Samsung S8300 Ultra Touch GSM/UMTS phone review.
Samsung S8300 Ultra Touch GSM/UMTS phone review.
The Ultra series has been around for several generations, to be precise, the Samsung S8300 is the fourth generation in this series and is also the company's flagship in 2009. It must be admitted that the Ultra line, which was originally interpreted as just a series of thin devices, later began to be positioned as phones that incorporated all the latest technologies with the maximum combination of them. Sales of the flagships from this line were good, sometimes almost maximum, as was the case with the Samsung U600, which had a serious drawback in the form of sensors, but attracted attention with its design.
Samsung has never been afraid to experiment with changing the functionality in its flagships, often the transition from one model to another was not painless, the models were positioned for a different audience, different users. The Samsung D900 and its update Samsung D900i have become almost legendary for Samsung. Having entered the market in the fall of 2006, it generated good sales even then, and the fact that it can still be found in stores today indicates a maximum life cycle, which is so uncharacteristic of Samsung products. It is a rare case when my impressions of the device were more negative than positive, but the market put everything in its place. Model D900 became a bestseller, well, no one is immune from mistakes. On the other hand, the forecast of maximum sales of products similar in design, but with a significantly lower cost, was fully justified. Even the ratio of sales of these models turned out to be very close.
Many Samsung D900 buyers have not changed this device yet, they have upgraded their batteries at most. Why did they stay true to this decision? The reason is that the design of the Samsung U600 was focused more on the youth audience, plus the presence of sensors made the device different in perception. The third flagship in the line – Samsung U900 Soul – was unusual due to the display instead of the navigation key, too radical for Samsung D900 users. So it turns out that there was no adequate replacement for this device for them. If someone thinks that now is the time to write that the Samsung S8300 is a deliverance for thousands of Samsung D900/D900i owners and was created for them, then they are wrong. This is another radical step forward, a bold development of different concepts, combining them into one flagship product.
It should be noted that often people understand the word "flagship" as a kind of device that should have resounding sales, be the best in every sense and in all markets. This is not at all the case, the flagship is the most significant model for the company, its hero, as they are often called. In fact, what the company is proud of. But it is by no means a fact that such a model will have some significant sales. Treat flagships as a kind of icon, a company statement. Sometimes it hits the bull's-eye, as happened with the Samsung D900, and the product turns into a legend. Sometimes the flagship is forgotten after a while. There is no automatic guarantee that the flagship will, despite huge advertising, PR support, be a significant product in the ledger lines that count phone sales. Let's take a look at four generations of the Ultra line, all of the company's flagships in recent years.
The D900 exploited the idea of a thin body and was one of the first devices with a 3-megapixel camera. The Samsung U600 offered a mirror design of the body, literally mercury, and the absence of hardware soft keys, they were made touch-sensitive. The model fully reflected the trends of that time, the fashion for sensors, which turned out to be fleeting, which is for the best. In the Samsung U900, the main features are the use of metal in the construction, plus a navigation touch screen. In each of the models, the manufacturer also increased functionality, it was close to the maximum among mass models, not smartphones. The next step is obvious – to offer in the flagship what is the trend in the market today. Try to guess what it could be? Definitely a touch screen. I will make a bold statement that the flagships in the Ultra line are always a mirror of current trends in the market, a reflection of what is popular among users. Hence the prefix Touch in the name of the model, which has already been used a huge number of times by various manufacturers, and is actively exploited by HTC. You can call these models opportunistic, a test of the pen, reflecting the aspirations of potential buyers, fashion trends. I don't know of any manufacturer capable of producing phones according to such a concept, but also presenting them correctly to customers, so that models always have good sales. Someone has more, someone has less, but there were no frankly weak, failed devices. Let me give as an example LG KF700, a model shown about a year ago at the World Mobile Congress, which appeared in retail, with interesting design themes, and unusual positioning. A kind of response to the Samsung U900 Soul, which turned out to be unknown, sunk into oblivion as soon as advertising support disappeared. You need to have not only technology on board, but also the right positioning. Otherwise, success is by no means guaranteed.
Comparison with Samsung U900 Soul:
Samsung is working seriously on the positioning of devices, as a result – the models hit the target exactly. And here the question arises: who is the S8300 Ultra Touch intended for? An analysis of the characteristics of this model will show the absence of direct competitors, although LG will have something similar, but this company does not count, it is not capable of creating a serious threat to Samsung. Walks in the wake, creating similar products to bite off your piece of the pie and nothing more. For example, the LG KS660 is a model that has no chance of any significant sales at all, a niche product released as a copy of the Samsung D980 Duos. A sort of budget option. So it will be with copying the flagship from Samsung.
