Samsung A711

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Samsung A711
  • Samsung A711
  • Samsung A711
  • Samsung A711

Pros

  • Lightweight, crisp internal display; great user interface; A2DP Bluetooth; touch-sensitive media controls

Cons

  • Proprietary headphone jack, USB only 1.1, difficult to flip open with one hand, no microSD card included

Bottom Line

The A711 delivers faster speeds over the Next G network and an improved menu system, making it a slight improvement over its predecessor.

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An upgrade of the previous A701, Samsung's A711 now delivers even faster HSDPA network speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. Although it's a similar handset to its predecessor aesthetically, an improved menu system, Bluetooth 2.0 instead of 1.2 and more internal memory are some other new additions.

The A711 operates exclusively on Telstra's high speed HSDPA network: Next G. We were pleasantly impressed with network speeds, as browsing news or sports results, for example, is ultra fast compared to a regular 3G network, while downloading music files was just as impressive. In most instances, the loading bar was filled in just a second or two.

Aesthetically, the A711 is surprisingly light, though quite long and wide when flipped open. Unfortunately, it's difficult to quickly open with one hand. Being a clamshell handset, the A701 has two LCD displays. We really like the external display, even if it could have been a little larger, while the internal screen is bright and clear, making it ideal for multimedia use. Ease of use is paramount thanks to a large five-way navigational pad and a well spaced out keypad. The menu is crisp and clear, and encompasses a simple list format for most submenus and animated, coloured icons for the main menu.

The A711 is equipped with two digital cameras; an internally mounted VGA camera for video calling and an external 2-megapixel camera for taking photos and capturing video. The main camera can snap photos at a resolution of up to 1600x1200 pixels and also features 2x digital zoom. Unfortunately there is no flash, nor is there a self-portrait mirror.

Internal memory has been upgraded to 48MB from the A701's 24MB, but a microSD card slot will handle most of your storage. It's somewhat disappointing that Samsung doesn't include a card in the sales package though.

The media player supports a multitude of file formats, and there is also a streaming media player for video and audio streaming over the Next G network. The media player has basic settings such as shuffle and repeat playback and playlist support, and the display can be orientated horizontally when watching videos. External, touch sensitive music keys which illuminate on contact are a nice touch, but the proprietary headphone jack is an annoyance.

The A711 includes Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 1.1 connectivity -- a USB data cable is included in the sales package. The USB is only 1.1 rather than the more common 2.0 and consequently data transfers are slower than expected. The A2DP audio profile is a feature, so you can wirelessly stream your music to a compatible pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Other applications include PIM utilities such as a voice recorder, world clock, calculator and currency converter, as well as Java 2.0 and a WAP browser. The A711 also provides support for SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging -- all with T9 predictive text input.

Battery life is average, rated at up to 170 minutes talk time and up to 220 hours standby time.

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