Samsung’s release of the new SGH-S100 shows their commitment towards not just the consumer market, but also possible business users that would want the benefits of connectivity and convenience. These two areas are what Samsung is trying to make up for with the S100, which is somewhat lacking from previous GSM phone models that the manufacturer has come up with so far.
Probably the most exciting feature of the S100 is the new 65,000-colour LCD screen, one of the very first for any GSM phone available on the market. Tri-band compatibility (GSM 900/1800/1900), IR support and WAP over GPRS are some of the productivity features that make this phone feasible for both standard consumers and the business user. Other features on the S100, similarly offered on the current T100 model, include a 16-tone polyphonic speaker, active folder design and dual LCDs.
Samsung’s second colour-screen model is slightly smaller than the T100, being shaped somewhat like the A300 and having a similar feel as the Q200 (Samsung’s first GPRS-enabled phone). The size of the phone was just right - as I was able to comfortably operate the phone’s functions with one hand (also thanks to the improved keypad design, similarly offered on the Q200), and hold and use the phone without needing much repositioning. The two little pieces of rubber at the bottom part of the phone prevents the phone’s top folder part from closing with a loud “bang”.
User Interface (UI)
Previous Samsung users won’t have any trouble getting around with the S100 - especially for T100 users, where the menus are very much similar. The 65,000-colour LCD screen provides sharp images and text that won’t strain your eyes in both bright and dark environments. Different menu themes, layouts and background images (during standby) can be customised to your personal liking.
The outside LCD screen has been fitted with a reflective base panel that allows the display to be clearly visible even under the sun. Similar to Motorola’s “Optimax” display panel, the LCD’s base panel will reflect a shiny green allowing text and graphics to be seen with no trouble at all.
Making and receiving calls
No dramas here. Taking a call simply requires the opening of the folder, and closing it will end the current call (on the condition that the active folder option is enabled). The external LCD display notifies the user of the incoming caller’s ID, missed calls and current SMS messages waiting, time elapsed for the current call, and the current time and date. Other notifications - such as current signal and battery level, and vibrate mode - are shown as smaller icons.
The S100 comes with some messaging improvements - including the support for concatenated (long) SMS messages, and EMS (enhanced messaging service) - allowing a user to attach sounds, pictures and animation along with the standard text message. An improved keypad design provided for a more comfortable experience when typing up those very long SMS messages :)
The S100 boasts some improvements in battery life compared to the T100. Both the standard and extended batteries have shown longer standby times and slightly longer talk times, most probably thanks to the use of the STN screen instead of the TFT used on the T100. Times on the standard and extended batteries were approximately 2-3 days and 3-4 days respectively, based on average usage.