Been drooling at the iPhone but can’t bear the thought of the price? There are other options, and you don’t have to go down the smartphone/PDA route to get them. Samsung’s tri-band, HSDPA, 3G-equipped SGH-F700 is one example.
This is a phone that looks like a PDA thanks to its all-screen front, its touch-screen capability and its sliding keyboard. It is nicely made, styled in black with a shiny casing and a narrow, phone-like frame.
But it is not a PDA. It is a nicely featured standard mobile phone, with plenty of functions including synching with Outlook and Outlook Express. It sort of blurs the boundaries between PDA and high-end, smart-looking mobile.
The 240 x 440 pixels of the touch-screen are more than we are used to seeing in PDAs, and they are used to deliver clear, sharp and crisp images. As is the trend at the moment, you can sweep the screen with a finger to get to some features, for example to move through lists. In a clever move, if you sweep its left side the screen scrolls fairly fast, sweep its right side and the scrolling is slower.
At those moments when you just have to tap the screen there is a nice little tinkle and a physical vibration that comfortingly confirm you have tapped.
You don’t have to pull out the physical keyboard to enter text as there is also a tappable one on screen. When you do slide out the keyboard the screen flips over into wide mode. This is good for using the Web browser where the wide format helps a lot.
A great Web browsing feature is that the side-mounted volume rocker doubles as a zoom key so you can change the zoom level for different pages easily and fast. There is also a 3-megapixel main camera with flash and a front-facing second camera for video calling.
If music is your thing then the 3.5mm headset jack might appeal. The provided headset is two-piece with a second 3.5mm connector just past the microphone, so you can use a preferred set of earphones if you don’t like the ones that are supplied, while the phone comes with a 1GB microSD card. At launch the SGH-F700 was exclusive to Vodafone and compatible with that operator’s MusicStation download site.
There is a lot to like about this mobile, but its proprietary operating system means you can’t bulk it out with add-on software as you can many smartphones, and there are some other niggles like the absence of Wi-fi which is becoming a staple of higher end mobiles these days.
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