconnected. Also, battery life meant almost 4 hours of use before recharging the headset.

Review conclusion

To sum it up the test performed for this review, the Samsung HM7000 Bluetooth Headset is an efficient and easy to use device.

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Nokia N9

Nokia-N9

An excellent smartphone

Ever since Apple, Samsung and other companies launched their new smartphones featuring a large array of exciting and seemingly endless possibilities, Nokia has tried to keep up with them, but failed quite a few times. Former Nokia users changed their affinities and opted for the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S and other popular smartphones. The latest N9 represents the Finnish company’s attempt at bringing fans back to its products. Will it work? We certainly hope so, despite this device being the first one to run on a presumably not so brilliant MeeGo operating system. Let’s us what our tests showed in this review.

Unibody polycarbonate

Have you ever had the feeling that all smartphones today look almost the same? We have and that’s why it’s refreshing to see that the Nokia N9 does its best to make sure that it doesn’t share similarities in terms of design to other devices on the market. The product is available in 3 colors, namely black, blue and fluoro pink. The one we decided to test was black and looked very elegant with its unibody polycarbonate that didn’t feel nor appear cheap. Dropping it a few times during our test didn’t result in serious damage, because this smartphone was very solid. When examining the device further we noticed it had no mechanical buttons for navigation, only power and volume keys. A rather surprising discovery was the fact that the microUSB charging/data port and the SIM card slot were hidden behind some kind of small trapdoors. Nokia-N9

Easy to use interface

Unlike other smartphones, the Nokia N9 offers what is considered one of the easiest to use interfaces ever; when we turned the device on, we were immediately given access to a vertically scrolling list including tools, services and games already installed on the product. Swiping from left to right in the apps screen opened thumbnails of all recently used applications. This swiping possibility represents a major improvement from the standard button-tapping used in today’s smartphones.

From what we saw in our review, the strongest point of the N9 is messaging. The smartphone goes beyond simple e-mail and SMS possibilities and adds an always-on system for communicating with friends on services like Google Talk, Skype and the like. A new feature on the Nokia N9 is NFC support, which means that the device will easily communicate (as in data transfer) with various other devices which are in close proximity to it and sport this near-field communication option.

8 megapixel camera

Of course there’s also a camera installed on the Nokia N9. This one has 8 megapixel and is capable of snapping quite decent pictures; and by “quite decent” we mean problems with strong light, some soft focus and kind of unimpressive colors. Videos, on the other hand, looked very good. Buyers will be pleased to find out that the product plays all kinds of video formats, including WMV and MP4. Music lovers will find it easy to listen to an array of music formats.

When it comes to memory, the smartphone offers two options: 16GB and 64GB. This makes the N9 stand on equal grounds with the iPhone. The battery life didn’t last a whole day, but that was mainly due to heavy usage of the device.

1GHz Cortex-A8 OMAP 3630 CPU

Loading Internet pages didn’t take at all long, although performance wasn’t as quick as the one offered by Samsung’s Galaxy S and Apple’s iPhone.

General performance was good. The 1GHz Cortex-A8 OMAP 3630 processor with 1GB of RAM and Power SGX530 graphics made the smartphone snappy and quite good when playing games.

Review conclusion

All in all, at the end of the review, the Nokia N9 is a fairly good smartphone with an excellent messaging system, one of the best media-playing experiences and good hardware.

Technical specifications

Operating SystemMeego
Dimensions116.45×61.2×7.6-12.1 mm
Antenna TypeInternal
Form Factorbar
Weight135 g
Dedicated Keyscamera, volume , power
Frequency BandsHSDPA : 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz
GSM : 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CameraYes 8.1 MP
Image FormatsJPEG
Resolution3264×2448 pixels
FlashYes
Zoomavailable, 4x
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Video Recordingyes Resolution :1280×720 30 fps
Video Outavailable
Display
Colors16000000 colors
Typecolor : AMOLED
Touch Screenyes
FeaturesImages: Wide-angle lens, Lens aperture F2.2, Touch-to-focus and exposure lock, face tracking, Carl Zeiss optics, Automatic Motion Blur Reduction Video:Continuous autofocus,Stereo sound recording
Secondary Cameraavailable
Secondary Camera
Flashnot available
Data
Data ModesGPRS / EDGE (EGPRS) / HSDPA 3.6
Internet BrowsingYes , HTML 5 , HTML5, CSS 3 , XHTML
HSDPAavailable
3Gavailable
GPRSavailable
EDGEavailable
Connectivity
BluetoothYes , version 2.1 + EDR
USBavailable
GPSavailable
IrdaNo
Wlan/Wi-fiYes Modes: 802.11b / 802.11g / 802.11n
Memory
USB Mass Storageavailable
Memory SlotNo
Inbuilt16 GB
Messaging
SMSavailable
MMSavailable
Emailavailable
Media
Video PlaybackYes
Video FormatsMPEG-4 / 3GPP H.263 / H.264/AVC / WMV 9
FM RadioNo
Streamingavailable
Audio Playbackavailable
Audio FormatsAAC / AAC+ / eAAC+ / MP3 / MP4 / WMA
3.5mm Headphone Jackavailable
Ringtonesmp3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB
Battery
TypeLi – Ion
Talktime660 mins HSDPA: 420 mins
Standby380 hours HSDPA: 450 hours
Capacity1500 mAh
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Motorola Atrix 2

