The primary multimedia player of all Windows Mobile devices is the preinstalled Windows Media Player. Besides music, it allows watching video and streaming TV. You can sort tracks by artist, album or genre and you can create custom playlists.
A nice enhancement is the mini player. It is a proprietary Samsung add-on that works much like the Windows Media Player mini mode for PC. A bar with music controls is available at the bottom of the screen while reading a message or looking at the calendar for example, so you don't need to open toggle the player full screen just for the sake of skipping a track. It displays the name of the song and the running time, along with the Play, Forward and Rewind buttons and volume.
We installed a TCPMP player and the needed codecs to play DivX and XviD video files. Playing movies at near-VGA resolution with the i780 is flawless. The exact processor power of the Marvell CPU that makes all this possible is still ambiguous. Some sources claim it is 416 MHz or even 624 MHz. A Samsung insider claimed the i780 uses a 250MHz processor, but it's somewhat hard to believe given the excellent performance.
Putting the numbers aside, the videos played with i780 run smooth with almost no dropped frames. Zooming in on clips up to 30% doesn't seem to worsen things at all.
With PocketPCs camera performance is hardly a priority. The 2 megapixel camera of Samsung i780 produces passable photos of average quality. The correct color rendering and the tack sharp photos are the camera strong points. Viewing images full size reveals some well worked out noise reduction algorithm, but that of course sacrifices some detail.
|"...Playing movies at near-VGA resolution with the i780 is flawless. The exact processor power of the Marvell CPU that makes all this possible is still ambiguous. Some sources claim it is 416 MHz or even 624 MHz. A Samsung insider claimed the i780 uses a 250MHz processor..."|
The camera menu is easy to operate. You will never mix up the photo and video mode, as the entire still camera interface is colored in light green, while the videocam one is set in light orange. Additionally, the semi transparent menus allow using the settings without covering the images.
White balance can be either automatic or custom set to daylight, cloudy, tungsten or fluorescent. You can apply several color effects (Black and white, Sepia, Green, Aqua, and Negative) and use the special camera modes such as multi or night shot. There is no panorama mode or Date stamps to your photos.
The General settings and options menu gets revealed once you hit the last icon on the toolbar. Though it differs a lot from the other camera interface we have no complaints with its usability.
The video menu interface is identical to the camera interface. Video clips are recorded in QVGA or QCIF resolution in 3GP format at 15fps. Quality is barely passable.
Now, back to what PocketPCs are really about - connectivity, both wired and wireless. The Samsung i780 is well geared up in that department. USB connectivity allows seamless synchronization with MS Outlook. However, you can also use Bluetooth 2.0 for that purpose. Other than synchronizing, A2DP support allows listening music on a stereo Bluetooth headset.
Speaking of wireless communication, we should mention there is no Infrared port, but you have Wi-Fi at your disposal. There are also GPRS, EDGE and HSDPA (3.6 Mbps) so you always have data connectivity options available.
Software-wise Samsung i780 is equipped with Internet Explorer Mobile web browser, as well as Opera Mobile 8.65. The Opera browser is a downright favorite with tab browsing and several viewing options. You can have it fit the text to the screen, show everything in one column or show the website as it is. Fullscreen mode is also at hand.
We expected a far better integration of the mouse pointer of i780 within the web browser. For example, scrolling down the page is available only through the scroll bar on the right. So when you are browsing the 4-way navigation mode will be your preferred input method.
We were very happy to find Samsung had incorporated a stand-alone JAVA launcher with 3D support. It's way better than the clumsy Java installation process using the internet browser, seen in Samsung i600.
Having just given credit to the Samsung team, we're to take it back for the unfortunate fact that the phone has problems with third party applications. Java or native Windows ones, third party applications developed for 4:3 aspect ratio screens disagree with the i780 square display more than often.
Of course, Java installation via the internet browser is still supported.