REVIEW: The Samsung S3500 Quad-band

Samsung S3500I’VE had the same brand of cellphone since I was 16, and that’s not because I’ve had the same phone since I was 16. On the contrary, I’ve been through about seven phones in the last eight years.

There was my first phone that drowned in a fishpond, another that committed suicide by jumping out of a six-storey window, a third phone that died in a freak electrical-induced accident, and a few others that were simply tossed aside because something sexier and more exciting had come to town.

But of all the phones I’ve had in my life, they’ve all had one thing in common — they all belonged to the same brand. My current phone is the same brand. I believe this is because of a fundamentally human thing — that we tend to resist change, especially in the technology department. There is something comforting about the familiar and we don’t want to have to faff about learning something new when we already have something old that works perfectly fine.

This brings me to the Samsung S3500, which was a pleasant introduction to Samsung mobile phones. This model seems to be marketed as a fairly up-to-date budget phone, because apparently we’re in some kind of merciless economic recession. It’s not a bad marketing strategy, although I would argue that what actually appeals to consumers the most is the idea of paying less for more.

And it’s not a bad bundle that you get for around R3 000 (prepaid).

It has one unique function called “fake call” which is a little strange. This function enables you to activate a bogus incoming call so you can free yourself from awkward conversations or dodgy situations by pretending to take a call.

It has EDGE connectivity capabilities, an embedded music player, FM radio, Bluetooth, a WAP browser and a camera, among other things. It also looks really slick and there is something very pleasing about a slider phone.

Let’s take a closer look (a full list of specs appear at the end of this post):

DISPLAY
The Samsung’s display, on the other hand, is great, with each of the main keys of the D-pad bringing up a different set of options. It is easy to navigate and all the functions are neatly displayed on the main menu. It has a nice selection of themes, the icons are large and the screen is bright. Top marks for presentation.

SOUND
One thing that cellphones today are really starting to perfect is the way they sound. Gone are the days of fake-sounding, mosquito-like noises emanating from phones as they ring. Most mobiles today sound so good that they make for great portable radios and MP3 players. The Samsung S3500 is both and they sound great.

KEYPAD
Until this year I had always been reluctant to get a phone on contract. The thought that yet another phone might drown or kill itself, leaving me with the responsibility of having to pay for it every month for two years, doesn’t really appeal to me.

However, one needs to consider that as long as you take good, vigilant care of your cellphone, having one on contract should be a lot cheaper in the long run. I am finally content with my current phone with the exception of its keypad, which is very similar to that of the Samsung S3500.

I find these newer, flat and hard keypads difficult to operate, especially when trying to type an SMS in a hurry. This does not bode well for someone who SMSes more than he/she phones.

My fondest memory of my very first phone was its spongy buttons, which almost massaged one’s fingers. With these flatter, more plastic-like keypads, such as that of the Samsung S3500, I find that I have to use my fingernail to type … if it hasn’t yet been chewed off from frustration.

GAMES
The Samsung S3500 has a large library of games, which tells me that this phone is really suited for the teenage market. The phone comes with seven free games with the option of downloading more. And these are not the standard, outdated games such as Snake, but classier, more challenging digitalised treats such as Harry Potter, Midnight Pool and Sudoku.

If mobile games are your thing, these should keep you entertained for hours.

INTERNET
As soon as I read “Quad-band” on the side of the Samsung S3500’s box I got rather excited as I expected to experience lightning-fast Internet speeds. However, if you have experienced ADSL Internet speeds, then connecting to the web using this phone (or most phones for that matter) is nothing special and can be painfully slow. To make matters worse, this particular model doesn’t have 3G capabilities, which can be a bummer.

CAMERA
Considering that most modern phones today have five-megapixel cameras, the Samsung S3500’s two- mega pixel camera is a bit of a disappointment. It’s fine for taking photos (and even video) to view on the phone itself, but if you are wanting to preserve your mobile memories by printing out your pictures from your phone, this one really isn’t quite up to the task.

OTHER FEATURES
With the exception of 3G and GPS, there seems to be very little that the Samsung S3500 is missing when compared to other cellphones of 2009. It has a standard phonebook and messaging interface, the usual call log, a separate folder for all your downloaded or produced content, an organiser with a clock, alarm, calendar, calculator and converter, a voice recorder, timer, stopwatch and numbered buttons from one to nine.

