Welcome to the market the Samsung SGH-E700, one of the first handsets on the Australian market to sport two colour displays in a clam-shell design.
Released not that long ago, the E700 isn’t only great because of it’s external colour display, but because of the other features like a huge 9mB shared memory, MMS support, integrated VGA camera with tone controllers and Samsung multi-shot, and infrared/GPRS connectivity options. All these great features plus more are explained in more detail in the Major Features section of this E700 review.
The VGA camera in the E700 gives great quality images at a sexy 640 x 480 pixel resolution and with full colour depth. These images can be used as backgrounds as well, and can even be taken in the night time using a special function.
Connect on the go using WAP and GPRS. You can download all of the best content for your E700 including ring tones, images, and games with ease and in a flash.
Many a features are compiled into this wonderful handset from Samsung and are all useful in anyone’s lifestyle in this day and age.
The most outstanding feature on the E700 would have to be the external 256 colour display capable of being used as a viewfinder for the VGA camera. Self portraits and group photos have never been easier! This display is quite large compared to other clam-shell handsets, having a 64 x 96 pixel resolution. When you are using it as a viewfinder because the display can only show 256 colours the subject may look quite strange, but the photo is captured as it would be using the camera any other way. When you open up the phone after taking photos you can review and save or trash the ones you like or don’t like! ;)
Most probably the best thing to compliment a great camera like in the E700 is MMS compatibility. Multimedia messages can be sent to another mobile device or e-mail address and received on the E700. When using this handset you can send images, text, and also audio in your messages to a compatible device. MMS are quite inexpensive and you can add much more text than a regular SMS message.
The larger than life internal shared memory is a whole 9mB, and this is used for images, MMS messages, audio files, ring tones, and most other aspects of the E700. Ring tones can be played in polyphonic-40, enabling 40 simultaneous chords to be heard at once.
Java games and applications are also supported on the E700, and some games are already pre-installed for your gaming pleasure. To install more games simply download them straight to your handset using the mobile internet, or download them to your computer from a range of websites and then transfer them using a data-cable or IrDA adapter.
Like most clam-shell design phones appearing on the market today the E700 does not have an external antenna, it has instead been placed inside the handset which I always think is a great plus for any person. Samsung call this an “Intenna” - very spunky. You won’t have the problem of it jabbing into your leg when it’s in your pocket or even the thought of snapping it off all together - which you shouldn’t have, Samsung phones have great build quality ;)
When the phone is idle and closed the clock and most of the phone statistics can be seen from the external colour display. Depending on what options are set, the clock may be scrolling from left to right, right to left, up and down, etc. Change it to the one that you personally like! :) This external display is great because of its size (64 x 69 pixels), so you won’t have to squint to see the information you want; and colour makes it just that little bit better. ;)
The E700 externally looks great, with a silver casing on the left and right side of a navy blue coloured section. A blue soft plastic section with the word “Samsung” is positioned on the bottom flip of the handset and supports the upper flip when open.
Once open the E700’s silver casing and black buttons with the white backlight will create the right image. The display is neatly positioned inside a small black frame. The easy access key has a similar frame, but it is blue and lit up, and located with the rest of the keys on the lower opening of the E700. The bottom of the E700 has a rubber insert that goes into the charging/connection port to keep out dust and to also keep the theme of the E700 running the whole way round. This is easily removed by pulling the tab and can also be put back in if you need to.
The keys inside the E700 are the same navy colour found on the outside of the handset, and are embedded into the lower flip. The name and function of the button is presented in a white on the button, and the two selection keys have 3 vertical dots. The easy access key, (or quick key) is in between these two selection keys and makes it possible to jump directly to your Messages, Camera, Ring Tones, and Calendar. These keys are also used as directional keys when in a menu or writing text.
The camera key is on the external of the handset on the right side, and also jumps directly to the camera when the phone is open, and turns on the viewfinder on the external display when closed. It is the only button the outside of the phone, the only other parts are the headset insert which is on the left side and tucked away by a rubber protector.
User Interface & display
The internal TFT display on the E700 shouldn’t cause you too much grief in the sun or when in bright lights. Using it at night is problem free, the display is bring and contrasted nicely; the 65 thousand colours makes your mobile phone experience even better. The user interface of the E700 is very user friendly and easy to manage.
When you have opened the phone and it is idle the selected background image is shown along with battery charge, reception, service providers name and clock. Any other special things are displayed in icon form at the top of the screen, like Infra-red connections, GPRS connections, incoming MMS messages, etc.
Once you have opened the phone you can use the selection keys to jump to the menu or your phonebook. Pressing the middle key with the “i” on it will go directly to the web browser and start up a GPRS or GSM connection. When in the menu you can control the curser using the directional keys in between the two selection keys. Once you have found the icon that you want press the left or right selection key for a list of options for whatever you wish to do.
Another quick key is the “1” numerical key which when held down will dial your voice mail box. Holding down the “#” key will turn the phone on silent and holding down the hang-up key will turn on or off the handset completely.
