The new Samsung Ultra II line was all over Barcelona on various posters of different sizes – most of them being really large. As you have probably seen on the introductory Barcelona pictures, it doesn't’t take long for the Samsung advertisements to catch your attention. The Samsung stand at the Fire de Barcelona where the 3GSM 2007 was dominated by the same thing although Samsung announced several other models beside the Ultras. It features four new mobiles - the Samsung U600, Samsung U700, as well as the Samsung U100 and the Samsung U300. All of the handset will also feature enhanced music playback capabilities thanks to the digital power amp which is developed by Bang and Olufsen. A wall at the Samsung stand reveals all the available colors for the new Ultra handsets.
The highlight of the new Ultra series is definitely the Samsung U600 dubbed Ultra Edition 10.9. It's a stylish slider with a 3.2 megapixel camera, 2.2" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution, and a microSD memory card slot. The Samsung U600 has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support. It features a really interesting combination of touch sensitive keys plus normal ones plus two extraordinary ones. The latter are the two receiver keys - they are not real keys as they do not move, nor do they give any feedback when pressed. They don't look like your ordinary touch keys either - in fact the do not respond to touch only. You have to press them harder and voila! They work - nice one. The Samsung U600 is a really interesting mobile as are the other Ultra mobiles - the innovations and the high-tech features cannot help but impress.
The Samsung U300 dubbed as Ultra Edition 9.6 is an all-metal body clamshell featuring a 3 megapixel camera, a large primary 2.2" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution and a lot smaller gray OLED external display with a resolution of 96 x 16 pixels. The external display shows information about the clock, the network strength and the battery status. The Samsung U300 is also equipped with a TV-out port and the proprietary Samsung office documents reader. It has tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE network support. The keypad of the Samsung U300 is rather strange - it is entirely flat and there is almost no feedback when you press them. Yet they respond rather quickly and accurately when you actually do press them.
The Samsung U100 (Ultra Edition 5.9) is advertised by Samsung as the slimmest phone in the world, measuring only 5.9 mm in thickness. Just for comparison the previous champion - the Samsung X820 had a thickness of 6.9 mm. The Samsung U100 has an identical equipment to that of the Samsung U300 with the exception of a smaller 1.9" 262K TFT display with a resolution of 220x176 pixels. The display looks rather strange since the horizontal side is longer than the vertical one. The handset is indeed really slim. You almost have a feeling that it would break when you apply some force to it. In fact it really does bend a little in the center when you push it - it's so slim. A nice feature it has that we didn't notice in the other Ultras is the Smart Dial as seen on Windows Mobile handsets. What it means is that typing a number directly from the standby screen filters the contact numbers in the phonebook and shows you all relevant entries. Our overall impression from the U100 is that it is really extremely thin - it almost makes you ask yourselves "How did they managed to squeeze an entire phone in that body?" Any slimmer than that and it would break as easily as a cracker in your pocket.
The Samsung U700 designated as Ultra Edition 12.1 is again a slim slider as the Samsung U600 but this time it's a HSDPA/UMTS/EDGE enabled handset with video telephony striving to provide the latest in high speed data transfers. It's equipped with a 3 megapixel camera with auto focus, and again a 2.2" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution, and a microSD memory card slot. It is again equipped with a wheel and a couple of touch keys, but the alphanumeric keypad is a different one with a more wavy shape.
The Samsung Ultra line is beginning to turn into something of a Ultra family of mobiles. It includes diversified mobiles for everybody's taste with somewhat specialized functions. A nice example of that are the Samsung F300 Ultra Music and the Samsung F500 Ultra Video. The Ultra line also includes the Samsung i600 Ultra Messaging. All three of them were which were announced last year but for now the only one that was showcased at the 3GSM 2007 was the F300 Ultra Music. We took the opportunity to play with it a bit since this is the first time we hold it in our hands. The F300 Ultra Music looks more like a MP3 player than like a mobile phone. It has a lightning fast user interface which by the way is the same as the one of the Samsung F500. The unusual thing about it is that the phone part of it has only a one-line display and yet it's a color TFT one and the proprietary black Samsung menu is shown on one line only and can be scrolled to the left or to the right.
Besides that it turned out that the F500 Ultra Video has got some successors in the face of the Samsung F510 Ultra Mobile TV. If you've ever wondered why the official pictures of the F500 include a TV antenna while it doesn't have a TV tuner, the possible answer is that the pictures are in fact portraying the Samsung F510 which was announced here at the 3GSM 2007. The probability of such an answer is further strengthened by the fact that the F510 is going to be released before the original F500 nevertheless that the latter was announced almost 3 months before the F510. The Samsung F510 is expected in Q1 of 2007, while the F500 would hit the shelves in Q2 of 2007.
The new Samsung F510 Ultra Mobile TV features DVB-H support for enjoying mobile TV on the go and HSDPA for ultra fast data transfers. Otherwise, the specs remain the same as the ones of F500 - a 2.4" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution, tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support plus UMTS, 2 megapixel camera plus integrated DivX video player. The device switches between phone and player modes by the use of a side slider. The navigation of the player is performed through a Sweep Touch interface. What this means is that you move through the menu by making sweep moves on the touch sensitive navigation pad. Pressing only doesn't do the job you have to sweep your thumb across the pad in order to change between menu items. The integrated antenna tucks in safely into the body of the device. When it's extended the swivel base allow it to be rotated in different positions. The swivel form factor of the device really makes it unique since it allows to make the device sit on the desk or table and you can watch TV without holding it in your hand.