FAKE CALL
There is, however, one unique function called “fake call”, which is a little strange. Many of Samsung’s more recent handsets include this feature, which enables you to activate a bogus incoming call, so you can free yourself from awkward conversations or dodgy situations by pretending to take a call.

For added authenticity, you can record your own fake voice “call” that plays back when you answer. Potentially useful perhaps, but don’t be caught using it!

Apart from that, the Samsung S3500 is nothing too special but is a decent upgrade if you currently have on older Samsung model. I think I’ll stick to my particular cellphone brand for now and simply avoid getting too close to fishponds, hanging around high-rise windows, and make an extra effort to stay away from electrical experiments.

SAMSUNG S3500 SPECS:

  • GPS: No
  • Java: Yes, MIDP 2,0
  • Games: 7 + downloadable
  • Bluetooth 2,0 + EDR and USB
  • Messaging: SMS, MMS, e-mail
  • Size: 100 mm x 48 mm x 14 mm
  • 2-megapixel camera (1600x1200 pixels)
  • FM radio with RDS and recording feature
  • MicroSD card support with up to 8GB support
  • 30MB of internal memory • Phonebook: 1 000 contacts
  • EDGE: Class 10; 236,8 kbps • Browser: WAP 2,0/xHTML, HTML
  • 2,2-inch TFT; QVGA resolution (240 x 320), 16 million colours
  • Quad-band GSM/EDGE connectivity (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • Standard Li-Ion 800mAh battery with talk time of up to 7,5 hours
  • Embedded music player supports MP3/AAC/AAC +/MIDIplayback
  • Video: Record 15 f/s QVGA video in MPEG4 and H.263 formats (playback in 25 f/s QVGA)

Related post: Jet-setting with the Samsung Jet

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SAMSUNG JET REVIEW: Samsung Jet and its innovative smartphone-like features take handsets to the realms of being 'smarter than a smartphone'

THE Samsung Jet has opened up a whole new world of mobile web browsing with its high performance Dolfin web browser and revolutionary 3D cubic interface, allowing super-fast surfing. The device also supports the option of multi-window browsing – allowing one to surf up to five pages simultaneously.

Samsung JetThe 3.1" Samsung WVGA AMOLED display is four times sharper than a WQVGA screen, has a fast touch response, and is also very efficient in its power consumption - consuming 40% less energy than a mobile phone equipped with TFT-LCD display.

When it comes to a review of music, the unique features of the Samsung Jet give users the option to operate simultaneous playback audio and scroll through the phone's music library.

For video, the DVD-like playback recording (with D1 Video Playback and D1 30fps Video Recording) enables seamless playback without residuals and the ability to instantly download and play DivX and Xvid formats without converting and resizing- all in HD-like quality.

This full-touch mobile phone boasts revolutionary speed thanks to its 800MHz Accelerated Application Processor. This sophisticated high-performance processor is the Samsung Jet's secret to speed and versatility, integrating multiple applications and functions, such as navigation and viewing.

Samsung Jet also has an A-GPS application, to provide navigation services in life-like 3D, to convey real places, information and directions in real-time. This incorporates 3D Map Navigation, GPS on Google maps and location-based services. And if all that isn't enough, it also includes a Geotagging feature.

SAMSUNG JET SPECS:

  • HSDPA 3.6Mbps (900, 2100 MHz)
  • Revolutionary 3D Cubic Interface
  • Display: 3.1" 16M WVGA AMOLED
  • Camera: 5.0 Megapixel AF camera+ Dual Power LED
  • Face Detection, Smile Shot, Panorama Shot, Blink Detection, Geo-tagging, Photo Editor
  • Video: D1 Video Playback/D1 30fps Video Recording, Vid Editor
  • Supports: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX, XviD
  • Audio: Music Player with DNSe & SRS WOW Sound Effect
  • Find Music, 3.5 Ear Jack, FM Radio/Recording
  • Supports: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, AMR, MIDI, SP-MIDI, i-melody, WAV, MMF, XMF, OMA DRM v2.1, WMDRM,
  • DivX VOD & Wi-Fi
  • Active Sync for Push Mail

