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The Samsung SGH-i600, known as the Blackjack / i607 in the U.S, is a smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard (has keys like on a computer keyboard). The phone is a PDA style phone and often gets mistaken for a Blackberry, which is famous for the QWERTY keyboard. It definitely looks good and for the professional, which is the intention as it is intended as a business phone. I've dropped it many times with and without it being in a case so the phone is pretty tough.
On the front, it has a 2.3 inch screen and a lot of buttons underneath it, most of which makes up the keyboard. The number pad has been combined with the keyboard and although looks a bit strange, is quite easy to dial the correct numbers because the buttons with numbers are in gray. The buttons are quite small but there is a big enough gap between each button so it's not difficult to use. Moreover, the buttons for numbers are grouped so that there's actually two buttons for each number making it easier to dial a number. Either way, it's quick to get used to. I got it for free on a £35 / month Orange contract 18 months ago but the phone on its own used to cost between £200 and £300. It's more like £50 - £100 now though.
The phone runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 and at first, runs very speedily from screen to screen but as you have more programs open, it starts to slow down. One thing I don't like about the phone is that the programs don't actually 'exit' when you navigate away from them. They simply get minimized and run in the background until I either turn off the phone or end them using the Task Manager. I do find that the phone lags every now and again and it does get a bit irritating.
Something good about using Windows Mobile is that you can install new programs onto the phone. I've installed TomTom on the phone but was never able to configure it due to the lack of a touch screen. I needed to 'click' on something to connect to my GPS receiver but was not able to. I did try installing a mouse pointer onto the phone but that didn't work either so I gave up in the end.
Opening pictures is extremely slow though, which isn't very good. This includes pictures taken with the phone itself. Photo quality isn't great either.
The sound quality of voice calls is very good and I have no problems with it. The speakerphone however isn't as good. The loud speaker isn't that loud, although adequate for a phone conversation in a quiet room, there are other phones with better speakers. While in speakerphone mode, the person on the other end can usually tell that I'm on speaker phone. This may be because the microphone picks up the back ground noises as well but I've found that sometimes, the person on the other end needs me to repeat myself sometimes, which means they could have added better noise cancelling functions, if it has any at all that is. It has voice dialling but I've found that it misrecognises the person I'm trying to call over half the time so it's not very good.
CONNECTIVITY AND EXPANSION
It has 3G Internet connectivity (mobile broadband). This lets me browse the Internet on the phone, which is handy when out and about when bored or when I need to look up something. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's pretty slow when browsing pages on the phone, which has put me off using it for this purpose. Granted, speeds vary depending on the signal strength but even when it's actually in 3G mode, and not GPRS mode, it's still pretty slow on the phone. This may be due to the processing or graphics capabilities of the phone but that doesn't make it any better. It also supports HSDPA, which is the even faster mobile broadband connection but whenever I see the 'H' icon, it generally disappears soon after so I don't really get a chance to use it. Slow or not, having a Internet connection on this phone has been very useful to me. I often have my laptop with me and where there are no 'free' wireless hot spots, I would use my phone to connect to the Internet. I either use a USB cable or use Bluetooth to share my phone's Internet Connection with my laptop. Loading speeds are still a bit slow but faster than on the phone. Fastest download rate I've ever gotten is about 416Kbit/s (around 51 Kilo Bytes/s) on a 3G connection connected through the Bluetooth, which is not bad for a phone. Being a Smartphone, it also has built in WiFi, which is nice if there's a wireless access point when you're out and about or even at home so you don't have to pay for data transfers using the in-built 3G.
It supports MicroSD cards up to 2GB for storing files. I bought myself a 4GB MicroSD card but unfortunately, found that it didn't support it. This is a bit limited but better than nothing. I find expansion necessary as internal memory of 128 MB ROM and 64MB RAM is pretty low compared to more up-to-date phones.
Battery life is an important factor when it comes to mobile device since, what good is a mobile phone if the battery dies on you when you need it most? It's quoted with 4 hr 45 minutes talk time and 380 hrs standby time. For me, it lasts about two days from daily usage, which is about average for a smartphone. This is with Bluetooth on all the time and about 2 hours worth of talking. Leaving WiFi on, however, will drain the battery to less than a day, but I rarely use it. Mine did however, come with an extended battery. Unfortunately, it just about doubles the weight and size of the phone so after using it for so long, I went back to the standard one.
There are many accessories and mine even came with an extended battery although that increases the weight of the phone as well as doubling the width so I only used it for about 2 weeks before switching back to the standard battery. It comes with a wired hands free kit, USB cable and battery charger box that lets you charge a battery while the battery is not installed in the phone.
I unlocked the phone, de-branded (to get rid of the Orange network software) and updated the ROM to Windows Mobile 6.0. This made the interface nicer and added some features but sort of made the phone slower. The Bluetooth, although still worked seemed slower for certain file transfers and made talking on a Bluetooth headset impossible as the people on the other end can never hear me. I do regret upgrading but I have a new phone now so doesn't matter.
Using it as a phone, it works great. Voice quality is good even though the speaker isn't great. Using it as Smartphone is a bit slow and the lack of a touch screen limits its uses but it is still pretty flexible as you can install a multitude of programs. Battery life is also not too shabby for a smart phone. It doesn't lack connectivity options and navigation is generally okay but there a many newer phones out now so I would not be able to recommend this one. The Samsung SGH-i780, which looks similar to the i600 is out and it has a touch screen so that may be worth considering as well as the fully touch screen phones that are out.
Thanks for reading.