Samsung i780

I have recently received my new Samsung i780, and have to say I am presently surprised. I have always felt that Samsung have tended towards a social phone, and was therefore very skeptical about purchasing a Samsung for business. But, then again, anything is better than that ghastly Nokia N70 I had before this. I will try and give a brief overview of what I like and hate about the the phone as well as a breakdown of some of its features.

First I will give you a bit of background into my experiences with window powered phones. My first Microsoft phone was the big Qtek. All in all, my experience with this phone was not great, and I ditched it after a while - it was just too big and bulky to be used comfortably as a phone. great as a PDA, but not as a phone. In addition to this, it was notorious for poor radio software, so all I did really learn whilst using this phone was how to flash the ROM with updated radio and operating system software! I knew then, I needed the simplicity of a phone with a keyboard, but with the business power of what windows mobile had to offer. My next phone was the Motorola Mpx200. What a great phone. I loved every minute of my time with it! At the time of my next upgrade, my Motorola had a well documented hardware fault, where it could not charge, so I was forced to upgrade quickly, and because there was nothing available, I went for the Nokia N70. It is now boxed up!

Anyway, onto the Samsung. When choosing this phone, I looked at various other alternatives, but had some key requirements:

  1. It must have a keyboard
  2. It must be Windows Mobile 6
  3. It must have a GPS
  4. It must not be bulky

If price didn't come into it, I would probably have gone with the HTC Tytn II. But, price did come into it, and I dont have it!

The Samsung i780 has all of the above including:

  1. Wifi
  2. Bluetooth
  3. Camera
  4. Touch Screen
  5. HSDPA

The look

I am not going into too much detail on the looks, but it is slim and easily fits in my pocket. The keypad keys are small enough, but not too small that I press multiple keys (I have relatively small hands, so anyone with bear paws will have a problem). Some pics courtesy of GSMArena:

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The phone is touch screen. So you can navigate using the keyboard, the stylus, with your finger, or with the unique touch pad/d pad. As far as I am concerned, the touch pad is great!. I have not tried the D pad functionality, as I have not needed to, and I hardly ever pull the stylus out. The best way to describe the touch pad, is exactly like a touch pad on a laptop. It is entirely driven by your thumb, and moves a little mouse around the screen. Great concept that works well!

The Camera

A Camera is not that important to me, but I have needed to use it, and on more than one occasion at night. Unfortunately, it does not have a flash, and this made these photo's impossible. The mouse pointer does not work very well with the camera, so you need to use the styles or your finger. the camera his is however not an important feature for me. If you plan to take lots of photo's with your phone, then perhaps look around other options.

The GPS

The phone comes with a built in GPS, and in South Africa is shipped with a 1Gb Micro SD card with Garmin Maps on it. Garmin Maps works exceptionally well, and I have been able to test it on a long journey in high traffic. Needless to say, it made my trip a lot easier, and I did not get lost at any point! On a negative side, I have tested the GPS with other GPS software, and it does not work "out of the box" with a number of products. That said I have been able to get it to work with some. If you are into geocaching "smache" does work. There are software products available to get it to work with other products, and I have tried these briefly, but have not succeeded. All in all, the GPs works for what I need.

WIFI, 3G, GPRS and HSDPA

These all work perfectly for me, although the traffic monitoring software I have tried does not work out the box. So if you need to monitor your traffic, then bear this in mind. I have not gone into a lot of effort to get them to work at this stage, so I am not sure if they will work with tweaking.

Connectivity

Using your phone as a modem is painless and easy to set up. A big negative is the phone is shipped with a non standard usb connection (i.e. not mini-usb). The connector fits into a slot on the side using a proprietary connector. The slot is exposed by opening a flimsy flap that will potentially snap off one day.

The Phone

The phone works well and I am glad to have the Microsoft predictive dialing back again. GSM arena can provide you with all the decibel specs, but I can hear perfectly, and people can hear me - that's all that matters!. The speaker-phone works well, and can be used painlessly for group discussions. Negatives are that there is no voice dialing option (very odd, as it is on all other WM 6 devices), and sometimes when in my car, I try to turn the hands free off, and it keeps on going back on. So if you are afraid of having some juicy conversation leaked to passengers in your car, bear this in mind.

The Screen

The screen is a non standard size, and there is a lot of talk on the net about application's not working properly for that size. The 3rd party applications I have installed are all usable, although for some I have to do a bit of scrolling (but not too a point that frustrates me). The screen is terrible in bright sunshine and I often find myself covering it with my other hand. The mouse pointer also does not work very well with the sun shining, and you also need to shield it from the sun to use it. If you spend more time outdoors than indoors, this may became a nuisance. This is not the case for me, so no big deterrent.

Battery

The unit ships with 2 batteries and a separate battery charger. While the battery life is not great, it is not a hindrance. I always have my second battery charged, so if I am running low on juice, I simply swap out the batteries, and recharge the spent one. With all WM devices, the usb connection also charges the phone. I actually cannot believe that all devices don't offfer this as a standard feature (the N70 definitely did not!).

Overall Assessment

I am pleased, and will recommend it to other techno-phobes, or similarly minded people. My non computer literate wife cant get her head around the keyboard, and says there are too many keys to easily dial numbers - but I don't get that. As I say, this is a power phone, and if you want a "social" phone, then this is not for you. All in all, i would probably give it a 8 out of 10. for one thing it has reminded me that as far as business phones go, I really believe Microsoft OS is leading the pack here. I used to reboot my Nokia more often, and had far more computer connectivity problems´┐Ż than my Samsung. What are you waiting for - go and get it!