Value Added Jet specs:

  • In-house developed Dolfin Browser, WAP 2.0, One finger Zoom
  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Share Pix & Mobile Widget
  • A-GPS, On Board Navigation(3D Map), TouchWiz 2.0
  • Motion UI, Media Gate 3D, Multi-tasking Manager
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v2.1, microUSB (USB v2.0 Hi-Speed), Wi-Fi
  • Memory: 2GB onboard memory & 8GB microSD card (included)
  • Battery: 1,100 mAh - Talk time : 2G/492 minutes, 3G/300 minutes
  • Standby: 2G/422 hours, 3G/406 hours
  • Size: 108.8 x 53.5 x 11.9 mm

Related Review: Samsung S3500: Budget Bundle

- issued on belhaf of Samsung Mobile Phones
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IPAINT: A collection of cellular-created iPhone artwork

SOME of the latest hype arriving in the wake of the new iPhone 3G S is an Apple application for the device called Brushes. This allows users to do more than just doodle on their iPhones. These images are “painted” freehand, using fingers and thumbs.

The iPaint app allows users to make use of various painting tools and brush sizes and pick up previously applied colours using the eyedropper tool.

The standard “pinching” gesture, which has become a feature of the iPhone, can be used to zoom in for detailed work. There’s an undo and redo function on the Brushes app as well.

Professional artists, such as Susan Murtaugh, have applied themselves to the task of creating iphone art. Some of their works have received such vast amounts of global attention that there are plans afoot for exhibitions in Bricks and Mortar art galleries. Check these out!

iPhone App: iPaint on my cellphone

In a new craze sweeping the world, iPhone and iPod Touch users are producing extraordinary 'paintings' on their Apple devices. All the images were created using an application called Brushes and 'painted' freehand using fingers and thumbs

In a new craze sweeping the world, iPhone and iPod Touch users are producing extraordinary 'paintings' on their Apple devices. All the images were created using an application called Brushes and 'painted' freehand using fingers and thumbs

Brushes, created by Steve Sprang, also records every brush stroke while you are painting - allowing you to watch how your painting builds up

Brushes, created by Steve Sprang, also records every brush stroke while you are painting - allowing you to watch how your painting builds up

Artist Susan Murtagh said: "It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I figured out my work flow it was almost like painting on canvas"

Artists Susan Murtagh said: "It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I figured out my work flow it was almost like painting on canvas"

"It's easy to use - just take your finger and doodle. Next thing you know you've made the background blue and you're doodling in orange - it's fun"

"It's easy to use - just take your finger and doodle. Next thing you know you've made the background blue and you're doodling in orange - it's fun"

Mike Miller, a 32-year-old from Colorado, America, thinks he had mastered the art of digital painting after a week of practice. He added: "The more I use the application, the more it feels the same as the real thing"

Mike Miller, a 32-year-old from Colorado, America, thinks he had mastered the art of digital painting after a week of practice. He added: "The more I use the application, the more it feels the same as the real thing"

Priced at £2.99 Brushes can be downloaded through Apple iTunes

Priced at £2.99 Brushes can be downloaded through Apple iTunes

Fellow digital artist Mathew Watkins finds "painting on the iPhone more immediate and pleasurable than painting on the computer with mouse or pen tablet"

Fellow digital artist Mathew Watkins finds "painting on the iPhone more immediate and pleasurable than painting on the computer with mouse or pen tablet"

"Physically drawing on the touch screen is the same method I use on pad and paper, except it isn't messy and fits in my pocket"

"Physically drawing on the touch screen is the same method I use on pad and paper, except it isn't messy and fits in my pocket"

Classically trained artist Susan Murtaugh, from Wisconsin, America, is already selling prints of her digitally-created art for around 15 pounds

Classically trained artist Susan Murtaugh, from Wisconsin, America, is already selling prints of her digitally-created art for around 15 pounds

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HTC Dream: The first android phone in SA, apparently

MTN has teamed up with HTC distributor Leaf International Communications to launch the HTC Dream android mobile handset. This mobile device is the first in South Africa to make use of the new open source Android operating system, which is owned by one of the world’s best known brands, Google.

