Samsung U700 review: Ultra fit
Samsung U700 manages SMS, MMS, and emails. SMS and MMS use one and the same editor. MMS are created through a selection from the menu or by inserting an image, which makes the editor automatically switch from SMS to MMS. SMS can be maximum 2295 characters long; the number you're sending to also counts. The number of the 160-symbol chunks that a longer message breaks down to is shown in the bottom part of the display. T9 editor is there; both browsing and adding new words is fast and intuitive. If sending fails, say because of a network failure, the message is saved to the Outbox.
Message menu • delivered messages folder • typing a SMS • options for creating messages
The email client is good. It can manage up to 5 accounts; download is user-defined, opting between headers only and entire messages. Not only any files from the phone memory, but also business cards, meetings, anniversaries, tasks or notes, can be emailed as attachments . The client can be set up to check mail at defined intervals (user-configurable, of course). Chat is available too, but you'll first have to download the Java application.
Email client and its options • memory reserved for messages
Let the music play
Entertainment features in the Samsung U700 are worth a closer look. The phone offers a lot of storage space for multimedia thanks to the memory card and can therefore be comfortably used as a music player. The player organizes songs by author or album; playlists can be created too. The minimized player can operate in the background. The phone is sold with a set of headphones, but if you're not happy with them, the additional investment into an adapter should be insignificant. What a pity Samsung changed their mind since the X830 model, which used to be equipped with a universal connector compatible with headsets of all types. The FM radio, which is a quite handy feature, is missing in the U700 equipment.
Music library • song list • playing • playing options
The phone offers several ways to download music, of which the easiest and the fastest is the memory card reader. If you do not have such a reader, connect Samsung U700 to a PC through the data cable you get in the retail package. Once connected, the phone will prompt to define the type of connection choosing between the media player profile or the PC Studio 3 application.
If you choose the first option, you will initiate the MTP (Media Transfer Protocol), which gets the phone synchronized with the Windows Media Player. The trouble here is that the phone automatically creates lists according to authors' names, which wreaks havoc in the file structure of the card. On the other hand, this type of file transfer is breakneck fast, with a 5MB song transferred in mere 10 seconds. As mentioned above, files can also be copied by using the PC Studio 3, which is described in details in the Samsung D800 review.
Samsung U700 features a 3.2 megapixel camera, which can take pictures with a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. What's more, it comes with autofocus and a macro mode allowing you to photograph text documents and get creative with your close-ups .
Samsung U700 makes great photos in good lighting. During the tests we used the highest resolution and maximum image quality. The fourth sample photo conveys fine details like separate blades of grass, while in the seventh sample photo (a late-afternoon view) areas of similar coloring stand out well and color transition is smooth. All these details speak of fine compression - the great shortfall of so many rival mobiles.
Camera settings • shooting with a frame
The camera does not offer manual ISO setup. The photos taken in poorer light do not suffer from excessive noise, but the worse the light conditions, the slower the shutter speed, so the final images are often blurred. Poor lighting isn't suitable for taking closeups as the LED gets the pictures overexposed. The LED is powerful enough to brighten an entire room, but has less impact at longer distance.
Browsing images in the phone
The camera is also able to shoot video, recording length is only limited by the free memory. You can shoot pretty long videos because the only available resolution is the rather low QCIF (176 x 144 pixels). Way below today's standards, indeed. We won't be publishing sample video clips taken in QCIF resolution any more - there isn't that much to see really.