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Samsung S500i

I suppose looks are a matter of taste, but for my money, the Samsung S500i is one ugly phone. I know plenty of you will feel differently, and looks aren’t everything, so I’ll press on. With the release of a new internet platform like i-mode®, it’s more about form than function—so the question is, does it work well? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is no.

While the image on the 240px 320px screen is crisp, with excellent contrast and brightness, but the phone is a let down for me because of two serious issues:

  1. The phone’s font is absolutely awful. It’s too square, it’s too bold, it’s just plain ugly.
  1. The browser has a number of bugs in it, and refuses to render some pages properly—particularly those that use tables for layout (which, while a semantic sin, is one of the only ways to create an attractive, colourful site in i-HTML).

    Maybe it’s teething problems with the new platform, that would be understandable, but it doesn’t seem to have hindered NEC, who’s 411i does a great job of browsing the i-net, or whatever we’re supposed to call it.

    On the plus side

    The 2 mega-pixel camera (with flash) is actually a lot better than most comparable cameras I’ve seen on mobiles, and produces well defined, sharp images when set to the super-fine resolution.

    The phone’s browser does support DoJa 2.5 lite and Flash Lite 1.0 (based on Flash 4), meaning that when people start making cool games for i-mode, you’ll be able to play them on this handset. If you’re a serious mobile-gamer though, you may want to wait for a handset to come out with Flash Lite 2 on (based on Flash 7). It’s worth noting that Flash operates natively withing the i-mode® browser, not as a plug-in or a download, so it should open up some exciting possibilities with vector graphics and simple games. I’ve not had the oppotunity to see any good examples yet and test them out on the phone, but needless to say when I do, they’ll be posted on here first.

    The phone has a good quality mp3 player, with controls on the outside of the phone, allowing easy access to the media player, and the 80MB internal memory (plus support for TransFlash memory cards) means it could feasibly be used a basic portable mp3 player.

    Of all the release phones, the Samsung S500i is without a doubt the most feature rich, it’s the closest that any of the i-mode® launch handsets gets to competing with ‘regular’ phones—in terms of what you can get for your money now—but it falls short in it’s key area, browsing i-mode®. Not short in that it actually hinders access to i-mode® sites (unless you consider poor legibility a hinderance, which come to think of it, I do), but it doesn’t give you as good an impression of i-mode® as you should get, particularly for sites that really push the design limits to the edge.

    It’s safe to say that if you like the way it looks (the glossy black—and boy, is it glossy—is very i-pod Nano/PSP), and you’re not fussy about pixel perfectly rendered sites but access to information, the Samsung S500i is a safe bet for you; but if (like me) you’re fussy about rendering, and don’t like the shiny black look, you may be better off with one of the cheaper phones, or just waiting for the next round of phones to come out—we’re told there should be nine to choose from by Christmas.

    Key specifications

    Samsung S500i
    Size 83 43 22 mm
    Weight 79g
    Java DoJa 2.5 lite
    Connectivity USB, Bluetooth, Memory Card
    Camera CMOS 1.3 Mega-pixels
    Screen size 240 320 pixels
    Wallpaper/browsing screen size 240 256 pixels
    DoJa 240 256 pixels
    Colours 260k
    Second screen 96 96 pixels, 65k colours
    Browser Access Inc. Netfront v3.2
    Languages supported iHTML, xHTML, Flash Lite 1.0
    Max page size 20kB
    Size limit 300KB
    Capacity inbox: 3.5MB, outbox: 2.5MB

    Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information on the technical aspects of the handset. The Samsung S500i is available exlusively from O2

    Posted on by Jordan | permanent link

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