Product Type: Samsung mobile phones
Newest Review: ... provided do not have the standard jack cable for headphones. The Alarm system on the phone is very well thought out is loud enough and a... more
So much more than just a phone
Samsung GT S7220
Member Name: sandemp
Samsung GT S7220
Advantages: Exceptional camera, good music player, battery life
Disadvantages: Hard to find the apostrophe when texting
(Apologies for the length of this review but this really is more than just a phone)
The 'candy bar' styling of the S7220 means there are no flaps or slide mechanisms so it's not one of the smallest mobiles out there, but it is in no way the largest. I would say it's a good size to fit in my hand. Neither is it the lightest, but there's something reassuring about it's weight, it feels substantial and well made. The actual styling is quite understated being a dark charcoal grey with the tiniest amount of red highlighting. This is a phone that my partner is just as happy to be seen using as me, truly unisex and possibly catering towards the slightly more mature mobile user. The screen is large taking up about half of the phone's front, and incredibly clear and detailed.
The S7220 comes neatly boxed with everything required for use, a USB lead, earphones, charger and installation disc are included. It was simplicity itself to install the phone on my computer, with the only slight difficulty being that the software card on one of those mini CDs and as my computer has a vertical drive there was a bit of faffing about getting the CD to stay in the drive. Not Samsung's fault entirely but Sony manage to provide full sized discs. The provided manual is comprehensive, easy to understand and preparing the phone for first use was a doddle. The menu system is well thought out, and it's easy to find the different functions and to personalise with either the few supplied wallpapers or photos that you've taken with the camera.
For me making and receiving calls will always be the primary purpose for owning a mobile phone and the S7220 performs more than adequately at this task. It was simple enough to transfer numbers from my old Pay As You Go sim, and it's also easy to add numbers to the phone book. There are a number of ring tones pre-installed and while some of these are a bit naff most are reasonable and mp3's can be used instead. Each contact can have a different tone associated with it, and there is the facility to attach a photo.
Making a call is simplicity itself with all the standard methods available and once connected I have never had a problem hearing (or being heard by) the other caller. The volume is perfectly loud enough without adjusting the volume but if I ever do have a problem the volume adjust key is conveniently placed in a position where my thumb can reach it whichever hand I am using. When used to make a call in hands-free mode (with the supplied earphones) sound quality is exceptional at my end and there have been no complaints from the other end so I'm assuming that I can be heard properly with no muffling or distortion.
There is also an internal camera for making video calls, but I've never tried this function out, for the simple reason that making this type of call is prohibitively expensive.
After making calls the second most important function of a phone (for me) is of course texting. While on the whole the S7220 does an excellent job when it comes to texting I do have a couple of niggles. I find that the keypad has just the right level of sensitivity for me and have no trouble pressing the right keys with my longish nails and if I were to use it there is the standard dictionary. But there is the annoying tendency that no matter how often I set the phone to start a message with a capital letter it always starts with lower case by default. This does actually annoy me, although I can use text-speak as well as most people, it just seems wrong to start a message with a lower case. Another annoyance is that unlike other phones I've used it's rather difficult to get to the apostrophe, rather than it being one of the presses of the '1' key I have to go through the rigmarole of adding a symbol each time I want to use it. This is the first Samsung I've ever owned, so I don't know if it's standard with the make but I find it annoying and occasionally frustrating.
The S7220 comes with Bluetooth as standard, with all the usual features of invisibility and pairing. I find that sending and receiving files is a painless procedure, and a relatively fast one as well. I can send a 1MB photo to my computer in well under a minute and transferring a 3MB music file takes just over a minute. Compared with my previous phone this is almost light speed. A slight niggle is that I do not always need to pair my phone with a device in order to send and receive files, but as it always asks whether I want to accept the file this doesn't make my phone too insecure. As long as the receiving device can accept them multiple files can be sent at the same time.
As long as the supplied software is installed the phone can also be connected to a computer. But I have serious problems with the software, it seems to hang and is so slow that I, personally, find it quicker to transfer files by either using Bluetooth or removing my memory card and putting that in the computer to add files. One other point is that when connected to a computer via USB the phone will automatically begin charging, which could be a nice feature apart from the fact that battery life can be impaired by constant trickle charge. It's far kinder to the battery to let it completely discharge and then fully charge it.
I absolutely love the camera on the S7220 it's such a vast improvement on my previous phone. My last phone had a very poor 2MP camera with no flash or zoom, but this is 5MP with an LED flash and 4x digital zoom. I could really write a review on the camera itself, but I'm going to try and be succinct. There is a huge variety of settings to play around with, including balance, ISO and picture quality. But among my favourites are the smile shot which actually waits until the subject is smiling before taking the picture. This isn't always 100% accurate but does help when trying to take a picture of someone that doesn't really like having their photo taken. I also like the panoramic function and living near the sea I've taken a fantastic photo of the beach and pier. Then there's the frame function, which is great fun and incorporates a frame or some artwork into the photo. Included in the frames there are cards, a great underwater scene and funny faces. I can see myself creating some fun personalised cards over the coming year. The flash is excellent you wouldn't even realise that the photo had been taken in low light conditions once it's been printed out. Using the full 5MP photos are fantastic and I can print them out to A4 size with no loss of detail even when I've used the 4x digital zoom. Full quality photos come in at around 1MB so this can quickly eat into memory but we'll get to this later.
As well as taking photos the camera can be used as a camcorder and while this function isn't as good as a dedicated camcorder, picture and audio quality are perfectly acceptable and if there's a limit to the length of video recorded I've yet to find it. Mind you I have only taken short clips lasting a minute or two.