Motorola-Atrix-2

A powerful dual core phone

The first Motorola Atrix was officially released during CES 2011 and it impressed a lot of people present at the event. Why: because of a dual-core processor, an optional laptop dock accessory, a very good price and many other great features. It even received Best of CES Award on several review boards. When we tested it for the first time we noticed some flaws which Motorola has since sought to remove from its latest Atrix 2 smartphone. Here’s our review which will tell you the most important things about this heavily anticipated smartphone.

4.3-inch qHD display

The design of the Motorola Atrix 2 (whose whole body is made of plastic), though at first glance similar to the one on its predecessor, features some subtle differences. The overall shape with rounded corners is the same, but this model comes with a shiny gunmetal gray bezel around the front and a rubberized textured back; the latter fact made the device feel luxurious when we held it for our tests. The height, width and depth are different than those on the first Atrix: 4.95″ x 2.59″ x 0.41″. This is all due in fact to the large screen, a 4.3-inch qHD. Since we’re talking about the screen, we should also note that this one doesn’t ship with the Atrix’s Pentile display; this was good news, because it meant that there was no more poor pixel density to frustrate us. Text was very easy to read on the screen of the Atrix 2 and graphics were vibrant. Another difference we spotted when we looked at this smartphone was the addition of a dedicated camera key and the lack of the usual fingerprint scanner found on the previous model.Motorola-Atrix-2

Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS

In terms of OS, the Motorola Atrix 2 uses Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. This operating system sports a better MotoBlur interface which is very easy to use and looks nice. As a plus, it features 5 customizable home screens, swiping possibilities, text input either with the help of Swype or a multitouch Android keyboard and many more options.

The processor used by the Atrix 2 is a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP4. We expected an Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset, but the smartphone worked very well with what it had. Opening files, selecting settings and other such actions didn’t bring lags with them; neither did the capacitive touch screen.

1GHz TI OMAP4 processor

Motorola’s latest smartphone boasts all the usual features and then some. Besides a clock, calendar, text and multimedia messaging, speakerphone and so on there’s also a wide array of apps, an 8-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and several others. Connectivity included the possibility to stream videos wirelessly and watch videos from our phone on the big screen. An application called Webtop turned the Atrix 2 into a portable PC when we docked it into an appropriate accessory; after we did that, the application’s platform launched into a separate window and gave us access, among others, to Firefox.

Despite experiencing some shutter lag, the camera on this smartphone took and shot good-looking photos and videos when lighting conditions were ideal; there was plenty of sharpness, brightness, details and the like. As a con, low light produced less impressive results.

Good battery life

Internal storage is made of 8GB; 4.4GB are available to the user. But don’t despair: the Atrix 2 comes with a 2GB microSD card that supports up to 32GB. Full pages loaded in 20 seconds and mobile sites in 8 seconds. When it came to download and upload speeds we registered 11.04Mbps, 1.09Mbps respectively.

Now for call and speakerphone quality: both were decent, with clear and loud volume, although there was some distortion now and then. The battery life offered 8.5 hours of talk time and 15.9 days standby time.

Review conclusion

Overall, at the end of this test we can conclude that after this review we are sure that the new Motorola Atrix 2 phone is a good choice if you need an Android based device, ready to offer the best features in seconds.