The HTC Dream gives users one-touch access to their favourite Google products such as Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. Unlike other operating systems that treat search functionality as an “extra”, the entire Android operating system was moulded around the core of search functionality.

The HTC Dream Android phone

HTC Dream

The software is completely open source and allows users to download a host of free applications as well as customise every facet of the HTC Dream. From the dialer, browser and photo viewer, to the core applications normally locked into the operating system, these can all be tweaked.

“MTN is proud to be the first android operator in South Africa to offer its customers a revolutionary smartphone that will change the way we use mobile technology”, says Donovan Smith - General Manager of Consumer Segments at MTN SA

HTC DREAM ANDROID FEATURES

The HTC Dream features a large, sensationally crisp 3.2-inch (8.1 cm) display with a resolution of 320X480. The touch-sensitive screen navigation is finger-friendly and super intuitive. The display switches from portrait to landscape mode when the keyboard is opened. It has a sliding five-row QWERTY keyboard that comes with a set of six navigation buttons.

The HTC Dream includes a GPS receiver and a microSD card slot that supports storage capacities of up to 16GB. The device comes standard with a 1GB microSD card. A fast, full web browser brings the power of the web to your phone and displays up to eight web pages simultaneously to open networks.

All applications integrate seamlessly with one another, alert you to events occurring in other applications and allow you to switch in and out of functions while on a call.

“The HTC Dream with Android will cater for any type of user whether you are a university student or the CEO of a company. By giving our customers instant access to Google services, we are ensuring that MTN sets the pace with innovative and convenient product offerings in both the local and African telecoms market,” says Smith

In view of the advanced data capabilities and applications offered on the HTC Dream, MTN is offering it to customers on the MTN AnyTime 350 package for R529 per month, which includes R350 worth of airtime and 100MB worth of data per month. With MTN’s new broadband offer, once the inclusive 100MB is used up, customers can buy as many additional data bundles as they need.

Sweet!

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TECHNOLOGY: A whiff of the modern cellphone

THE cellphone has become one of the most widely used digital technologies in everyday life. However, current cellular innovations appear to be both exciting and potentially dangerous at the same time.

one smelly phoneThe Health Concept Phone (pictured) is equipped with eNose technology, which effectively allows it to electronically “smell” what you eat and keep track of your food intake. It is able to ‘recognise’ food (and other things) by its unique chemical signature. Recommended for people who have a habit of eating with their eyes closed. Similar cellphones have the ability to emit a whiff of your significant other’s scent every time he or she calls.

New cellular features (and what one can actually do with a modern cellphone) are taking the lead in incorporating the latest and greatest technical innovations. Interestingly, cellphones equipped with such state-of-the-art technology are becoming increasingly popular in countries such as South Africa as opposed to those who one might refer to as the 'digital elite'.

The most striking (and perhaps most frightening) ideas are to create cellphones that come closer to human nature than we might like to believe. Electronic giant Samsung is planning to create a cellphone that has “artificial chromosomes” built within, and will be able to ‘think’, ‘feel’, ‘evolve’ and even ‘reproduce’. The concept seems close to the earlier invention of the Tamagotchi – a digital creature that adjusts its ‘life’ according to the personality and actions of its owner.

Other companies have already customised the cellphone for social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, which they say “effectively allows you to carry your social life in your pocket”. No human contact needed.

The notion that we are living in an expanding visual and digital culture is becoming more apparent by the development of such technologies. Perhaps the most exciting modern cellphone feature that manufacturers are focusing on at the moment is video. Several companies are talking about making it possible for millions of people to simultaneously stream live video and TV channels via their phones. Music fans may receive the most recent music videos by their favourite bands instantaneously — a concept being coined as ultrareality.

As exciting as these developments sound, the luddites (technology pessimists) will tell us that this is not all cream and cake. And no, these are not all hippies that protest against technology, but clued-up intellectuals who know what they are talking about. An article published in the Washington Times describes how digital experts in the Middle East are making use of cellphones to trigger off road-side bombs. James Bond films also illustrate how the modern cellphone is, rather accurately, used in the spy industry for corruption purposes.

The pace that such developments are taking do have the danger of blinding one to their negative possibilities. However, the idea of getting a whiff of your significant other’s scent through your cellphone every time he or she calls is both crazy and exciting.

Interesting Links:

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