Samsung Armani Night Effect review

If you're more about blinging than working remotely, Samsung has teamed up with Emporio Armani for what they believe is the phone for you. But is it bling enough? We get some street cred to find out.

"Logo-tastic and offensive" was the response of the first person we asked what they thought of the phone. "Oh My God that's hideous", was another. In fact we struggled to find one person who actually thought the phone looked cool.

Why the fuss over the phone that is designed for "young consumers with active and fashionable lifestyles where music is an essential part of everyday life"?

Well the main design element to the Samsung Armani Night Effect mobile phone is the rather bright red, green or blue LED light that runs around the edge of the handset with words Emporio Armani shining out like a distress beacon. According to Samsung and Armani it's "inspired by the illuminating architecture of Tokyo's urban landscape". Whatever the inspiration, it's incredibly bright, incredibly "F*ck off-ish" and incredibly, well, chav.

Of course you can turn it off, but doing so kind of defeats the point doesn't it? And even if you do opt for a non-light fantastic experience you've got the Emporio Armani eagle in silver (that also hides the external speaker) that takes up half the phone's back. If this is up against your head you aren't going to be able to hide the fact that you are a fashion whore.

Okay so big logos and disco lights aside, the rather large phone offers a 2.2-inch QVGA AMOLED screen above a flush keypad that is actually very comfortable to use. It's got a real click-ability to it even though it's just one piece of metal and typing the T9 friendly buttons gives you the usual Samsung keytones that, given the chance, lets you pretend you are making music (yes you can turn it off).

Elsewhere the design offers a 3-megapixel camera on the back albeit without flash, 3.5mm jack for music, dedicated camera and music buttons (that light up) and a microSD card slot although not hot swappable.

Get past the design elements of the handset whether you like them or not and you get a fairly straightforward menu interface from Samsung. If you've used Samsung handsets before you won't have any scares here.

The rather basic home screen gives you five mini shortcuts to key apps or features, while the rest is accessed via the menu interface. Here users have the chance to customise the way the menu is displayed - grid where you can see everything or v-shaped where you have to scroll through applications. Apps are the usual array of internet browser, FM radio, applications folder, email, phonebook and camera.

The Night Effect offers HSDPA connectivity (3.6Mbps) so you can surf the web or check your email on the go fairly easily, however with such a small screen it’s difficult to navigate the web unless you are visiting sites that have been optimised for it. To help Samsung does offer a virtual pointer that can be controlled by clicking on the d-pad but it's not as smooth as its 8510i handset.

If all you're looking to do is check Twitter or maybe the football scores then the Night Effect’s internet performance is adequate.

As for the music player, the functions are similar to other Samsung offerings. It's a music player than works, however unlike other light offerings from handset makers like Sony Ericsson you can't turn the lights on to give you a true disco effect with the music. The hidden speaker is loud enough to annoy people on the train (we know, we were told) and you get sound effects such as pop, rock and classic to add extra "boom" to your music.

Verdict

While Samsung Armani Night Effect phone is well built, we found it rather offensive in its design. So we aren’t the target market and perhaps this flash-in-the-pan fashion phone will appeal to some.

For us, those bright lights mean that if unless you really want to show your love for the Armani label you'll probably want to look elsewhere.

"Those who love Emporio Armani also often love nightlife", said Giorgio Armani, or perhaps he should of said "Those who are happy to have our logo on their head should sign up here".