Technical specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
ProcessorDual Core 1 GHz TI OMAP
Memory8 GB internal storage capacity
2 GB card included in pack
RAM1 GB RAM
Display typeType: LCD (Color TFT/TFD)
4.3″ diagonal
Resolution: 540 x 960 pixels
ModesGSM 850 MHZ / 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900 MHz
WCDMA 850 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
External size4.95″ x 2.59″ x 0.41″ (126 x 66 x 10.5 mm)
Total weight5.23 oz (148 g)
BatteryTalk: 8.5 hours max. (510 minutes)
Standby: 378 hours max. (15.8 days)
Battery type1785 mAh LiIon
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Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket i727

Samsung-Galaxy-S-II-Skyrocket

A dual core phone at a good price

Are you already an owner or have you already used a Samsung Galaxy II handset before? Well, then you will have no problem adjusting to Samsung’s latest Galaxy S II Skyrocket i727 smartphone released on AT&T’s LTE network, a much faster one than the 4G HSPA+. Among the strong points of the Galaxy S II Skyrocket is its display, operating system, dual-core processor and others. We put the smartphone through a series of tests and wrote the following review.

4.5″ Super AMOLED dislay

Throwing a look at the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket for the first time made us realize that the device could easily be placed in the “largest smartphones ever made” category simply because of its dimensions, which read 5.15″ x 2.75″ x 0.37″. If the screen didn’t measure 4.5″, the smartphone would have been different. So, if you are one of those people who want a device that can fit your pockets or is easy to move from place to place, this product is definitely not what you’re looking for. However, if we were to compare this product with other large ones, it would win first prize when it came to how comfortable we felt holding it. The body of the Galaxy S II Skyrocket i727 is made entirely of plastic and it thus weighs little: 134 grams.Samsung-Galaxy-S-II-Skyrocket

Moving on, the 4.5″ display, despite being so big, is of the Super AMOLED type, which means that the user will enjoy excellent levels of brightness, beautiful colors and great sharpness. The 800 x 480 pixel resolution wasn’t improved from previous models, but it didn’t take away from the screen’s pros.

Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS

The touchscreen was, during our tests, very responsive and we could perform a series of finger and motion gestures on it with great success. What was more, we were able to make good use of an app called Voice Talk that helped us perform actions using voice command. Since the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket sports an Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS, the user interface is TouchWiz 4.o. The latter brings 7 home screens which can be easily customized, autorotation, a notification pull-down menu for easy toggling of Wi-Fi, silent mode, Bluetooth and GPS. The operating system is also offering the option of capturing screenshots by pressing the Power and Home keys at the same time, resizing Samsung Live Panel widgets and other possibilities. There’s also a built-in task manager displaying RAM status, system storage and so on.

8-megapixel camera

Features-wise, the smartphone we’re discussing in today’s review boasts the following: text and multimedia messaging, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, speakerphone, voice dialing, conference calling, embedded NFC chip, Media Hub app, Google services, the usual calculator/calendar/alarm clock/etc., an 8-megapixel camera and many more. Taking photos and shooting videos with the aforementioned camera was a very pleasant and rewarding experience, thanks to the results; picture quality was more than impressive even when the light wasn’t ideal (that was where the flash came in to solve things in a professional manner): colors were rich and videos displayed few blurs. After we were done we could store the content using the smartphone’s 1GB of RAM. The device accepts up to 32GB if you want to use a microSD card.

Qualcomm Snapdragon processor

The 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor on the Galaxy S II Skyrocket made navigation fast and lagging-free. Battery life: 7 hours of talk time and 10.4 days of standby time.
3G delivered download speeds of 3.2Mbps and an upload speed of 1.1Mbps. Full sites loaded in around 15 seconds, while mobile pages loaded in 10 seconds.
Call quality and audio quality were very good when we checked them: clarity and volume were superb and we didn’t hear a lot of background noise. Those we called reported the same great quality.

Review conclusion

At the end of this test, the review conclusions are simple: the new Galaxy S II Skyrocket i727 is a very intelligent phone powered by Android.

