Samsung SGH-F700 smartphone
iPhone insurrection quashed without incident
Overall, the touchscreen UI works well, finger-sweeps allowing you move about with ease. To activate a menu function a pretty deliberate second 'push' is required, making accidental activation of a function a rarity.
When in good old-fashioned 'phone mode', the virtual keyboard works well with both dialling and texting. The handset comes with T9 predictive text, proving straightforward and error-free messaging. Of course, for serious text input you can always slide out the keyboard. Using the virtual keyboard, or indeed any part of the touchscreen UI, can be accompanied by either an adjustable volume beep and/or a variable degree of handset vibration - VibeTonz Technology, no less. This comes in handy when navigating web pages, letting you know for sure that the system has acknowledged your screen tap.
Welcome to Croix, ladies and gentlemen
The slide-out keyboard is a cracking bit of design and manufacture, pleasant to the touch and with a decent action, each key-depress being accompanied by a muted click. The quality of the keyboard rather highlights the lack of a word processor application. Sure you can type up a storm, but emails aside there is nothing to actually type onto, memos being restricted to 100 characters.
The included Samsung software package allows pretty painless synchronisation with Outlook and the F700 copied across data from our contacts book and calendar without any drama beyond the fact that some of the more extraneous data fields from our contacts didn't make it to the Samsung's address book.
The built-in HTML browser is pretty run of the mill and won't challenge the iPhone's Safari browser for Best in Show. When the browser is running the side Volume keys can be used to zoom in and out towards (or away from) the top left-hand corner of the web page on view - a tacit admission that the touchscreen isn't quite up to snuff for web browsing. Movement about the web page was rather slow and clunky compared to the iPhone, making browsing a somewhat less than fulfilling pastime. The only way to change the screen from portrait to landscape is by sliding out the keyboard.
The media player works well enough, though video isn't quite as bright nor audio quite as punchy as it is on Samsung's latest generation of audio players such as the YP-2P - reviewed here. The audio player lacks anything in terms of EQ adjustment, which is disappointing. One little bug with the audio player is that when accessed via the shortcut menu, the audio player key takes you to the last track played and not the main music player menu. To get to this you have to backtrack and access the player via the main menu.
File support is restricted to MPEG 4, WMV and H.263/4 video, and MP3, WMA and AAC audio. The audio player is a little short of, well, visual pizzazz. Despite all that screen acreage to play with, all you get is the Croix bars moving across the screen, the vertical bar moving across the screen to illustrate where in the song you are, and horizontal moving up and down according to volume level. The only interesting thing about this is that you can press down on the intersection of the crosses and change the volume and skip about through the track simultaneously. All well and good, but it looks just a little a Plain Jane when compared to the various 'now playing' screen options on the YP-P2.