Samsung i300 review: Smartphone with a hard disk

Roman Krejča, 22 November 2005. Read the original review at
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Music comes first

Samsung i300 is a music mobile phone. It has an excellent player, able to open various formats. The player sorts files by artist or album name and, of course, it reads files from the directory tree.

Music player

If the 3 GB of memory on the hard disk is not quite enough for you, you can save additional multimedia data on the microSD(TransFlash) memory card.

Selecting files for the library • Selecting music to be played from the library

The sound quality is brilliant due to the good earphones, which are equipped with a special connector. As their cable carries a control button and a microphone, they can also be used as a handsfree set. Yet, there is no doubt that proficient music fans would rather use the additional adapter that is to be found in the delivery box for this way they can plug any other type of earphones into the phone by using a standard 3.5 mm jack. Besides, the adapter itself is equipped with a control button and a microphone too. It also has a useful pin to fix to one's clothes.

Samsung i300 Samsung i300
Original earphones • adapter for standard earphones

Music can be listened to through a pair of stereo speakers as well. For such a small device the sound performance is praiseworthy indeed.

Calling application is nearly perfect!

Here we get to all those functions that are, but certain slight exceptions, identical in all smartphones that work with that same OS. Frankly said, I am not writing everything from the very beginning but keep to the Motorola MPX220 review, editing it or enriching it, if necessary.

Phone functions in Samsung i300 are very good. It is most obvious during a phone call, where the sound is clear and loud enough.

The phonebook synchronizes instantly with Microsoft Outlook. Each contact person can be assigned up to 44 different fields including details as wife's name, children's names and assistant's name and contact info. In other words, what we are offered here is a mobile edition of Outlook. Each name can also be assigned an individual ringing melody as well as a picture (through an independent application). The latter is not possible to synchronize though.

Phonebook • searching • detailed view

The phonebook search is brilliant. You need to just press the necessary letter keys - each one only once, just like in the T9 dictionary. For example, if I need to find the name Novak, I have to press 6 (N) - 6 (O) - 8 (V) - each of which once - and a list of related contacts shows up. And if I press 2 (A), it is nearly sure that the searched name will pop up. What's more, search does not have to be necessarily done through the phonebook, you can write names directly from the main display too. You can also search by the last name - the phone does not make any difference for it goes through both fields simultaneously. Who has not tried this method, would hardly come to believe how habit-forming it is.

One of the numbers assigned to each contact name is set as default - the one that can be dialed by a simple press on the green receiver. To get to the rest of the numbers, press the ring to the left or to the right and you will see their list on the display. Or view all contact details and select the number you need to dial.

Samsung i300 offers ringing profiles, which you can additionally modify to your will. One of the profiles deactivates the transmitter so that the phone can be used on an airplane, for example. Groups are taken from the address book in Outlook and can be consequently used as filters for the phonebook. What the phone does not allow for is dividing the groups into such that can reach you and others that can not.

The polyphonic ringtones feature 64 voices. Yet I could not help myself and almost immediately downloaded my favorite MP3 file. What came afterwards was a huge disappointment. The problem is that Samsung i300 - similarly to some HTC models - does not support MP3 as ringing melodies. Fortunately, you can use the WMA format. The phone also offers two options of vibration ringing - vibration that is executed before the ringing melody starts playing and vibration that runs both before and simultaneously with the melody. The alert type has to be set centrally. The profiles only have impact on the volume and other likewise parameters.

Messages and email

Let me know write a few words about the message functions in i300. The phone works with email messages (both POP3 and IMAP), SMS and MMS. Each type group is viewed as a separate list. Let us however start with the common SMS. When activated for the first time and before having been saved into the memory, the SMS application takes quite a long time to start. You will also have to wait a few seconds before you get to the editor. When you write SMS, simply enter the phone number of the recipient or select it from the phonebook, just like I described it above, in phonebook section. The editor counts and shows the signs already written as well as the number of component messages a longer text is divided into. There can be more than 50 of them...

Creating a SMS • would you like a delivery notification?

The SMS editor is equipped with a T9 dictionary.

Received messages list • reading a message • a list with predefined messages

Once again I had to struggle with the MMS setup for a little while. What I am certain about this application is that it is far from being intuitive. The MMS editor is comfortable and fast. A MMS can carry text, pictures, videos and music files. The editor supports display paging. In addition, each picture can be pre-timed. The recipient search, however, seems to me quite unpractical. Not only does not the T9 dictionary help you with this task (as it does in the phonebook, for example), but it is not even possible to search the recipient by the first letter of their name - you simply have to go through the entire list...

The email browser supports 5 accounts of POP3 or IMAP4 type and synchronizes with Outlook... You can also use SSL security and SMTP server authentication. You can choose how old the messages that are downloaded should be too. The phone downloads entire emails or their headers only; or something in between: the first 500, 1000 or 5000 characters. In addition, the email client can be set to check the content of your email box in regular intervals.

The email application opens all known attachments: pictures, video, sounds, text files. What the installed version of the Windows Mobile OS does not support are office applications. To view the content of Word documents or Excel spreadsheets (but not to edit them) will help you the Picsel Viewer, which is not part of the OS. The phone lets you directly reply to emails, send them, forward or move them to another folder. Email writing can be facilitated by using the T9 dictionary too.

The MSN Messenger instant messaging program is also available as a standard part of the Windows Mobile OS.

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