Technical specifications

General specifications2G NetworkGSM 850 MHZ / 900 MHZ / 1800 MHZ / 1900 MHZ
3G NetworkHSDPA 850 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
LTE 700
Device statusAvailable. Release date: November 2011
Official anounced2011, October
ScreenTypeSuper AMOLED Plus capacitive touch screen, 16M Available Colours
DimensionsExternal dimensions129.8 x 68.8 x 9.5 mm
Display characteristics480 x 800 pixels, 4.5 inches (~207 ppi pixel density)
TouchWiz UI v4.0Available
Accelerometer Light sensor for UI auto-rotateAvailable
Proximity Light sensor for auto shut downAvailable
touch-sensitive controlsAvailable
Gorilla Glass ScreenAvailable
Multi-touch input methodAvailable
Gyroscope Light sensorAvailable
Total weight130.5 g
SoundAlert characteristicsVibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jackIncluded
MemoryPhone bookPractically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
LoudspeakerIncluded
Internal memory16 GB Data storage, 1 GB RAM
Call recordsPractically unlimited
Memory card slotmicroSD card, up to 32GB,
EDGEIncluded
3GHSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE
DataGPRSIncluded
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Infrared portNot included
USBIncluded, v2.0 microUSB
BluetoothIncluded, v3.0+HS
PROCESSOR1.5 GHz dual-core processor
OSAndroid OS, v2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
Camera specificationsPrimary camera8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
VideoIncluded, 1980×1080 pixel, [email protected]
FeaturesGeo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
SecondaryIncluded, 2 MP
Internet BrowserHTML
RadioStereo FM radio with RDS
MessagingSMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
GamesIncluded
JavaIncluded, via Java MIDP emulator
Active Not includedise cancellation with dedicated mic
GPSIncluded, with A-GPS support
SNS included
Digital compass
NFC support
Available ColoursBlack
MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
Time management organizer
Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
Image/video editor
– Adobe Flash 10.1 support
Voice memo/dial/commands
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa included
Predictive text input (Swype)
BatteryStandard battery, Li-Ion 1850 mAh
Estimated talk timeUp to 7 h
Stand-by timeUp to 256 h
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Samsung Exhibit II 4G

Samsung-Exhibit-II-4G

A new phone at a good price

The first Samsung Exhibit 4G was launched in June this year. T-Mobile decided it was high time the smartphone was followed by a sequel, the Exhibit II 4G. The device has a 3.7″ WVGA touchscreen, a 1GHz processor, runs on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network and comes with several other features you’ll discover under our review. The price of this smartphone is also very attractive: $29.99 to which will be added $50 mail-in rebate when buying it with a 2-year contract. We tested the smartphone for you and here are our thoughts on it.

Changed design

Although it bears the same name as its predecessor, the Samsung Exhibit II 4G looks nothing like it. When we put the two smartphones side by side we saw that the sequel featured a rounded bottom and a flat top, whereas the first Exhibit shipped with a rounded top and a flat bottom. The body of the Exhibit II 4G is made of plastic; the front is shiny and there are matte gray sides. The camera lens is surrounded by a metal ring and the rear has a dark-blue texture to it.Samsung-Exhibit-II-4G

The smartphone we tested for our review is compact and thin, not to mention light with its 113 g and 4.54″ x 2.35″ x 0.45. The screen we mentioned briefly in the beginning is a 3.7″ TFT WVGA with 480 x 800 pixels and support for 16 million colors.

TouchWiz interface

These specifications provided the device with all the usual yummy stuff we have come to expect from Samsung smartphones, such as great colors, brightness, clarity and sharpness. The only problem was when we held it in the sunlight, because everything immediately began to look washed out. While it might not be the perfect display, it is nonetheless a reliable one. The on-screen keyboard worked very well and it didn’t lag at all; the buttons were all responsive and swift. The same we’ll say about the TouchWiz interface, which will help even beginners navigate their way around with extreme ease. Under the screen are the same 4 touch sensitive keys used on every smartphone nowadays. Users will probably miss the physical Home button found on the first Samsung Exhibit, but they’ll have to make do with what they have.

1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU

The back of the device sports a 3-megapixel camera with flash and beneath the rear cover sits a microSD card slot that can hold up to 32GB of memory. Photos and videos taken and shot with the camera looked impressive, albeit colors appeared a bit less vibrant than on other smartphones.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread brings the smartphone to life with its many possibilities, including 7 home screens which can be customized, easy access to system services, an overview screen and other such options. The 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor inserted into this device gave a tiny bit of lag, but not enough to worry us.

Good call quality

As for features, the Samsung Exhibit II 4G includes a microUSB port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 3.5mm headset jack, text and multimedia messaging, games, the standard Google services, a music player, Kies Air syncing apps, AllShare DLNA and many more.

4G speeds were, according to results offered by our tests, good. Full sites loaded in 19 seconds. Download speeds, though, were less than impressive, ranging from 0.20Mbps to 4.69Mbps; uploads were 1.68Mbps. The battery life provided us with almost 6 hours of talk time.