Colour schemes on the E700 change the overall look of the phone to match your background or even you and what you’re wearing! ;) The colour background on your phone can be set via the menu to whatever you want, pictures that you’ve taken yourself, downloaded images from WAP, or even files from your computer that have been transferred.
The PIM applications on the E700 are one thing I found very useful. A calendar, schedular, converter and more are all useful for a busy lifestyle that a lot of people have. Keep organised using your phone, something that once upon a time wasn’t possible without some paper and a pen! ;)
If you leave the phone open for an amount of time the backlight will do a cool fade out to save on battery life; pressing a key will re-activate the backlight for you to continue enjoying the E700! =)
Making and receiving calls
Clam-shell design phones are great to whip out when someone calls, and look very stylish as well! =) They are also some of the best for audio quality, because the actual phone wraps around your face. The hinge of the phone matches most faces and rests on your cheek without causing any discomfort. People can hear you with the upmost quality, and I didn’t experience any drop outs or experience having to adjust the volume so I could hear others.
To call someone you can key in a number, extract a number from a SMS/MMS message, or find a number in your phone book and dial it. The easiest way (if you remember the number) is to key it straight in and start the call by pressing the green call button. If you’re like me and can’t remember all of your contacts numbers, just open the phonebook by pressing the right selection key and find the name you want. Open the contact; select the number you want and press the green button again. To jump to a contact just press the first letter of the name and then select who you want.
If you get an SMS or MMS with a number in it or want to call the sender of the message, just go into the options of the message and choose the thing you want.
A loudspeaker option is not available on the E700, so if you want to have hands free conversations the headset is the only way to go. A headset is included in the sales package and plugs into the left side of the handset.
To answer a call when the phone is closed open it up, and then place the phone on your ear and chat away! If the phone is open you just have to press the answer button, or reject button if you’re feeling a tad anti-social =)
MMS, SMS, and EMS are the three messaging options on the Samsung SGH-E700.
Firstly, MMS. MMS messages are the communication way of the future, because instead of regular text you can place images and audio in your messages, and send them off to an e-mail address anywhere in the world, not forgetting to another MMS supportive handset in Australia. MMS messages are quite inexpensive, at around 75¢ or less a message. They are sent via GPRS so they are quick to send and receive. You can capture images from your VGA camera and send them immediately with a short audio message if you want.
SMS messages are well known all around the world, because every GSM and CDMA handset supports them. Short Message Service is text only and can contain up to 160 characters in one message, anything over will roll into a second and/or third message. The E700 supports these long messages, so you can send up to three messages in one go. That’s 480 characters maximum in one hit!
EMS messages are just like SMS except you can send small black and white images and some monophonic ring tones as well compiled into the one message. They are sometimes referred to as Picture Messages, although these are now linked to MMS messages! It’s all a bit confusing isn’t it? ;)
T9 predictive text input is one of the best enhancements for any phone anywhere. It’s without a doubt the easiest way to input text anywhere, and isn’t hard to learn and become a pro at. T9 basically means that you don’t have tap a certain key sometimes up to six times to get the character you want. Just press the button that has the letter or character that you want and the phone will automatically run through the dictionary and make a selection of words that contain the possible letter combinations. If it doesn’t find the word you’re after, just input it and then it will stay there for later use.
There are two connectivity options for your PC on the Samsung SGH-E700, and sadly Bluetooth isn’t one of these! Connecting to your PC shouldn’t be a problem with the E700; either should connecting to the wide resources of the mobile internet via GPRS.
Connecting to your PC is available only with a data-cable or Infrared connection. You can purchase a data-cable from a Samsung store or other retailer, and you may also find some on the internet. These usually plug into a high-speed USB port, and can be used to transfer files like images, ring tones, and more to your phone and vice versa. You can also synchronize using the data-cable connection.
An Infrared connection is a much easier way to connect your phone to your PC, and involves no wires to your phone. However, it does need an infrared adapter for a PC, but some laptops already have these. Enabling infrared on the E700 and placing it in front of the adapter will initiate the connection and the required drivers for the internal modem will be installed automatically on most systems. You can these use Samsungs range of programs available on the website to transfer files and do synchronizations.
You can also connect one phone to another and transfer images or ring tones using infrared. Simply go to the send option on an image and select “via Infrared.”
If you want to connect to WAP services, just open the internal browser and set up your settings which are available from your service provider. Give them a call and they will be happy to help you out! Once these settings have been installed you can access the mobile internet and download everything you want to personalize your phone, and also get information in the blink of an eye on all your favourite subjects.
The build quality of this handset was great; I didn’t find anything wrong with it. Because the flip is the only moving part besides from the battery nothing else can be altered or moved.
The battery fits snugly into its insert and then clips in so it won’t fall out. There are no interchangeable covers so the battery is part of the outer shell. The flip is positioned nicely when open and closed, and the cushioning parts of the bottom flip make sure the screen won’t be damaged by opening and closing it.
The 800mAh battery (lithium-ion polymer) should hold up for any user, especially when using the camera on the phone. Most of the time battery life is chewed up by using an integrated camera, but on the E700 it isn’t as noticeable as some other mobile phones.
The battery times from Samsung are 180 minutes talk time and 180 hours standby.