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printed October 21, 2014
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Samsung's Style Phones 2007

Intro Armani Serenata i550 Gleam G800 * Comments  13  

Serenata is the newest fruit of Samsung's partnership with Bang & Olufsen. Much like the Armani partnership, Samsung is hoping that some of Bang & Olufsen's cachet as a high-end luxury brand rubs off on the Samsung brand.

The first B&O phone - Serene - was generally seen as an experiment in industrial design; a beautiful phone concept, but difficult to take seriously as a real product. The Serenata is different. It's far from perfect, but I expect there is a real market for this product among B&O afficianados.

 

Serenata

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To simply call the Serenata a "music phone" wouldn't do it justice. The phone actually includes a large, loud, very high-quality speaker for listening to music out loud. It includes a small flip-out stand. Sliding up the speaker and setting it on a table, you actually have a small standalone stereo system that not only fills a room with great-sounding music, but fits in your pocket. The high-quality speaker has also been optimized as a speakerphone for conference calls. And of course it's a great-sounding phone.

Putting all of that together, the Serenata will definitely be worth a look for some business executives looking for a luxury phone. If you have an assistant to handle your email, but you want a great portable speakerphone for meetings, plus great music in your hotel room, the Serenata might be for you.

 

Serenata UI

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The two major drawbacks are size and usability. The Serenata is not a small phone. Once you learn the quirks of the scroll wheel and partial touch screen, the UI is decent, (for a phone without a real keypad,) it just has a steep learning curve. Text input is a major chore using the scroll wheel. You can choose from groups of letters and use T9 to speed things up, but it's not the kind of elegant solution Nokia came up with for their scroll-wheel text input on their fashion phones. The UI is quite pretty, though, as you would expect from B&O design.

The Serenata also sports 3G (HSDPA) but no camera, so it's not designed to be an everything-phone, just a really, really good music phone.

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