So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Excellent LCD screen, simple interface, intuitive controls
- No memory expansion slots, no missed call alerts on the external screen, no quick way to load music, no speakerphone support
A decent phone, but serious music listeners would want more memory and faster connectivity options.
Price$ 583.00 (AUD)
While the tri-band Samsung SGH-E720 impressed us with its bright LCD screen, 1 megapixel camera and cleverly designed interface, this multimedia phone lacks some key functions.
Although Samsung classifies the SGH-E720 as an MP3 phone, only 88.5MB of memory is installed and inexplicably no memory expansion slots are included, which severely limits the amount of pictures and music it can store.
While functionally similar to the older Samsung SGH-D500 model, the SGH-E720 has a clamshell design rather than a slide design. The only criticism we have of the clamshell design is that the phone is slow to switch the displays from external to internal and vice versa.
On the outside of the SGH-E720, Samsung has fitted a large 96 x 96 pixel OLED display that shows signal strength, battery life and the current time. During our testing, we found that if a call was missed, a small icon would flash up on the screen for a few seconds and then disappear, meaning there is no way to tell if a call has been missed unless the phone is opened. If a message is received however, an icon appears at the top of the external screen.
We found the OLED screen performed better than LCD screens outdoors. The display also acts as a self portrait viewer for taking photos. Three media shortcut buttons are positioned under the OLED that allow users to access MP3 playback. These buttons can only be activated by holding them down, so chances are they won't be activated accidentally while in your pocket.
Opening the phone reveals a striking 176 x 220 colour LCD that displays up to nine lines of text. The SGH-E720 is highly customisable, allowing users to adjust the LCD brightness, determine how long the display remains backlit and change the wallpaper display of both internal and external screens.
Underneath the screen Samsung has provided a backlit keypad with a five-way navigation joystick, two soft keys, dedicated call start and call end buttons and a cancel button. We were pleasantly surprised at just how easy it was to use. The large graphical icons, intuitive interface and logically placed buttons meant that we were navigating around the phone with ease within a few minutes.
The SGH-E720 ships with a 1 megapixel digital camera and can take photos at resolutions between 176 x 148 and 1152 x 864 pixels. The camera supports single shot, multi shot, and various shooting effects and uses two lights positioned on either side of the camera lens on the front of the unit as a flash. We were impressed with the clarity of the MPEG-4 video capture at 352 x 288 pixels, and videos can also be automatically sized to fit into an MMS message.
We found the MP3 sound quality through the supplied headphones was quite average, and when the music player is in use, no other phone functions can be accessed. Both visualisation and equalisation options can be customised on the phone, and it supports basic playlist functionality. We didn't like the flimsy headphone cover on the phone, and standard 3.5mm headphones can't be used with this unit without an adapter.
You can use USB 1.1 or Bluetooth to get music onto the phone--and neither of these is particularly fast. Using USB to get music onto the phone requires installation of the supplied software.
The SGH-E720 can record voice memos of up to 60 minutes using the microphone on the front of the unit. Samsung has neglected to include a speakerphone with the SGH-E720, a decision we find baffling as it's now standard issue on many phones. While the phone does allow users to assign polyphonic and MP3 ringtones to incoming calls, you can't assign MP3 songs to other events such as messages or alarms.
The SGH-E720 supports SMS and MMS with T9 predictive input and can store up to 200 text messages. Messaging on the SGH-E720 was simple and fast, but we found that if an SMS was incomplete (and not saved as a draft), it would be deleted immediately. Other phones, such as the Nokia 6230, store the incomplete message so you don't have to type out everything again.
During our testing, the SGH-E720 lasted for just over two days on light usage without needing a charge. Heavy usage of the camera, video or Bluetooth would of course significantly shorten the battery life.
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