I've previously owned a 5MP camera and I must say that the camera on this phone is far superior to that. I'm not a professional photographer, or even a talented amateur, but I really can't see the need for me to have a separate 10MP camera when the 5MP on this gives results that really couldn't be distinguished from something produced from my Dad's old 'normal' camera with all it's special lenses and filters. After all I'm just producing memories not works of art.
Another great feature with this phone is the MP3 player, again my previous phone was a let down in this respect. But this is exceptional, it's easy to create play lists and according to the specifications the music player will recognise several different track formats but I must be honest and say that I only have MP3 tracks on the phone. Even without playing around with settings tracks are played almost faultlessly both through the earphones and built in speaker. But I have played around to get a bit more bass as this improves that sort of music I like listening to even on a CD player.
The supplied earphones are comfortable and while they do not block out all outside noise (a good thing too, it's best to have some warning that somebody's coming up behind you) they do allow me to become immersed in whatever I am listening to. The volume when played through the earphones is a little loud for me at highest volume as I do like to be aware of my surroundings, but the volume button is so conveniently placed and even at this top volume there is no distortion. Music is also played flawlessly through the built in speaker, although this is not quite as loud as through the earphones it's loud enough to be heard above the engine of a car and again there is no distortion evident. In fact, as I don't have a stereo in my car I use this to provide a bit of entertainment while driving and find it perfect for that. While lower bit-rate (64) files still sound good the tracks I've converted to higher rates sound far better with a depth that means it's hard to believe that they are playing on a phone and not an iPod.
The interface is well designed and as well as being able to simply play every track on the phone, I can create play lists, play all tracks in a particular album or by an artist. ID3 tags can be read so all the information available on the track is displayed and I've even had a bit of album art appear on the screen. There is also a random function that I use regularly and I find this works well with little repetition as long as there are plenty of tracks available. The graphic equaliser is reasonable, although there is no custom setting and it is possible to have the player working in the background.
As well as being able to take pictures the S7220 is excellent at displaying and editing them. The large screen means that pictures are beautifully displayed in glorious detail and the phone is clever enough to know which way up it is so if I turn it on it's side then it will turn the photo to landscape view. There are various different options for editing the photos including adding frames, cropping, adding text and effects all of which work just as well as some software included with digital cameras.
The S7220 also plays video clips in various formats, so far I've tried both MP4 and 3GP and both types have played faultlessly, again the clever screen works out which way up it is and decides whether to play full-screen or not. I've only tried clips up to 5 minutes in length so far, but it's had no problems with these.
There is also a FM radio, that only works when the earphones are plugged in and again this works very well. There are a few pre-sets available and it was easy to tune in to my favourite station and add that as a favourite. As long as reception is good then everything is crystal clear.
My S7220 did not come with any games pre-installed but I have downloaded a java game and it runs very well with no evidence of hanging or crashing. The large screen means I don't have any problems seeing what I'm doing and the keys are responsive enough. Mind you it is only sudoku so there's isn't a lot of fast paced graphics.
The S7220 is a 3G phone and it does connect to the internet much faster than previous phones I've owned and doesn't seem to have any problems displaying sites that are intended for mobile use. Facebook works fine, and does Hotmail, pictures are nicely displayed but I can't say I use this much as it's not included in my tariff and can become expensive.
GPS is also available using the phone with Google maps being the standard application. But I've installed a Sat Nav application from Vodafone and as long as I'm outside it seems to work quite well. I can find out almost exactly where I am, and how to get where I'm going. This is indispensable to me, as I get quite stressed when driving if I don't know exactly where I've got to go next.
There are a few other standard features with the phone. The alarm works as well as you would expect, the calculator is easy to use, the converter is exceptional. And there is a to-do list, calendar and note function. These are pretty standard with phones nowadays but the S7220 does seem to do a good job at these tasks.
The 110MB internal memory may sound pretty good, but believe me you would soon find it's no-where nearly enough space, I did. But the phone will accept microSD cards up to 8GB in size, which is more than enough if you ask me. Luckily I already had a 2GB card from my previous phone and even luckier all the photos, music and videos I had on it were recognised and played by this phone. Currently I have 300 tracks, 20+ photos and a couple of 5 minute videos on the card and there's still room for lots more.
I've sung the praises of battery-life with previous phones, thinking that 2-3 days without charging is good. But I take it all back, I've never owned a phone where the battery lasts as long between charges as this. I kid you not, even with playing music (through the speakers) for a couple of hours each day, bluetoothing, playing games and calling and texting this phone lasts an amazing 5 days between charges. There has actually been times where I've just left the music running to try and discharge the battery ready to charge again. Even better it takes about an hour to fully charge from dead!!
While I've never dropped the phone (I'm actually being very careful with it), it does feel very solid and durable. The screen does attract fingerprints and smudges but these are easily cleaned. Although I do try not to just dump this in my pocket or bag with keys etc, there has been a couple of times when I've forgotten and so far there are no scratches. So it does seem to hold up to this problem quite well.
I received this phone free as part of my contract with Vodafone but by looking at the internet I can see that it's available in a few places SIM free with prices ranging from £132-£270 but I can't say I've ever heard of the shops stocking it.
I'm sure you can tell I love my S7220, it's so much more than just a phone. Yes I can make calls and sends texts with it, and on the whole it does a good job at these. But it's also a fantastic camera and media player. It looks stylish and 'grown-up', is suitable for either sex (no pink here), has a beautiful screen and is really the best phone I've ever owned. OK there's no touch screen, but I don't get on with these any way, give me a well thought out keypad any day, and the internal memory is a little small. But micro SD cards are so cheap, I paid £6 for my 2GB card so that's really not a problem.
Summary: Full featured phone from Samsung
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