Samsung E590 review: Simple on purpose

GSMArena team, 28 August 2007.
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Tags: Samsung

Small but fine

The Samsung E590 has a relatively small 1.8" TFT display with a resolution of 220 x 220 pixels. It's not a groundbreaking resolution, but the display is really fine. The legibility under direct sunlight is alright, but we've seen better displays by Nokia. The handset features the so-called Sunlight mode to improve visibility, but this mode is only available in the camera interface. The Samsung E950 (don't get the E950 and E590 mixed up), which we reviewed recently had that option throughout the whole user interface.

We liked the keypad of the Samsung E590 very much with its big rounded keys with ample space between them. Typing is easy and the keys have excellent tactile feedback. Navigation is entrusted to a joystick, which is not common for the South Korean company. We suppose the Jasper Morrison studio is pretty much responsible for it. The joystick is comfortable enough, no reason for grudges.

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Display and keypad in the dark • the keypad has an even white backlighting

Pimp my dial pad

Using Samsung E590 as a regular phone is a nice experience, too. The sound levels are loud enough, while during calls the sound quality is as good as it might be expected from any contemporary phone.

Samsung E590
Calling our friend Dexter

Dialing a number has always been fun with Samsung, as you always have some sort of dialing animation or a choice of several ones. With the E590 you only have one animation or you can choose to type your numbers in color. When dialing a number, the Samsung E590 has a nice feature called simple search, which looks up your phonebook for contacts whose numbers contain the digits you've typed. Samsung D900 (the first Ultra lineup) doesn't have that feature, while Samsung U700 (the second Ultra lineup) has an even more advanced version of it, called Smart search.

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Dialing animation • font colors is white here but you can make it colorful too

User interface in black or white

The Samsung E590 home screen is fully user-configurable. Service icons provide information on signal strength, battery, as well as info about the inserted memory card. Several clock styles are available. You can set a photo or other image as a background, and even use two or more alternating images. The proprietary Samsung uGo feature automatically updates the home screen background to display landmarks of the city or country you're in. The scenery even changes when night falls. In standby the upwards direction of the joystick activates the proprietary Samsung My Menu. It features several user-configurable shortcuts for your convenience.

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Stand-by display • No network coverage (sky is overcast) • night falls

The user interface of the E590 is quite common and is used in all current Samsung handsets - it's called uMenu. The number of the main menu icons is a total of nine and, as with most previous models, the menu features a white color scheme. It proves useful when you use the handset in the bright sunlight.

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Main menu in black and white skins

A much contested feature of all recent Samsung phones, the last used items and sub-items are highlighted by default when you open a submenu. We like it this way and it proves useful when you use a given feature more than once. Of course, some may not agree.

As with almost all of the past Samsung handsets, no ringing profiles are available. All you have at your disposal is the Silent and Normal ringing modes.

We liked the keypad of the Samsung E590 very much with its big rounded keys with ample space between them. Typing is easy and the keys have excellent tactile feedback.

The Samsung E590 also has an automatic keylock feature, which works great. Now on most other handsets with auto keylock, the feature would go off when you leave the handset idle for a predefined period of time but only if you leave it on the standby screen. The Samsung E590 auto keylock activates no matter what the currently active screen is.

Managing contacts and calls

The phonebook of the Samsung E590 can store up to 1000 contacts with multiple fields. It can display the names from the phone memory only or all names from both the phone memory and the SIM card at once. Searching employs gradual typing of the contact's name. Samsung E590 does not search in both the contact's first and last name. That option though was available back in Samsung D900.

A total of 13 fields of information are available for each contact. You can store up to 5 numbers for each contact plus an email address and a note. Each contact can also be assigned a specific ringtone and picture. You can even assign a video as a "caller's image" - a feature that was absent in Samsung D900. Contacts can be organized into groups, but calls cannot be filtered on the base of created groups. We were happy to see the contact's birthday field here, which lacked in the recently reviewed Samsung E950. Contact details or your whole contacts list can be sent via Bluetooth.

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Contacts list: searching a contact • opening a contact details

There aren't any innovations in the call management department. The Dial key on the touchpad opens a list of the recent contacts, while opening the Call log from the main menu will provide additional details.

Samsung E590
Recent contacts in the Calls log

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