Samsung S3650 Corby review: Hot, young and social
Messaging is good
As you might expect, the Samsung S3650 handles all common message types. The handset has a shared editor for SMS and MMS and a separate one for emails. A rich T9 dictionary is at the user's disposal too. There is no landscape QWERTY keyboard available here, perhaps due to the small screen size. Still we would have preferred it if users had that choice for themselves to make.
There is also a native email client. It failed to retrieve Gmail settings automatically so we had to enter them manually, but once that's done, emailing is a breeze.
The attachment limit for sending is 5MB, which is enough for most file types. If you receive an office document as an attachment, you will be able to view it as well thanks to the integrated office document viewer.
Social networking on the go
As promised by the manufacturer, the S3650 Corby comes with social integration disguised under three neat homescreen widgets - MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
All three widgets have similar interface - a big update button at the top, a text field for your current mood/status message and some buttons the bottom.
In the MySpace widget the available options include checking your messages, getting into chat and adding friends. The Facebook widget offers again checking your messages, adding new friends and its last option is poking a friend. Finally the Twitter widget has only two virtual keys - friends and followers. The Settings button is available everywhere offering options for auto-refresh and adding a photo.
As you see, the widgets aren't exactly full of features, but the basics seem covered. They are more than enough to keep you connected to your social circle on the go.
Social networking integration stretches even further to having a dedicated item in the main menu. The Communities item gets you links to websites such as Facebook, Picasa and Flickr and the ability to directly upload files. You can also preset your login details so you don't have to enter them each time you access those websites or try to upload content from the file manager - the S3650 Corby stores your credentials for you.
That pretty much covers what Samsung have been doing in the social networking department. Unfortunately, there's no phonebook integration such as the one offered by HTC Sense UI on the HTC Hero and HTC HD2 or the MotoBLUR UI on the Motorola Milestone/Droid.
No matter how limited, the controls available on the Samsung Corby allow you to chat, update your status, post tweets, upload photos and read your friends' new posts. Despite the lack of 3G, all these are barely traffic-intensive, so you won't miss HSDPA speeds.
Fast file browser
The S3650 Corby's file browser can display the files and folders from the phone memory or the memory card, and even both at once.
There are folders for different types of files (images, video, sounds) to let the handset sort the memory contents.
However, you are not forced to follow this structure - you can place your files wherever you want and the phone will have no problems handling them.
You can copy or move files - both one by one or in bulk, and you can create and delete new folders (except the predefined folders, like Images, Sounds and so on).
Files can also be sent via Bluetooth, one by one again, or in bulk. Throughout the whole file manager you can pick files you would like to lock to prevent accidental deletion.
Reading from the memory card is quick and won't bother users at all. Listing the thumbnails of pictures stored in the respective folder on the memory card is quite fast too.
The initiatialization speed of the memory card is surprisingly fast: regardless of the capacity, the S3650 Corby recognizes a memory card in 10-15 seconds. The phone comfortably handles a 16GB microSD card full of thousands of different files. Working with the files on the memory card once it's initialized is fast enough to satisfy most users; however, speed does drop when the card starts filling up.
Gallery is basic, but gets the job done
Unlike recent Samsung devices like the S8300 UltraTOUCH, the S3650 Corby has only one picture gallery. However, that can't be considered an issue since the gallery it does have is fully functional. You'll most likely not miss the Photo browser despite its eye-catching qualities.
The S3650 Corby gallery is an inherent part of the file manager and launching it is as simple as opening any folder that contains images.
Once you open a picture to view, you can sweep your fingers across the screen to see the next image without having to return to the image list. Browsing the images is really fast and responsive with no lag thanks to the capacitive screen.
Zooming in is easy enough though not as responsive as we would have like it. You have the one-finger zooming but it kicks in after you spend some considerable amount of time (like 3 sec) touching the image with your thumb. From there on it's just a matter of dragging your finger up for zooming in and down for zooming out.
There is a second zoom control which is more conventional - a zoom bar with thumbable loupe icons that allows you to actually zoom with tapping instead of dragging.
Browsing images in landscape mode is also available. As there's no accelerometer for automatic rotation, you can can switch to landscape view via t the dedicated toggle on screen.
Music player and FM radio
The music player of the Samsung S3650 is exactly the same as in the Jet and Star and hasn't been altered much from the M8800 Pixon.
It allows filtering tracks by author, album, and genre. Automatic playlists (recently added, most played etc.) are also generated and can subsequently be used as filters. If that doesn't seem enough, you can create your own custom playlists. The music player can naturally be minimized to play in the background.
The music player also has a dedicated homescreen widget, allowing quick access to the full version of the application with only a single tap. You can also start, stop and alternate tracks straight from the home screen if you prefer.
The equalizer offers the standard presets like pop, jazz, classic, etc. but it also packs three additional options - widening, dynamic and surround effects.
Last, but certainly not least, the player is nicely touch-optimized to include fast forward and rewind, just like on the S5600. This adds up to an excellent music application that can fully replace your portable MP3 player.
The Samsung S3650 Corby features an FM radio with RDS. The S3650 Corby's radio app offers intuitive controls and has the Find Music recognition service implemented, which works much like Sony Ericsson's TrackID.
The radio app is in the Applications menu but the Radio widget on the home screen gives you more immediate access. Tapping on it brings up the radio or you could just use the widget's controls to start/stop the radio or change the station. It can only skip between saved stations though, and if you want to search you'll have to do it in the actual app.
Speaking of stations, you can save stations but they are labeled just by their frequency and you can't rename them. There's a separate list for your favorite stations though.
The video player is OK
The video player has a simple interface with not too many features. All the basic are covered though, and that should really be enough as the screen size doesn't really lend itself to watching whole movies.
The player supports MP4 videos but we only managed to get QVGA samples running. VGA resolution videos we tried were a no go.