Now comes the final part of our review: call quality, including that of the speakerphone. Call quality for the Exhibit II 4G was very good, with excellent volume and lack of background noises. The speakerphone fared the same.

Review conclusion

The latest Samsung Exhibit II 4G has all the makings of becoming a successful smartphone.

Technical specifications

CPU1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 MSM8255
DisplayType: LCD (Color TFT/TFD)
Operating SystemAndroid version 2.3
External size4.54″ x 2.35″ x 0.45″ (115 x 60 x 11.4 mm)
Weight4 oz (113 g)
ModesWCDMA 850 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
GSM 850 MHz / 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900 MHz
Resolution: 480 x 800 pixels3.7″ diagonal
Memory4 GB internal storage, raw hardware
512 MB RAM
BatteryTalk: 5.5 hours max. (330 minutes)
1500 mAh Li Ion
Standby: 360 hours max. (15 days)
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Samsung Focus Flash

Samsung-Focus-Flash

A new budget smartphone

It is widely known that AT&T’s budget smartphone options are limited. Here’s where Samsung Focus Flash comes to save the day with its more than great performance despite the low $49.99 it costs. This device is the first one ever to use Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and it boasts a 1.4GHz processor, a Super AMOLED screen and many more exciting features. The smartphone we’ll begin discussing in a short while has already gotten itself a reputation of being one of the most user friendly ones today. Read our review to find out why.

Good external design

We’ve tested a lot of different smartphones up until now, but we have to say that the Samsung Focus Flash doesn’t look like a cheap device at all. On the contrary, the way it is made reminds us of the care and love of details a tailor puts into the clothes she or he makes: the front is glossy black, the edges are sharp and the battery cover is dark grey with a metal strip inserted into it. The small size of the body struck us the most: 4.6″ x 2.3″ x 0.4″. Even the weight is something to love about this product: 116 g. The specifications, therefore, make the Focus Flash an ideal smartphone to carry with you at meetings, when strolling in the park and so on. Unfortunately, the exterior got dirty with fingerprints very quick when we opened the device and started using it.Samsung-Focus-Flash

Super AMOLED display

Moving on to other matters, the display measures 3.7″ and it is, as already mentioned, of the Super AMOLED type. Colors, details, sharpness and others made the screen a pleasure to look at when watching online trailers, navigating and so on. Despite all this, the screen is smaller than others, so if you don’t like this one you should opt for a different smartphone. A camera sits above the display and 2 buttons for Back and Search underneath it. On the right side there’s the Power and the Volume keys; a microUSB port is located on the bottom edge and a headphone jack on the top. A second camera is housed on the rear of the device. In terms of keyboard, the one used by the Focus Flash is basic with an easy to use layout; the dedicated .com and @ buttons made us appreciate this smartphone even more.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS

The product we tested for our review ran on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, which offered a lot of features and a very helpful dynamic Live Tiles interface. The OS made multitasking a real treat and its People hub and Local Scout were two very interesting options to make good use of. While the first one gave us the possibility to see updates from friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, the second feature made us discover things to do and places to visit near our location.

Medium battery life

In the features department, the Samsung Focus Flash comes with text and multimedia messaging, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, phonebook, voice prompts, GPS, podcast subscriptions, apps, games, two cameras and several other things. Since we talked about the existence of 2 cameras, let’s see how they performed. They both delivered so and so image quality, which unfortunately can also be said about the videos we shot with them.

Data speeds were decent, with full sites loading in 34 seconds. The battery life offered 6.5 hours of talk time.

Call quality of Samsung Flash phone was decent. The speakerphone, to our surprise, was superb; in fact it delivered one of the best audio qualities we have heard so far.

Review conclusions

Overall, at the and of the test for this review, the Samsung Focus Flash is close to perfect for those of you who want a good smartphone at a good price with good specifications.

Technical specifications

ModesWCDMA 850 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
GSM 850 MHz / 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900 MHz
External dimensions4.57″ x 2.31″ x 0.43″ (116 x 59 x 10.9 mm)
Weight4.1 oz (116 g)
DisplayType: OLED (Full-Color)
3.7″ diagonal
Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Resolution: 480 x 800 pixels
Samsung Super AMOLED
Memory8 GB internal storage, raw hardware
Processor1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon
Operating SystemWindows Phone (7) version 7.5 Mango
Internal storage6.3 GB
BatteryTalk: 6.5 hours max. (390 minutes)
1500 mAh LiIon
Standby: 240 hours max. (10 days)
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