So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Stylish touch-sensitive controls, 2 megapixel camera, good features list, excellent user interface
- Controls are sensitive, camera is slow, battery life, fingerprint magnet
The E900 is a fair handset with a decent features list, but although the touch-sensitive controls are a nice touch, they are a little too sensitive for our liking.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
The Samsung E900 is a stylish handset featuring distinctive touch-sensitive controls as its main feature. This compact slider phone also boasts a gloss black finish, a 2 megapixel camera and a microSD storage slot.
Unfortunately, the E900 isn't 3G capable; instead it's a tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900MHz) handset. We were impressed by both the clarity and volume level of calls, especially in noisy environments. The E900's hands-free speakerphone also works well and is easily switched on during a phone call by pressing the centre button.
The E900 is equipped with a basic 2 megapixel camera featuring a flash and 4x digital zoom. The camera also includes a self portrait mirror and can capture video in MPEG4 format. Performance is about average, but shutter lag is a real issue, and the camera menus are slow. There are plenty of options though, including multi and mosaic shot modes, effects such as fog, antique and moonlight, 30 frames and a three, five or 10 second self-timer. You can also adjust ISO and white balance settings.
Like most Samsung phones, the E900's user interface is excellent, and the 'uPlus' feature responds to your environment. For example, when you dial a phone number, a picture of Sydney appears in the corner of the screen. This picture changes depending on your location. It also responds to the time of day and changes accordingly; at night the sky will be dark, while during the day it appears blue. Another cool feature occurs when dialling a phone number; upon pressing a number key a paper and pen animation appears and begins to write the numbers as you press them - it even includes sound effects. The icons in the mail menu are also coloured, while the background is black and white, making each menu clearly stand out.
The E900 allows you to create a personalised menu of shortcuts that sits on the main screen. This enables quick access to frequently used menu items, such as calendar, SMS messaging and email. For security, Samsungs mobile tracker feature is present. When a SIM card in the E900 is replaced, the mobile tracker sends an SMS message to an earlier nominated phone number, revealing the mobile phone number of the new SIM card.
Bluetooth 1.2 and USB 1.1 are both offered, but strangely, neither of these are the newer and faster 2.0 protocols. There is also no A2DP profile for wireless music streaming. The MP3 player is compatible with MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+ files and WMA files, and there is basic play list support, repeat and shuffle play modes, a preset equaliser and 3D sound effects. Conveniently, you can use other phone features (such as SMS messaging) while listening to music, and the touch sensitive music buttons that only light up when the player is opened are a nice touch. Unfortunately, the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack detracts from the overall experience.
Other features include standard POP3 and IMAP4 email access, SMS and MMS messaging with T9 predictive text input, polyphonic and MP3 ring tones, a voice recorder and a document viewer. Strangely, although there is a TV-output option, there is no composite cable included in the sales package. A microSD card slot is located on the bottom (in addition to the 80MB of internal memory), but there is no card included.
The touch sensitive controls of the E900 are similar to LG's KG800 (Chocolate) - the only difference being the five way navigational pad isn't touch sensitive. When the E900 is closed, it looks as though there is no controls, but a quick slide up of the handset and the soft white backlit keys appear - two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and media playback controls (play/pause, previous, next). The controls are responsive enough, and require just a slight press to activate, although this can be a hit and miss affair. Further, the controls feel slow, at times bordering on sluggish. Overall, we felt that they were a tad too delicate.
Design wise, the E900 is an excellent size, and cups nicely in your hand. Its gloss black finish, combined with the touch sensitive controls provides a sleek and stylish feel, although the plastic finish doesn't always feel sturdy - the unit weighing just 93g. Unfortunately, like most gloss finished handsets, the 2.05in screen is nearly impossible to keep clean. It's bright and clear though, despite being ineffective in direct sunlight.
The spring operated slider is firm, yet easy to slide. Our only complaint is that Samsung has failed to include a place for your thumb to sit. Instead, the best way to slide open the E900 is by placing your thumb on the bottom or sides of the screen, leaving unwanted finger marks. The keypad is flat, and the keys require a pretty firm press to activate, so punching out long messages is a hit and miss affair.
Battery life is just below average at 3.5 hours of talk time and up to 220 hours of standby time. We found these figures a little disappointing, especially since this isn't a 3G handset.
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