Samsung Moment review

3 out of 5
price dependent on contract

For

AMOLED screen, speed, simplicity will appeal to the inner geek in you

Against

Design, slide-out keyboard, lack of customisation

The spec sheet suggests that the Samsung Moment, available on Sprint in the USA should be one of the best Android-powered handsets out there, with its AMOLED screen, fast processor and the "now" network. But can its specs live up to the dream? Read on to find out.

To say that the Samsung Moment is big would be an understatement; to say that it was ugly: a fairer statement; to say it is fast: that much is true. That's pretty much the best way to describe the new Android 1.5 smartphone, because whilst it's one of the fastest Android handsets we've tested, it's also one of the most unpolished in terms of "wow" factor t.

The decline and fall of the handset starts with the design. A landscape slider, the unit measures a rather bloated 4.6 x 2.34 x .63in and weighs a hefty 160 grams (5.6oz). A brick (Mrs Pocket-lint's words not ours) is probably the politest way to describe it.

The rather impressive 3.2-inch AMOLED 320 x 480-pixel screen holds its own on the front of the unit offering up not only an array of touch-sensitive and physical buttons beneath but a gaudy strip at the top.

Sliding out to the side of the left screen is a QWERTY keyboard while the right offers a dedicated camera button, voice control and the Mini-USB socket. There's also a 3.5mm socket covered by a bit of plastic that will break within 3 weeks and the standard volume keys.

Slide open that keyboard and you'll hurt your eyes, especially if it's dark. Looking like a beehive honeycomb, the keys are laid out over four rows with the numbers getting their own dedicated row.

That means that Samsung has crammed the rest of the keyboard over the next three. The end result is that the spacebar is in-between the "V" and "B" something that is very off putting and unconformable for the touch typists amongst you. You might not realise it but you know where the keys are on a keyboard and throwing in random space bars for us just doesn't work.

All this pales in significance however if you use it in the dark. The keyboard handily lights up, however all the function keys (there is one for every key) glow a strong blue. Confusing isn't the word.

Back to the top side of the device and the touch sensitive buttons under the screen offer the usual home, menu and back features found on most Android handsets. Beneath that there is a call answer and hang up button and between those a touch-sensitive optical trackpad (like that found on other Samsung handsets and the BlackBerry Bold 9700). The touchpad is actually one of the cooler elements of the handset as it allows you scroll through menus, icons on the screen or the web pages without touching the screen.

The only other tech on the outside is the 3.2-megapixel camera with flash. With Samsung dominating the megapixel race (it's up to 12 megapixels) we're surprised to see only a 3.2-megapixel offering and at the current state of play it looks like Sony Ericsson will be the purveyor of high pixel cameras for the platform with the Xperia X10 sporting 8 megapixels.

Connectivity is served by Sprint's Dual-Band EVDO Rev. A 800/1900MHz offering and you'll get Wi-Fi b and g along side Bluetooth. There is also GPS in case you get lost.

Power up the phone and that 800MHz chip running Android 1.5 is fast. Even though we've played with a 1GHz Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 (pre-production) the Samsung Moment appears (currently) to be faster.

One of the reasons for this, is that like the i7500 released in the UK, the Samsung Moment has no customisation what so ever. No Sense UI, no Motoblur, no Nexus UX - Samsung might have embraced the Android platform, but it hasn't done anything to enhance the experience above and beyond what Google has offered in the OS. In fact, beyond the big silver Samsung logo on the front and the second one on the back there is no trace of the Korean manufacturer.

As for Sprint, that's a different matter. As an exclusive handset it gets an even bigger silver logo above the screen and the usual array of Sprint flavoured applications like SprintTV, Sprint Navigation (Google Maps Navigation is only available for 1.6 and 2.0 based devices at present), and Nascar Sprint Cup (all as found on the Sprint HTC Hero).

As for the rest of the applications, well it's the usual story. The usual suspects are installed - Amazon MP3, Gmail, and Google Maps, with a further 10,000 available in Marketplace. All this software or data that you create can be stored on the phone's own internal 288MB of memory or an external microSD card, you get 2GB in the box.

Phone time is around 5 hours from a single charge, while the battery lasted the usual day in our tests, but is heavily dependent on what you do. Use it like a laptop and it will last like one.

 

Verdict

The Samsung Moment really is one of those handsets that looks so much better on paper than in real life. The specs suggest this will be a monster, and in fairness in performance it is. The trouble is that it is incredibly dull both in its software offering and its design. This makes the T-Mobile G1 look good and that's saying something.

It might be more powerful and faster than the HTC Hero from Sprint, however unless you are ready to be mocked by your friends when your phone rings we would avoid this from a street cred point of view at all costs.

That said, if you have no friends or don't care, you can't (currently) get much faster than this.