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Mobile library: Reviews
Samsung D900 in UseAbout two months have passed, since I bought the Samsung D900, and now I have a ground to share my impressions of using this device, to reveal some secrets and details of its work.
Before I took the D900 in my hands for the first time, the device had shown itself to advantages: first, the users gave high price to it, second, the strict jury of the GLOBAL MOBILE AWARD 2007 acknowledged it being the “best GSM-mobile phone”. These two factors were enough to the new handset to attract attention and arouse genuine interest.
When you meet the D900 for the first time you notice its slim and light casing, which doesn’t limit its functionality. This remark is not casual, as today we see the opposite situation with compact Samsung devices. The Samsung U100 Ultra Edition, that recently came into the Russian market, lost the memory card slot because of its slimness. Moreover, new ultra thin Samsung cellular phones are equipped with so-called pseudo-touched keys, which were considered unanimously to be uncomfortable in the work, especially when typing SMS. (Those, who had troubles with the D830 and U300 understand what I’m talking about.) This remark is also not casual, because though the width of the Samsung D900 is 13mm, it keys remains traditional and, what is more important, handy.
Another remark, concerning the design of the D900, is the slider mechanism. Despite concerns, that I had before buying, in time nothing worsened with opening and closing system of the D900. The slider hasn’t got loose, spring –mechanism works good, to “fold” the phone is very simple, there is a special small lug under the four-way key, that is convenient to hold with a finger. Everything is well thought out.
So we have to state, that the owner of the Samsung D900 will not be disappointed in design and ergonomics even after several month of using it.
Let’s move on to the software. Everyone, who verses in cellular phones, may know a notion “firmware”. And it’s not a secret that the firmware may differ in one model produced during several months. In case of the Samsung D900 the difference in firmware is important. The matter is in the aforementioned incompatibility with some memory cards. I remind you, that the phone has the microSD slot, but the first buyers of the D600 complained about the constant errors when reading cards of this format. Particularly, they accused the phone of incompatibility with the Kingston cards. Moreover, the maximal supported card was, as the representatives claimed, 1Gb.
I carried out an experiment. When I made sure, that my sample had the latest January firmware (XEGA1), I tested it with the Kingston 2Gb memory card and was surprised, when the device not only recognized it, but read and burn data on the card. So, reproaches for poor work with the memory card are groundless, when we speak about the phone with the XEGA1 firmware. The shops now offer the devices with exactly this firmware, but you’d better always check it yourself. It takes you only to key in *#1234# for checking it.
Another important moment for those, who are going to use the Samsung D600 with memory cards of a big size, is a preliminary formatting of microSD. You can do it through the menu when you put the card for the first time, or use PC and a cardreader. The formatting file system is FAT.
There is one more moment concerning the firmware in the work with the Samsung D900. The first buyers (before the XEGA1 firmware) complained about too quiet ring and the mp-3 player sound system. The difference in the loudness in the same phones with different firmwares is really noticeable. But there are some tricks that can be useful for users , who’d like to increase volume of the ring. You don’t need additional equipment or money.
So to increase the volume of the Samsung D900 loudspeaker to the incoming calls and alarm clock, you need to key in *#8999*8378#, choose the item “Equipment test ”, then “Audio settings”, then “Normal IIS”, where in the field “volume amplification” enter the number 15.
To increase volume of the MP-3 player you have to do the same, but in the item “Normal IIS” choose the field “RX loudness” and put in the line “Loudness 10” the value 0 ( exactly 0, this is not a misprints).
But we have to remind, that the users do these changes at their peril and only they are responsible for it. However, the aforementioned actions haven’t damaged any Samsung D900 that I happened to deal with.
As the talk turned to the MP3-player, let me speak about peculiarities of its work. It was nice to see the player working in the background mode: you just choose a track, close the phone and use the navigation keys to control the playing if it is necessary. So you have a genuine player – it is handy, simple, compact.
And now some words about specifications of the player. First, I learnt by experience that to fix maximal volume you should choose in the equalizer settings “Rock” and switch on the option “3D sound”. When the player is switched on, you can do it using the buttons “4” and “7”.
Another detail, that puzzled me at first, is that the D900 couldn’t play some mp3-tracks. As it turned out, the problem was with the file names: too long names make the D900 fall into a stupor (for example, “214 - Aretha Franklin - Until You Come Back (Thats What Im Gonna Do.mp3 ”). The problem is solved, when you shorten the name of the track.
In other respects the Samsung D900 made me glad with its MP3-player. The latter together with the 2Gb memory card replaces a common player. I’d like only to add that you can listen to music also via wireless Bluetooth-headphones.
One of my most pleasant detections is that the D900 is compatible with Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). For example, the possibility to read documents in the .doc format (that is the format of the Microsoft Word document by default) was very useful to me. I can share a secret how to read text documents on the D900 screen, with those who use this function. You should correct some settings in the formatting of the Microsoft Word document. To begin with, make sure that the format of the page is A4, alignment – “portrait”. Then you should replace the type with Times New Roman, type size is 24 or even more and save the document. When you open it with the D900 rotate the page on 90 degrees and open it on the whole screen. I can also add, you’d better turn off the moving pages around in order to avoid omission of the lines in the document.
