The Samsung G400 Soul displays have the same old story to tell. Vibrant and sharp indoors, the screens do struggle outside in bright sun. Legibility suffers a great deal, especially with low contrast themes.
The outer screen is even worse for its mirror finish - it's a safe bet that you'll quickly lose track if you're to use the phone under direct sunlight. However we do have to say that we admire the touchscreen, even if it is doesn't give you full control over the phone and its features. To be honest, it's pretty much limited to multimedia (much like the touch-sensitive display of KF750), with no way to get to the settings or the main menu. Reading an incoming SMS is also impossible, unlike the RAZR2 V8 where you could not only read, but even reply to texts with predefined templates.
Samsung G400 Soul has a really loud earpiece. During calls we had to turn down the volume by at least half, to not hurt our ears. You'll experience no problems hearing the other party even in the loudest of environments. Loudness is only one side of the coin though. Excited as we were about the clarity and vibrancy of the other two Soul handsets, the G400 earpiece quality seems utterly no match - it does sound muffled and blurry.
We put the Samsung G400 Soul through our traditional speakerphone test. Here is how it stacks against some of the other handsets we've measured. In our ranking system, it's just a whisker short of "Excellent", but we won't be fussy. G400 Soul is an excellent performer and that pretty much backs up our first impressions before the test. You can find more info on the test itself and the other tested handsets here.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|Samsung U800 Soul b||65.9||65.9||75.8||Average|
|Samsung U900 Soul||69.7||66.3||71.1||Good|
|Samsung G400 Soul||69.7||73.5||84.7|
|Sony Ericsson W910||77.5||70.7||82.7||Excellent|
Dialing a number has always been fun with Samsung, as you always have some sort of dialing animation, or a choice of several ones. In the case of Samsung G400 Soul you have as many as six: Quill pen, Sticky note, two named "Normal", Living world and Theme. The last two vary a little according to the theme or your location.
The Smart dialing feature can assist dialing by looking up your phonebook for contacts whose names contain characters corresponding to the digits you've typed. The Samsung G400 Soul also automatically looks up contacts, whose numbers contain the typed digits. The two types of searches really allow you the quickest access to any contact in your phonebook.
The user interface of Samsung G400 Soul is a slightly improved version of what we saw in the Ultra II line of handsets. It brings greater customization and some minor novelties.
The menu structure of G400 Soul is typical Samsung. There are nice graphical transitions between screens with the great speed and responsiveness of Samsung G400 Soul. The main menu is accessible from the stand-by display by pressing the center key of the ample D-pad. The right soft key is reserved for the phonebook. The four directions of the touchpad have shortcuts of their own and these can be changed to best suit the user.
A nice option for the wallpaper is that you can select a number of photos that can run in slide show on the homescreen. The transition effect is configurable too. On the other hand, we saw a feature we appreciated back in D900 missing in the Soul - the option to have the calendar display on the homescreen in standby mode. That's not a big miss though, as the external display has this function, along with a digital and an analog clock.
The main menu displays as either a 4 x 3 grid of icons or a standard list. Sub-menus appear as lists. The much contested feature of all recent Samsung phones, where the last used items and sub-items are highlighted by default when you open a submenu is also present here. We like it this way and it proves useful when you use a given feature more than once. Still some may have other needs and will have every right to disagree.