Samsung E720 review: Design and functionality

David Polesnύ, 27 April 2005. Read the original review at
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Tags: Samsung

Like in a coloring book

Although the phone's environment is traditionally colorful, it is organized and has perfectly elaborated graphics. The introductory display is similar to the one in the D500 model; the bottom line is dominated by the state info line including the icons of the functions of the context keys; at the very top end of the display is placed the line with the state icons and indicators, a bit lower is the info strip with the time and the date. The manufacturer's name is displayed on the wallpaper. You can choose its place and font or turn it off completely.

The left context key takes you to the main menu; the right context key opens the address book. As for the four ways of the control button, their functions can be changed according to your preferences.

Stand-by display • main menu • assigning functions to the four ways of the control button

The main menu has 9 elements organized in a matrix scheme. When you select an icon, it shows up, surrounded by a color frame, and starts animating. The quality of the graphics is brilliant. Inside the menu, moves are made through numeric shortcuts. As for text menus in deeper levels, here each item is accompanied by its specific numeric shortcut. No matter what color scheme or graphics dominate the display, the clock and the main state icons are always present in the upper right corner of the display.

If you do not feel comfortable using the standard blue menu, choose one of the other three color schemes. Placing wallpaper on the main and the second display is already a matter of course. In addition, Samsung lets you to use your own wallpaper. Display brightness can also be modified.

Samples of the menu's color schemes

Phone calls and phonebook

As usual, Samsung offers a phonebook with more than 1000 multiitem contacts. Each name can be assigned four numbers, a note, an email, a picture and a sound. Searching is relatively fast and is done by gradually writing, which is not true for the whole phone. When opened the address book displays three entries with a number attached to each of them. Just like in the D500 model, one can synchronize the contacts saved in the phone with a computer, using special service software.

Address book menu • searching the phonebook • contact detail • contact editing

Contacts can be sorted into groups, each of which can be additionally assigned a specific ringing melody and a picture. When displayed pictures fill up the whole display (regardless which display is being used). The phone rings with 64-voice sound or uses any file in a MP3 format. The overall sound is excellent. There is no other special speaker devices for ringing melodies, but the earphone. The sound is complex and features a steady bass component. Unfortunately, there is no option to customize the message alert. Instead, the phone offers ten preinstalled sounds to choose from.

Choosing type of number • group list and settings

What remains a mystery for me is why such a modern mobile phone cannot vibrate and ring simultaneously. The one and only combination of those two features this Samsung model is able to perform are vibrations which last for several seconds and then melt into ringing.

You can also select a sound to play when you open or close the phone. Of course, you can accept a phone call by opening the device and deny it by pressing and holding one of the volume buttons placed on the side of the phone. When pressed shortly the volume buttons regulate the loudness of ringing; unfortunately, they cannot lower it completely.

Good email support

The device manages text messages as well as extended EMS or MMS. And of course - email client. As usual, the memory takes in up to 200 SMS. You can use the built-in T9 dictionary and divide each message into 12 shorter ones. Sign counting refers to the message as a whole; at the same time the phone shows you how many messages have already been used. Just like the D500 model, the T9 dictionary can be centrally deactivated so that it does not turn on every time you enter the SMS editor. The display offers 7 lines for writing SMS.

Message menu • writing SMS • when you leave the editor, it asks, whether to save the text as a concept

As for creating MMS, their editor is so well organized that it can hardly confuse anybody. You are given 4 lines with descriptions and icons to gradually enter the individual message items. If you want to use optional functions, enter the context menu. Here you can preview the message or attach an additional page. A message can contain 300 kB and can have up to 10 pages. Details about the current size of the created message and its pages are given in the top part of the display. The maximum memory space for saving multimedia messages is set at 3 MB.

The email client enables the user to manage maximum five accounts using the POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP protocols. Even though the client works with attachments, a message can carry no more than 250 KB of information. The number of characters for each email message is limited and should not exceed 1000, or the message will not be sent.

Creating multimedia messages • email client • memory details regarding messages

Each client has special folders where received emails are displayed. First to get downloaded are the headings, then you can download the rest of the email, incl. the attachments. The phone offers an option for leaving a copy of the email on the server as well as an option for setting the maximum size of each email that is to be downloaded. Unfortunately, the choice given is among three sizes only: 100 kB, 200 kB or 300 kB.

There is an option for automatic downloads with a one hour break between them, which cannot be reduced and thus may turn out to be much too long. The phone has a simple filter, which stops messages coming from forbidden addresses and from those with discarded message subjects.

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