Product Type: Samsung mobile phones
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Samsung sold this soul to the devil!
Samsung SGH-U900 Soul
Member Name: Littlegreenlady
Samsung SGH-U900 Soul
Advantages: Similar to most mobiles I should imagine
Disadvantages: Lots of silly little annoying features which makes it hard to use
I can be quite fussy about my mobile phones and so picking a new one always takes me some time. My previous phone was the N95 - which I loved. To be honest, when it came to upgrading, I was in two minds about keeping the phone and just changing tariff. However after 18 months of owning the phone, I'd knocked it around a fair bit and felt it was perhaps time to get a new phone.
I hadn't previously used a Samsung, I've been a Nokia girl for most of life, apart from a brief flirtation with Sony Ericson, but my sister had a slightly different Samsung model and seemed very pleased with it. My main reason for picking this Samsung model was the combination of a 5MP camera (which not many phones seem to have) and the fact it was a slide phone. The addition of a mini touch screen instead of buttons caught my interest. It was at a time when touch screen phones were starting to come out on the market and I was curious - I thought it would be a good chance to see how I liked this.
The phone itself:
Size - whilst smaller and flatter than my N95, I was surprised by the weight of this phone - if anything, it seemed heavier than the Nokia. It's certainly hard to forget it's presence in your handbag or your pocket!
Touch screen: This aspect of the phone was a new area for me, and whilst it works and does the job (apart from the fact it won't register if you are wearing gloves, so winter results in risking frostbite to use the phone), I can't say I felt it was a major selling point. On the other hand, it's not a major issue either.
Camera: To me, using the camera proved to be a little more tricky - mainly as I was used to the N95 where you could access the camera without having to slide the phone up or without having to access any menu. On the Samsung, you can set up a short cut via the touch screen or you can go through the menu. You can only use the camera if the phone has been slid up, meaning it can feel a little unwieldy. Saying that, there are some cool features on the camera which I certainly enjoyed. One of them is the mosaic option - using a set of different templates you can take lots of little photos which build into a bigger picture. Imagine if you like, the traditional holiday postcard, divided into four mini pictures of different scenery. You can recreate your own one of these using the mosaic function. There is a zoom on the camera but it's only digital and to be honest, not the best.
MP3 player: I use my phone a lot to listen to music with and so I want this aspect of the phone to be solid and user-friendly. There are some good points - i.e. it stores your music and lets you listen to it, the downsides quite frankly bought me down. The biggest is that Samsung have helpfully added some ringtones onto your phone for you. Nice of them - or so you'd think, but the ringtones are stored along with the music... and when you are listening to the music on shuffle, the ringtones are played just as the other mp3 files are. The ringtones are unhelpfully locked, so you can't delete or move them. I really really don't understand this... why do I want to listen to "bug song" after some Lady Gaga and before some Blondie. I don't....and the phone's inability to differentiate between the mp3 files and the ringtones is a big problem in my opinion. After talking to friends and family with Samsung phones, this seems to be a consistently annoying feature.
PC Connectivity: This is quite possibly the most frustrating part of the phone. The Samsung PC software is slow and not very user friendly. The multi-media editor - which in theory is meant to allow you to transfer your photos and music between phone and PC easily - is unwieldy, slow and to be honest, hard to use. Transferring one song takes 1-3 minutes depending on the length. If you want to transfer an album, make yourself a cup of tea. The Nokia software I used before was much quicker. The photos are just the same. What I found frustrating was if I only wanted to transfer a few photos from the phone to the PC, unless i knew what the images were named (the camera auto names them with a number), I have no way of viewing each image to check if it is the right one.
Anything else? The phone allows you to insert a micros SD memory card - I was able to use the same one from my N95, meaning that I didn't have to transfer any of my pictures or music between the phones. It has Bluetooth and the usual plethora of accessories such as calendar, converter, calculator etc.
Other small frustrations include only being able to store two phone numbers per person - only a minor detail since I don't know many people with more than two contact numbers but still a pain.
The socket for the charger is the same socket for the headphones - which means if you have your phone on charge, you can't listen to the radio. Honestly, for a phone company so intelligent, this was an incredibly stupid move in my opinion. I like to listen to the radio at night, but since I use my phone for my alarm, I can't risk the phone running out of battery overnight if I forget to turn the radio off before going to sleep - and yes, it has happened to me :D
The back of the phone proved very difficult to take off - although to be fair, it isn't something you need to do a lot, but still, it was a test of strength and endurance. Mind you, it did then prove easily knocked off and lost in a pub.
I suppose I ought to focus on the positives since I have done nothing but moan about the phone to date. What I did like was the ability to customize the layout of the phone menu, including the colours and background images. I also liked the size of the screen as I like phones with a large screen. It is 5.5 cm diagonal. One big attraction is the multiple alarms. You can set up to 5 different alarms - so at the moment I have my work alarm, for the same time every day Monday to Friday, and a different alarm for Sundays, when I go out to a gym class. It means you don't need to worry about changing your alarm for the weekend and then forgetting and sleeping in on Monday morning.
In essence, I can't help but think I was spoiled by my beloved N95 - and writing this review reminds me of it even more. I certainly would try other Samsungs, but not this model again.
Summary: Not a terribly bad phone but I wouldn't recommend it.
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