Samsung E590 review: Simple on purpose

GSMArena team, 28 August 2007.
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Tags: Samsung

Messaging is nice

Samsung E590 manages SMS, EMS, MMS, and emails. SMS, EMS and MMS use one and the same editor. MMS are created through a selection from the menu or by inserting an image, which makes the editor automatically switch from SMS to MMS. EMS allows you to apply formatting and font colors to your text messages. T9 dictionary is there to assist you; both browsing and adding new words is fast and intuitive. If sending fails, say because of a network failure, the message is saved to the Outbox. The Samsung E590 can store up to 1000 messages (Samsung D900, for example could only store 200). You can block incoming messages based on a black list you define.

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Messaging menu • typing a SMS

The email client is relatively good. It can manage up to five accounts - POP or IMAP; download is user-defined, opting between headers only and entire messages. Not only any files from the phone memory, but also business cards, calendar events, tasks or notes can be emailed as attachments. Attachment size for outgoing mail is 300KB while the size for incoming mail is 5MB. The client can be set up to check mail at predefined intervals (user-configurable, of course). Message blocking is available here, too, based on sender address or subject.

The proprietary Samsung SOS message function allows you to quickly send an SOS message to user-defined numbers. After you set up the feature, you just need to press the volume rocker 4 times when the keypad is locked to send your cries for help to your friends.

When it comes to security, this Samsung handset is also equipped with the uTrack function or the so called Mobile Tracker. When you set it up and your phone gets stolen, once somebody puts a SIM card other than yours in the handset, the E590 will start sending secret tracking messages to user-defined numbers.


The Samsung E590 file browser is pretty much standard for Samsung handsets. The phone memory and the memory card are separate but they both have the same folder structure. There are folders for different types of files - images, video, music, sounds, which allow the handset to sort the memory contents. Functionality of the file browser is sufficient. You can copy or move files - both one by one or in bulk, and you can create and delete folders (except for the primary ones).

Files too can be sent one by one or in bulk via Bluetooth. Throughout the whole file manager you can pick files you would like to lock to prevent deleting them by accident. The only downside we found is the really slow reading speed from the memory card. Listing thumbnails of the pictures stored in the respective folder on the memory card seemed to take ages (no matter whether it's almost full or almost empty). We've never seen a Samsung handset read a memory card so slowly, so our best guess is that it may be some unit-specific problem with our handset or with our memory card.

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Different folders: each has its unique context menu • memory card is available in every context menu, but it appears as a separate menu item after the folders too

The Samsung E590 picture gallery is part of the file manager and not a separate application. Accessing it is as simple as opening the Images folder. You can copy or move images but only to the Images folder on the memory card and vice versa. Much like with Samsung D900, you can view the pictures as a plain list or as a list with thumbnails. And again, you can sort files by date, type, name, and size. Once you open a picture to view it, you can scroll sideways to see the next images without having to return to the image list. You can view the picture full screen, but only in portrait mode (landscape pictures get cropped a bit). The image gallery also has a slide show capability.

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Images folder: photos with thumbnails • viewing a picture: normal and fullscreen

If you wish you can do a bit of editing on your pictures using the integrated Image Editor - it's the same as the one in Samsung D900 and is not as feature-rich as the Scalado image editor we saw in Samsung U700 and Samsung E950. The Image Editor here allows you to apply 8 special filters such as black and white, negative, sepia, blur, sharpen, sketch, posterize, and solarize. You can also adjust brightness, contrast and color. You can of course flip or rotate the image, as well as insert a frame, some clip art or an emoticon.

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The editor interface: choosing a filter and other editing options

The email client is relatively good. It can manage up to five accounts - POP or IMAP; download is user-defined, opting between headers only and entire messages. Not only any files from the phone memory, but also business cards, calendar events, tasks or notes can be emailed as attachments.

Music is important

Armed with 90MB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, the Samsung E590 can be comfortably used as a portable music player. The Music player application is the same as the one in D900 (the new player is available in Samsung U700 and E950) and is rather basic. It doesn't allow filtering tracks by author or album. You can create up to four custom playlists - a feature that lacked in Samsung D900. Fortunately, you can minimize the application to continue playing in the background. The player does have several equalizer presets (you cannot create one of your own) plus a 3D sound effect. You can also make use of some pretty loud volume levels. The supported audio file formats are MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+.

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Playing a track • another color visualization • playlists • playing options

As with most Samsung handsets, the retail box will supply you with a wired headset that comes complete with a microphone and a remote control. There's not an option to replace those, as Samsung doesn't offer a standard audio jack adapter. You can use however a Bluetooth headset for listening to music - both a mono and a stereo one will do the job as Samsung E590 supports the Bluetooth A2DP profile.

The Samsung E590 comes complete with an FM radio, which is a quite handy feature. You can store up to 30 radio stations. There is no RDS but you can set user-defined names to the stations just so you know which one to choose next time you go out. An innovative feature, however, is the option to set up to 3 program reminders so that you don't miss your favorite radio shows.

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FM radio playing and also showing stations list • stored stations

Both the Music player and the FM radio have a similar interface; the same holds true for the video player. It doesn't have many features but it can play video files in fullscreen landscape mode and you can fast-forward and rewind videos.

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Video player regular interface

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