Samsung has again come up with something to indulge our senses. Before, there was the dual LCD screen flip phone - the first in the world. And now, we have the A400 and A212i phones (GSM and CDMA models respectively) - miniature-sized models that come in a set of exclusive colours, and featuring a list of useful features that makes this phone complete.
Although both the A400 and A212i phones are very similar in many aspects, there are some differences - with the most obvious one being the A400 is a GSM handset and the A212i designed for CDMA networks. These differences will be noted throughout this review.
One of the most outstanding features of the A400/A212i is its physical characteristics - which includes the sizing and colours available for the phone. This phone’s most popular colour is rosy red, but is also available in either a metallic blue or white as well. It also fits comfortably into the palm of your hand - being sized considerably smaller than most other flip phones and weighing in at a mere 80 or 86 grams (A400 and A212i respectively).
As mentioned previously, the phone is sized smaller than most other phones - making it somewhat easier to hold and take around with you. It makes the supplied headset (which is designed for the phone to hang off it, and worn around your neck) more feasible to use.
Some would think that the A400/A212i is more suitable for girls than guys. This mentality is somewhat true when you consider the rosy red colour that the phone comes in. But for those guys who like this small and compact design, there’s always the other three colours you can consider! :)
Opening up the active flip, you’ll find a clear greyscale LCD screen located on the top flip, and a standard keypad with soft keys and a 4-way navigation key on the bottom flip. Both have been designed well - with the screen displaying the necessary text with sufficient clarity and easy-to-press keys too.
For those who are thinking of either owning one of each model or using the battery off an A400 on the A212i (and vice-versa), you may want to think twice because both phones have different battery contact locations.
A212i (CDMA) with retractable antenna
Both models are simple to use - with menus that are easy to read and understand. The keypad is also very tactile - making it easy to operate the phone and, especially, type SMS messages using the on-board T9 predictive input.
In this aspect, there is a slight difference between the two models. This is explained further below.
The phone retains a similar user interface used on the A300 model - with the exception that the display is slightly wider (therefore, being able to fit more text per line). With the use of the 4-way navigation key, one is able to access and modify menu items without lifting his/her finger off it. For example, scrolling through the menus and selecting an option would involve using up or down - while going in and out of menus and options would only require a left or right movement.
Similar to most other CDMA phones, usability on the A212i is very simple but is different to the A400. The actual menu system is completely different to that of the A400’s. For example, the 4-way navigation key can only be used only for shortcuts and simple navigation in menus and choosing options (up and down). Where there are soft keys on the A400, these are replaced by “menu” and “OK/messages” buttons instead.
comparisons with the Nokia 8310"
Making and receiving calls
Another outstanding feature of the A400 is the number of ringtones available. Up to 48 ringtones are available with the ability to compose up to two, and up to 10 SMS (message) tones are also available. On the other hand, the A212i only offers up to 15 melody and 5 bell tones for calls - but none of them can be composed.
Both the A400 and A212i offer T9 predictive text input for SMS messaging. Usage of the T9 input is similar to that of other Samsung phones. Speed of input is also quite quick - comparable to that of a Nokia phone.
There are two types of batteries that you can get with either A400 or A212i - slim or standard. Average usage times for both slim and standard batteries are approximately one day and 2-3 days respectively. Both phones came with two batteries and a desktop charger - allowing for frequent replenishment of the alternate battery.