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Samsung SGH-F700 smartphone

iPhone insurrection quashed without incident

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Review With the world and his wife seemingly happy with either Symbian or Windows Mobile running their smartphones, any phone OS newcomer - especially one without an Apple logo slapped on it - has something of a hill to climb.

Samsung's new F700 actually has two mountains to tackle. The touchscreen UI makes for an obvious comparison with the iPhone - reviewed here - so it clearly needs to compete with that. But it also needs to convince those of us attached to our more workaday N95s and TyTns that moving to a smartphone with an alien OS isn't going to get us into a world of pain for the sake of some fancy packaging and trick stylus-less UI.

Samsung SGH-F700 mobile phone

Samsung's SGH-F700: a gentle nudge reveals a respectable keypad

On looks alone the F700 gets off to a good start. The glossy black handset measures up at 112 x 56 x 16mm and weighs 139g, making it broadly comparable to the iPhone and a tad larger than the LG Prada handset - reviewed here. Nudge the upper half to the right and a rather fine Qwerty keyboard is revealed, which explains the extra thickness over its two main rivals. Rather strangely, the unit comes with two different rear battery panel covers - a gloss black one which matches the front of the unit but really shows up fingerprints, and a matt black one that doesn't match and doesn't show prints.

The slide action of the handset is very smooth and nicely weighted, with a closing spring action that has enough force to ensure that it won't open accidentally when in use.

The Samsung's technical specification is hardly shabby either, coming loaded with tri-band GSM and HSDPA 3G good for 3.6Mb/s; a three-megapixel camera with flash; 100MB of shared memory; a Micro SD slot that'll take 4GB cards and comes complete with a 1GB card; A2DP Bluetooth stereo; a media player; and a messaging application that can handle IMAP4 and POP3 email. Plus there's all the expected subsidiary refinements we have come expect: a world clock, unit converter, web browser, voice recorder, document viewer, stopwatch and timer.

No Wi-Fi though, and perhaps less importantly no games, other than three demos. The Micro SD card can be hot-swapped, but you have to remove the rear battery cover to do so.

The Vodafone-branded test model we were supplied with also came pre-loaded with Google Maps, YouTube, MobileTV and a Java-based application called My Communities that allows access to the likes of Facebook, MySpace and Bebo along with such popular IM protocols as MSN Live, AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.

High performance access to file storage

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