Speaking of the F-series, there was one other handset that wasn't officially announced but yet it was featured at the Samsung stand. It is the Samsung F200, the successor of the Samsung X830, which we have reviewed in detail. The new mobile has the same swivel form factor but its specs remain yet unknown. The two devices look almost the same, but the Samsung F200 has three columns of alphanumeric keys which allows for more user-friendliness. The navigation is no longer performed by an active wheel but by a regular navigation D-pad. Furthermore, the F200 doesn't feature a camera which is not that bad by the way since taking pictures with the Samsung X830 was a bit uncomfortable due to its form factor.
The Samsung Ultra Smart F700, which was announced a week before the 3GSM 2007, was showcased at the 3GSM congress, but behind a protective glass so we couldn't get our hands on it. It has a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, HSDPA support, a 2,8" 262K colors TFT touchscreen display with the unusual resolution of 440x220 pixels, and a full sliding hardware QWERTY keyboard.
Beside the regular smartphone functionality, the Samsung F700 features a number of unique hardware characteristics. Measuring 104 x 50 x 16.4mm, the F700 has an innovative touchscreen functionality called VibeTonz which allows user to actually feel the buttons on the touchscreen and pressing them produces slight vibrations for enhanced user friendliness. We saw much the same functionality on the Neonode N2, previewed here. Furthermore the interface features drag-n-drop functionality which would enable users to control almost all of the features of the mobile without the need for stylus.
Another mobile announced this week at the 3GSM 2007 was the Samsung F520. It is a touchscreen smartphone much like the aforementioned F700. Its Flash interface is optimized for touch-navigation and there is no need for stylus. The 3" touchscreen display hides the sliding keyboard which is unique with its dual function. Sliding it to the side reveals a QWERTY keyboard. Slide it to the left and you have a regular MultiTap alphanumeric keypad. It also boasts a 3 megapixel camera, tri-band GSM/EDGE/UMTS support plus HSDPA. The F520 will be commercially available in Q3 of 2007.
The Samsung i520 is a HSDPA-enabled business smartphone which also has GPRS/EDGE/UMTS support. The i520 also boasts a 2 megapixel camera, a large 2.3" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution. The smartphone is powered by the Symbian OS 9.2 with the 3rd edition S60 user interface and is controlled by touch sensitive keys. It also sports stereo Bluetooth support and microSD memory card slot. The latest edition of the Symbian OS looks nice and the i520 is equipped with a nice theme which looks as the proprietary black Samsung menu system used on all Ultra handsets. Six of the keys featured on the Samsung i520 are touch sensitive and they are combined with an analog joystick control.
The Samsung i710 wasn't officially announced by Samsung but yet it was showcased at their stand. It is a fully functional Pocket PC with touchscreen functionality. Powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC, it doesn't have Wi-Fi or a hardware QWERTY keyboard but it has a rather slim body which is really fashionable as is the case with all the recent Samsung mobiles. We got to admit that for a Pocket PC device it looks fabulous. The integrated Launcher applications transforms the user interface into the proprietary black Samsung menu system seen on all Ultra devices which we happen to like very much. The device also features a 2 megapixel camera with auto focus. The i710 is powered by an Intel XScale ARM920T PXA27x processor and as far as we managed to see, the device was pretty fast. The actual clock of the processor is yet unknown since the clock of this type of processor can vary a lot. But having in mind that the Samsung i320 and Samsung i300 have the same type of processor clocked at 416MHz our best guess is that the i720 also features a 416MHz processor. So far the detailed specs of the Samsung i710 are yet unknown but we are quite pleased with the device looks and feel.
The Samsung P110 is a clamshell with a rather interesting design. It sports a VGA camera and a 2.1" 65K colors TFT display with a resolution of 176x220 pixels plus a full QWERTY keyboard. The Samsung P110 doesn't have a memory card slot but features stereo Bluetooth and has 25MB of memory. We tried to guess why the stereo Bluetooth when there isn't enough memory for uploading music on the mobile but our efforts were in vain. May be more information will be available in the future. The Samsung P110 has a rather comfortable QWERTY keyboard and the low-price segment has just received an exclusive messaging phone - up until now the QWERTY keyboard was reserved for an upper segment which consists of smarter phones with some kind of OS.
The Samsung E590 is a regular bar-shape phone but comes with a 3 megapixel camera with auto focus. It has a 1.8" 262K colors TFT display with the unusual resolution of 220x220 pixels, tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support and a FM radio. The mobile has really small dimensions and the 3 megapixel camera on its back comes as a bit of a surprise since it doesn't look as a high-end phone at all. The mat black plastic of the unit we saw at the Samsung stand was more appropriate for a cheaper budget mobile solution. But the classic calculator design seems to be the hit this year and almost all manufacturers have at least one in their 2007 portfolio.
The Samsung E840 is a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE handset with a 2 megapixel camera. It has the proprietary Samsung document viewer which allows you to open office documents on the really large 2.2" 262 colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution. This slider is really stylish with an all-metal body and a display with a mirror effect. The soft keys are touch sensitive, while the alphanumeric keypad consists of perfectly level keys which though are rather comfortable to type with.
The Samsung E740 is a stylish slider with a 2 megapixel camera, a 2" 262K colors TFT display, a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, a FM radio and a microSD memory card slot. The integrated player can be controlled by the dedicated external music keys. It comes in lively colors and has an active wheel navigation. The wheel can be used for scrolling menu items plus it's put to very good use when playing multimedia content - just like a home stereo knob.
The Samsung E830 is again a slider with the same hardware features as the Samsung E740.