The absence of direct analogues on the market does not mean a cloudless life for the product. The elusive Joe is not elusive because he is so fast, he is simply not needed by anyone. Can this happen with Samsung S8300? It is unlikely, since the model will attract those who are looking for the very best, used to acquiring the latest and, most importantly, fashionable novelties. The age range is from 20 to 35 years, there is no difference by gender, about 50 to 50. But for the first time in the company, a stand-in is released for a product of this class, a model that will hit the audience of those who are looking for a replacement for their Samsung D900/D900i. That is why the company deviated from the rule to show the update of the lineup on the same day, on the opening day of the World Mobile Congress. The launch of the S8300 a week earlier is intended to draw attention to the flagship and set it off.On the opening day of WMC, February 16, 2009, we will offer you a full comparison of the S8300 in its stand-in review, don't forget to visit us. Until that moment, the second model, which will become the most popular in its segment, one of Samsung's key products in 2009, will remain a mystery. It is difficult to consider these models separately, since they make up an explicit pair, but we will try to do this and atone for the understatement of this review in the next article.
Comparison with Sony Ericsson W910:
The keyboard is painted in the color of the case, as well as the back. All this splendor is visible only in the open state. The device has an automatic finishing mechanism, it does not work very smoothly, the halves obviously lack a run-up, they move apart without the usual lightness for Samsung products. But there are no significant problems either. It is convenient to open the device only by resting your finger on the screen, otherwise you have to specially transfer the emphasis to the lower edge of the upper part, which is terribly inconvenient. Yes, the screen gets dirty more because of this, but to Samsung's credit, it should be noted that the display and the entire front of the device are not very dirty, grease stains are almost invisible. There is a metal insert around the screen, a thin bezel, this is all the metal in the case. Everything else is made of plastic, which is frankly frustrating compared to previous models, where metal was not stingy. The plastic is matte, wear-resistant, familiar from the same Samsung D900, U600, and therefore amenable to abrasion or, more correctly, rubbing. Small scratches accumulate, as a result, wear on the case appears. They rush into the eyes after you take a closer look at the device. But this is one of the disadvantages of the model, and of many current devices. The body does not wear out quickly, thanks for that. I hope that with careful handling the device will last for at least six months.
There is a twin volume rocker on the left side, as well as a microphone hole. On the right side, behind a plastic cap, there is a microUSB connector, it is used to connect to a PC, charge, use with a headset. There is no separate headphone output (3.5 mm) in the device. Separately, I would like to note that all accessories from Nokia products perfectly match this model. Also on this side there is a screen lock key, it would be more interesting to make it in the form of a slider, that is, a mechanical switch. The button is sometimes arbitrarily pressed, then the screen starts to respond to touch, in a pocket it is not always good. The camera key needs no introduction.
The camera, LED flash, mirror are on the back of the device, they are not visible when closed. Above the display, you can see the front camera for video calls, as well as the ambient light indicator.
Just a few words about build quality. It is good, not perfect, because ideals do not exist. Quite at the level of other sliders from Samsung, made of plastic. Here, understand as you wish, this is not Aesopian language for leveling some shortcomings, but simply a statement of fact. If you like the way Samsung's sliders are put together, you'll love this one. If you don't like it, then this one won't work for you. It's simple, isn't it?
The screen diagonal is 2.8 inches, it is widescreen, the resolution is 240×400 pixels (36×62 mm, AMOLED, 16M). The difference between the display and the Samsung M8800 Pixon is noticeable to the naked eye, the latter has a diagonal of 3.2 inches, but the TFT matrix, it loses a lot both in color reproduction and in brightness. It is enough to put two devices side by side, and the advantage of the S8300 will become obvious. Today it is one of the best screens on the market. Such words have become de facto familiar to new models from Samsung, which are released annually. That's what it means to have your own display division.
All data input to the phone is carried out using a touch screen, it is built on the basis of capacitive touch screen technology. Unlike traditional touch screens, there is no grid of sensors, the surface is covered with a special oxide that reacts to finger pressure. An electrical potential difference is required, otherwise the sensor will not work. Accordingly, the control of the stylus is not provided, as well as other items. You can use the phone with gloves only if you use the hardware buttons, you can no longer type a short message.
The advantages of the technology include the use of either plastic or glass screen protection, the display is better shielded than in conventional touch panels (in the device under consideration there is a protective "glass" made of plastic). Also, the amount of pollution on the screen does not matter, it will still respond to pressing. The display is slightly recessed into the case, the edge is almost not felt, but this avoids problems if you put the device on the surface face down.
Samsung devices also use VibeZ technology – when you press the keys, the body vibrates, which confirms your action.