I would like to tell you about another function of the Samsung D900, which can’t but gladden, though it is still a disputable thing. I mean the function that warns the user when the SIM-card is changed. This technology works in the following way: you enter up to two phone numbers in the memory of the phone, when in the handset appears another SIM-card, the system automatically sends SMS with a SIM-card number and IMEI on these two numbers. This will be done without notice, that’s way a thief of your mobile phone, won’t learn that its phone number is known to the foresight owner of the device. Generally this function is to simplify the search of the stolen D900. But is it possible to return the device? Unfortunately, people are very skeptical.
Reading text messages on the D900 screen can be turned into enthralling sight, when you switch on the animation function of the text. When receiving an incoming message, the text appears on the screen gradually, as if it is typed in the real time, some words will be automatically replaced with animated 3D-images. For example, in the SMS “Don’t forget to print a photograph” the latter word will be substituted for the image of a camera. The camera “takes a photo” and then appears an image of the photograph. Here is far from the whole list of the words that can be replaced by the D900 with the colourful prints: summer, winter, star, heart, love, rose, clock, cloud, sun, book, phone, tears, laugh, frost, black cloud, coffee, clover, time, good night, merry, cloudy, smile, warm, hot, oh!, wow!, ah!, to sleep, night, car, bus, photograph, house, flowers, snow, rain, beer, cake, present, wine, kiss, dog, cat, month, umbrella, luck, happiness, boredom, birthday, it’s a pity!, metro, train.
There are some pleasant trifles in the Samsung D900. First, the phone is equipped with the TV-output. I used this function only once or twice, but I still glad to see it in the device. Second, I can print photos without PC. The USD-cable in the sales package easily solves this problem. Third, you can view PDF and HTML files besides Microsoft Office documents. Finally, I like the possibility to adjust the four-way button to the necessary functions and uMenu utility. The latter is called by default with pressing the “up” key. The uMenu contains all necessary and often used applications. That’s way the user of the D900 needs only one or two pressings to call the necessary application.
I can’t but mention an interesting joint product of Samsung and Adobe. Its name is uGo and it is depicted on the screen of the D900 as wallpapers. The picture changes depending on the location. The display shows the main place of interest of the city, where the user is. Moreover, time of a day changes in the real time. There is an interesting animation to each event (incoming SMS, weak signal).
The Samsung D600 has 3.0-mpixel camera with autofocus and flash on board. As not every handset is equipped with the device like this, we chose a separate item in the article to speak about the camera.
In general we can say that the camera works well. But in my view, it can hardly get a perfect mark, and the photos below prove my words.
The first photograph was taken in a cloudy day. The light in the shoot is even, that’s way the D900 camera distinctly imprinted all objects: the car details in the foreground are clearly visible; the objects are reflected on the wet asphalt, in the background you can discern curtains in windows. The car running at the high speed is clearly depicted, though the autofocus wasn’t adjusted to it. The autofocus needs about 1,5- 2 seconds.
The second photograph is not so compound, but another moments are important to us, it is sharpness and noisiness. With the naked eye you see, that the objects are blurred a little. The view in the original size reveals some noises. And the point is that there is not enough light - the still is taken in the room.
But let’s try to get a clear picture: we chose an absolutely static object, leant against the steady surface and took a photo. As you see, the things took a turn for the better.
The conclusion is the following: when you use the camera of the Samsung D900 in conditions of insufficient light, you should remember about possible defocusing; also try to find a steady support to your hands to shoot; when possible use the flash. Let’s speak about the latter in details.
The Samsung D900 flash is in reality a common diode brightening the object of the photography. In particular conditions (when the object is not farther than a metre) the light of the flash yields appreciable results.
In other conditions the diode in the D900 is useless. But you can use it as very bright torch.
One more important specification of the camera is 4x digital zoom. You can hardly use it in the macro mode, but it can “remove” unnecessary objects from the shot. The photos with and without digital zoom you can see below.
There are another stills taken with the Samsung D900.
Of course, the D900 has some drawbacks. Though they are not critical, still they cause some discomfort. For example, I don’t like that the program to view the documents (Microsoft Word) is closed automatically, when you close the slider. You can solve the problem – open the Picsel File Viewer (this is the name of the utility) when the phone is closed. However to adjust the viewing of the document is more convenient using the numerical keys.
Another trifle slowing down the process of typing SMS in the Latin alphabet is that there is no shortcut to the symbol « ‘ ». In order to type it you have to enter the special menu with long pressing the «#» button and among the symbols you choose « ‘ » sign. At first this peculiarity seems to be inconvenient, but after some time you get used to it.
That is all for the drawbacks I have to face when using the Samsung D900. They, as I’ve said above, is not critical, but I have to find at least a small fly in the ointment of “the best GSM-phone” in the opinion of GLOBAL MOBILE AVORDS 2007.
The conclusion is the following: the Samsung D900 is in some way a unique device combining excellent design, slimness, lightness and good optional and functional capabilities. The handset might be not so refined as the latest Samsung line – U100, U300 and U600, but it surely is more handy in use. Moreover, not all new devices have the expansion card slot, though they are, as well as the D900, equipped with the 3mpixel camera. And the presence of the camera in the device without card slot is a disputable issue.
To those, who are going to buy a thin, slim and maximal functional phone, I advise to look closely to the Samsung D900. You also should pay attention to the improved version of the phone – the Samsung D900i. Besides some design changes, the device ships with the FM-radio. The “900-th” model once again proved its boundless capabilities.
© Written by Anton Kochetkov, Mobiset.ru
Translated by Arina Urban.
Published — 30 August 2007.
Read full version of the article: http://eng.mobiset.ru/articles/text/?id=35