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CTIA 2009

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Samsung Nokia E71x First Look  

Mar 31, 2009, 8:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman & Rich Brome
updated Apr 3, 2009, 8:01 PM

Live from the CTIA show in Las Vegas. Hands-on with new phones from Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, Kyocera Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, and Nokia, plus office software for iPhone and a sat phone.

Instinct S30

The new Samsung Instinct S30 for Sprint isn't quite the "Instinct 2" or "Instinct Mini" that some were hoping for, but it does improve upon the original Instinct in a few key ways.

First, what's the same: almost everything. It's the same size. The interface is mostly the same. The specs and feature list are nearly identical. 2-megapixel camera, resistive touch display... it's like deja vu.

Oddly, it steps down from EVDO Rev. A to EVDO Rel. 0. We're not sure why. This might be offset by a few minor improvements such as supporting memory cards up to 32 GB.

 

Samsung Instinct S30

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The design is the biggest change. The new S30 body is more rounded, and just feels better in your hand all around. Whereas the original Instinct tended to feel light and cheap, the new S30 manages to feel both light and high-quality. The new model will also be available in two dark and relatively tasteful colors from the start.

On the software side, the new model now comes with Opera Mini (which is not quite as nice as Opera Mobile, but still worlds better than the standard Instinct browser.) Oddly, they've buried Opera deep in a "Fun & Games" folder, instead of the more sensible "Web" menu.

The S30 also comes with calendar sync and instant messaging out of the box.

The bigger news is the new Java APIs, which will allow developers to build richer applications. It seems Sprint is getting more serious about growing Instinct into a series of phones with a platform that developers might actually want to build apps for. The new APIs cover functions such as multimedia, messaging, Bluetooth, Contacts, Calendar, and the filesystem.

This will allow developers to build more powerful apps, closer to the kind available for true smartphones. What's more, Sprint will be requiring these APIs on all new Java-capable phones going forward. Sprint will also update original Instincts to support the new APIs.

When the original Instinct came out, it was frustratingly slow. We're happy to report that this issue has been addressed; the new Instinct S30 is a fairly speedy device. It responded to touches quickly and with smooth animation.

The Instinct S30 will go on sale in all major channels on April 19.

Here is a video tour:



Propel Pro i627

The Propel Pro is an odd duck. It's a device that sounds great on paper, but in real life, has a few issues that hold it back.

Imagine a Propel, but with upgraded specs and Windows Mobile Standard (the non-touch version.) Or, imagine a Blackjack II in a slider form factor. To a lot of people, that sounds pretty great.

 

Samsung Propel Pro i627

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Indeed, there is a lot to like. The QWERTY keyboard is quite good, and it sports WiFi and a 3-megapixel auto-focus camera.

However, it's quite blocky and thick. It's small, so it will fit in most any pocket, but the thickness and sharp corners mean it won't fit comfortably in you pocket.

The second major drawback is the joystick. The industry has clearly moved away from joysticks in general, in favor of d-pads and trackballs, and for good reason. Yet for some reason, Samsung has gone retro with the Propel Pro by making a cheap-feeling joystick the only way to navigate the menus.

Still, for those who want Windows Mobile, and don't want a touch screen, the Propel Pro is definitely an interesting option. There's nothing else like it on the US market.



Impression a877

The Impression offers both a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging, which is pretty much the best of both worlds.

The hardware is really solid. It has a nice feel in the hand, with rounded edges and a soft-touch paint job. It is a little bit on the large size, but it doesn't weigh all the much. There are three buttons on the front, and a bevy of buttons and hatches ringing the outside edge of the Impression.

 

Samsung Impression A877

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The slider mechanism felt strong. It has a little bit of spring assistance to it and the slider popped up nicely. The QWERTY keyboard has a nice feel to it. The buttons are well space and well defined. I liked the travel and feedback.

The Impression uses the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. We didn't notice and notable differences between TouchWiz on the Impression compared to other TouchWiz phones on hand. The UI was repsonsive to the touch, and the display looked excellent (but not as good as the Omnia HD).

In the Impression, you get a 3G device that gives you the power of touch for most basic features, with the option of using the real keyboard for serious message composition. It is a solid offering from Samsung.

Here is a video tour of the Impression:



Mondi

The Mondi is Samsung's new WiMAX device. It's not a phone, so we won't go into depth on it, but we know some of you are curious, so here's a video tour of the Mondi:

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Comments

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Subject Author Date
Why the S30 takes a step down in the REV network orangeslash Apr 8, 2009, 4:21 PM
Pretty Lame? TheNurseWhoLovedMe Apr 3, 2009, 2:07 AM
PALM PRE!!! Kayslay34 Apr 3, 2009, 3:27 PM
In the video comparing the e71 and the e71x... Farris917 Apr 1, 2009, 5:49 PM
Touchwhiz app store icarushorizon Apr 2, 2009, 5:28 PM
LOOKS LIKE.. ronan_gt3 Apr 1, 2009, 4:04 PM
which would you choose? ronan_gt3 Mar 31, 2009, 9:33 PM
 
 
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