Up to 14 lines of text and up to three service lines fit on the screen. In message reading mode, this can be up to 24 lines, depending on the chosen font. The side keys are used to scroll the text on the screen, it cannot be scaled, unlike the same PIXON. For the screen in the settings, you can choose the size and font style. Another thing is that, unlike many models, the screen font is huge here, it can be read without difficulty from any distance. This is a plus of the device.
The screen fades in the sun, it becomes less visible, but outperforms the same M8800 Pixon. The main advantage of a large diagonal and higher resolution is the ease of viewing long lists and scrolling them.
There is a built-in motion sensor, it allows you to rotate the display in applications, for example, when viewing photos.
The phone uses an 880 mAh lithium-ion battery. According to the manufacturer, it is able to provide up to 4 hours of talk time, up to 300 hours of standby time. Under the conditions of European networks, the device worked on average for about 2 days with 60 minutes of calls, several messages a day, minimal use of mail, up to three hours of radio or music. For those who constantly use mail and the web, this device will be able to give only one day of work. In general, you should count on one or two days of work, the device is not capable of more. The extended battery is not available for this machine. The time to fully charge the battery is almost two hours.
USB, Bluetooth, connectivity.
Bluetooth. The model supports various profiles, in particular, Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, Basic Printing, A2DP. Bluetooth version 2.1, EDR supported. Working with headsets does not raise any questions, everything is ordinary.
USB connection. In the menu, you can select one of three possible modes of operation: Media, Mass Storage, Samsung PC Studio. The modem mode is not provided for the device, there is no corresponding setting in PC Studio, as well as drivers. I hope that they will appear later.
In USB Mass Storage mode, the device is perfectly picked up without additional drivers, you can copy the necessary data. USB version – 2, data transfer rate – about 1200 Kb / s.
When connecting to a PC, simultaneous operation of USB and Bluetooth is not allowed, the device requires Bluetooth to be turned off regardless of the current state (whether there is a connection and transmission or not), this is extremely inconvenient.
When connected via USB, the device is charged.
Class 10 EDGE is provided for GSM networks.
Memory, memory cards.
The phone has 90 MB of built-in memory, almost all of it is available to the user initially (carrier versions – about 75 MB). Memory card – can be viewed both separately and in the general list, which shows files both from the card and from the phone's memory. There is a file manager that allows you to copy files both from the card and to it. Memory cards are not hot swappable. We've tested microSD cards up to 32 GB and everything works without problems.
Memory cards are inside the case, you need to remove the battery to install them.
The disadvantages of the interface include the slow speed of copying information from the device's memory to the card. The process is slow, it takes about 7 minutes to transfer 50 MB.
Performance is not amazing, everything is typical for the latest generation of devices from Samsung, but there are a few atypical features. The phone supports multitasking for Java, you can not only end the application, but also minimize it. There is no separate task manager, you can only call the application again from the menu, on the contrary, an icon is shown in the line that the application is active. In the network connection settings, you can set various types, including specifying a background connection for Java applications. This allows you to keep the IM client and a number of other applications in the background (we have up to 8 applications). 3D JSRs are supported, including all JBenchmark tests. For Samsung, this is a big step up from the limited Java support in previous models. Also, from now on, applications can be installed not only over the air, but also from the phone’s memory, from the card. One JAR file is enough. Java file size limit – 1 MB.
The model is not a photographic solution, it is also a photo solution.
The camera has the following characteristics:
CMOS module, 8 megapixels, 1/3.2" size Digital zoom x4, no optical zoom LED flash Macro mode – from 10 centimeters Face Detection/Smile Mode ISO – 100, 200, 400,800, 1600 F=2.6mm.
The camera interface is horizontal, all options are selected from the screen by simply clicking on the icons, they are large, it is convenient to work with the camera due to this. Screen visibility remains good in all conditions.
The phone has a built-in GPS-receiver, you can turn on the geotagging mode, then each photo will receive the corresponding data.
We will consider the Face Link mode in the description of the photo browser, where it is more appropriate. There is an image stabilizer, when it works, ISO selection is blocked.
The camera supports the following resolutions:
3264×2448 2560×1920 2048×1536 1600×1200 640×480 3264×1960 (wide) 20481232 (wide) 400×240 (wide)
Single shot Multi-shot Frame shot Mosaic shot Panorama shot Smile shot Portrait Landscape Sports Indoor Beach Sunset Dawn Waves and snow Nightshot Against light Fireworks Text.
Auto Daylight Incandescent Fluorescent Cloudy.
Black and white Sepia Negative Watercolour Emboss Outline.
There is a separate macro mode.
In the menu, you can select a special mode for capturing text, but even in automatic mode, the phone handles this type of capturing well.
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The maximum light sensitivity level is 1600, it is not clear why such a value in a mobile phone camera, but it is exactly that. If you shoot in good lighting conditions, noise becomes clearly noticeable at a value of 400 and above. Naturally, with.