Samsung S3650 Corby review: Hot, young and social

GSMArena team, 14 September 2009.
Pages: «123456»

Tags: Samsung, Touch UI

The smallest TouchWiz

Lively, colorful and pleasantly thumbable - the TouchWiz interface feels right at home in this entry level touchscreen, in which fun and ease of use are key.

The S3650 Corby offers three different homescreen panes that you can alternate by sideways sweeps. The current selection is indicated by three small dots at the bottom of the screen.

You can fill up each of those homescreens with as many widgets as you like. The different wallpapers are actually three parts of a single panoramic desktop, just like on the Samsung S8000 Jet.

In case some of you have missed it, widgets are nifty mini-apps that reside on your home screen. Some of them seem to have more purpose, such as the calendar and world clock, image gallery or the mp3/radio players, while others range from fun to pointless.

Traditionally, all the widgets are stored in a tray running down the side of the screen, which you can pull in and out as needed using the small arrow in the lower left corner.

You can pick which widgets to display by simply dragging them onto the display and placing them where you want. If any need to be removed, you simply drag them back to the tray. The nice accelerometer-based option to auto-align widgets by shaking the handset is at your disposal too.

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The TouchWiz homescreen • the main menu

The homescreen and the new icon graphics aside, the rest of the S3650 Corby interface is typical Samsung (or at least the latest revision seen on the Samsung Jet). You have a tab at the bottom of the display which holds the three contextual keys with varying functionality based on the currently active menu. There are also some nice animations and transition effects throughout the interface.

The main menu displays as a 3 x 4 grid of icons, while sub-menus appear as lists. The main menu itself, as on the Samsung S8000 Jet, now stretches over three different screens and is sweep-scrollable sideways. The reason that so much more space was needed is the fact that almost all apps are now brought to the main menu, arranged in a flat iPhone-like structure. You will only need to dig deeper for the settings but if those were also brought to the fore, the main menu would most certainly have become a huge mess.

The Samsung S3650 Corby also supports multitasking, which means that Java applications can be minimized to run in the background. However, there is no hardware key to allow you to switch between the apps, which certainly makes multitasking much less of a treat.

Samsung have also enabled the S3650 Corby with the Smart unlock feature, previously known as Gesture lock. Smart unlock allows users to simultaneously unlock the phone and open a menu item, application - even dial a contact - just by drawing a letter on the unlock screen.

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Smart unlock

Each letter from A to Z can be set as a gesture by the user to perform the various actions in question. For instance, you can use it to start apps like the music player, messaging menu, the web browser, Java apps or the dialing keypad.

The S3650 Corby sports a brand new cute little theme designed especially for this handset's young audience. We guess it's part of the whole dynamic Cartoon UI thing that was much advertised by Samsung. In our pre-market sample though there was no trace of a context-dependent wallpaper or any dynamic changes. The theme itself is quite alright, with neatly drawn icons and hand-writing font in the list menus.

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The youth theme

A standard phonebook

The phonebook of the Samsung S3650 Corby has it all. Up to 2000 contacts can be stored with multiple fields. It can display the names from the SIM card, the phone memory or both at once. Searching is done by gradual typing of the desired contact's name.

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The Corby phonebook

Quite a number of different detail fields are available for each contact. You can store up to 5 numbers, 4 email addresses, URLs and so on. Each contact can also be assigned a specific ringtone and picture, as well as a note. You can even set a video as "caller's image".

Some nice telephony features

The Samsung S3650 Corby is excellent at its main job - making calls - we experienced no reception or voice quality drops for the time of our review.

There's not much to say about the dialer. You dial just like you would on any touch phone. There are three virtual buttons - phonebook, more and back. When you type a number or look it up in the contact list, by tapping More you can access options like voice call, send message or add to phonebook. Of course you have the hardware call buttons too.

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Making a call • the virtual keypad

Unfortunately the handset has no smart dialing, which could have saved the users some digging in the phonebook.

While the dialer itself is not very interesting, there's a flashier way to dial. The Photo Contacts are shown as a stack of pictures. Tapping on a photo brings up a menu with options to start a voice call or send a message. The Photo Contacts are changed since the last implementation of the TouchWiz UI in the Jet and they now automatically store picture links to the most used contacts. The option to tag people's faces is no longer available. The feature makes more sense now as it's fully automatic and as long as you have assigned images to your contacts, you'll be alright.

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Photo Contacts

As for loudspeaker performance, the S3650 Corby scored a very good mark. Here it is alongside some of the other devices we have tested. You can find more details about the test itself as well as the full list of tested devices here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.1 62.171.7Below Average
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic75.766.568.5Good
Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH70.166.775.8Good
Samsung S3650 Corby75.7 72.077.1Very Good
LG KP500 Cookie 78.175.782.7Excellent
Samsung S5230 Star77.175.782.0Excellent

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