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Preview: Helio Drift

Body Interface Location Comments  33  

Nov 10, 2006, 2:50 PM   by Eric Lin

A hands-on preview of the Samsung Drift for Helio, including a demo of Google Maps with LBS and more.

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Helio's first two phones were easy to spot from far away - they were models no one had seen in the States before - or since. The Drift is not quite as unique. People probably will not spot you as a Helio user from across the room - unless you have the white or you are using the phone and the screen is on.

The Drift is small rectangle with sides that bulge out slightly so the phone fits more comfortably in the hand. It is a has the familiar shape as many Samsung sliders have a very similar form. While it is certainly thinner than previous Helio handsets, and at least as thin as modern CDMA phones, it not as thin as Samsung's 800 series sliders on T-Mobile or Cingular. And the Drift looks and feels very small. It doesn't take up much space in your hand or your pocket, especially for a feature-packed phone with a QVGA screen.

Although the Drift is entirely plastic, it feels solid. There are no creaks or apparent weaknesses. The slide is smooth and a has a spring assist for a nice snap open or closed.

Helio talked Samsung into changing the navigation keys into a more interesting, and very usable layout. The navigation and number keys have a good feel. They are not hard to press and have a nice click to them. The D-pad is initially stiffer. It is still easy to press but doesn't offer as much of click feeling. The center select button is tiny considering the size of the D-pad and a bit stiff. Sometimes, even when resting your thumb in the hollow of the D-pad where the select key sits, it is not that easy to press.



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Nov 12, 2006, 10:21 PM

Eric, is it possible to upload "your own mp3 ringtones" to Drift?

Just out of curiosity, as far as I know, you could not upload your own mp3 ringtones to Hero nor Kickflip.
Thanks in advance.
i believe that's still impossible. i haven't found a way to do it, not even a work-around.

Nov 17, 2006, 12:14 AM

bogus battery life

I've had my Drift for just a few days now and the biggest red flag so far is the battery life. It got shipped to me around noon the day I got it. I plugged it in shortly after, fully charged it (took less than an hour), and then proceeded to goof around surfing the web and playing with the GPS. By 10 PM, the battery was nearly dead.

So I charge it up overnight and bring it to work. The second day of my dear Drift's life saw just moderate text messaging, less than 30 minutes of talking, and a few minutes of entering in some of my phone numbers. Due to a busy day, I didn't have much time to do anything else with it and yet again, it was completely dead at the end of the day.

I don't know about you but I'm used to getting a solid two days...
on the first day, i didn't even get a chance to charge mine. it was at about 75% out of the box. that lasted at least two days of heavy use including lots of buddy beacon and google maps. i recharged again and use the drift infrequently. it lasted at ...

Nov 23, 2006, 11:38 AM

GPS Questions

Hey Drift-ers,

I have a few questions before I buy. Thanks in advance!

1) Is the accuracy of the GPS comparable to that of a stand-alone GPS device? How is quality affected in the city or inside a building? Could I pinpoint where on a city block I was?

2) Can you see your raw latitude and longitude?

3) Now this is a long shot: does anyone know how the you could expose your GPS coordinates to a third-party website or application on the phone? Could anyone write a program like Google did and put it on the phone?

I called Helio's customer service before I bought my Drift and asked them similar questions. Because I wasn't a customer yet, they wouldn't transfer me to tech support to answer my nerdier questions.

My first question was whether you could use the ...

Nov 21, 2006, 11:51 PM

Web Browser?


I was wondering what your initial impressions of the Web Browser... I'm a Sidekick3 user, and one of the main reasons I use the fone are for its web-browsing features^^;

I stopped by a Helio dealer today, (they didn't have a drift) and played w/ a hero to see if I would be willing to pay the $200 cancellation fee w/ T-mobile in order to get a Drift....

Unfortuantely... I found it slow, and impractical... I don't mind WAP only, but the fact that I have to exit the browser to do ANYTHING else on the fone really kills it for me... The SK3 isn't the GREATEST Multi-tasker, but I can switch between processes really easily, without having to stop one in order to do another..

Did samsung improve anything? Is it any snappier? are yo...
My experience with the web browser has been mixed. First of all, "lightning fast" (quoted from Helo's site) is still a vast exaggeration but I'm going to assume it's as fast as any other "3G" network.

So far, I haven't been able to access any form ...

Nov 14, 2006, 6:58 PM

The MP3 player...

With the Hero you can only listen to a stored mp3 while in the player app, but with most phones I've used you can listen to a song while reading a text, or checking the calender, or doing pretty much anything. The mp3 plays in the background. how is it with the drift?

(sorry for all the questions, these have been keeping me up at night!)
it took me long enough. i have good news and bad news to report about the music player setup.

first the bad news, because it answers your question. The only thing you can do while the media player is playing is send or view text messages. you canno...

Nov 14, 2006, 6:53 PM

About the driving direction...

So since it's not "real-time" location updating, like say my tom-tom, when you get directions is it more like using google maps from a pc?
yes. only you can ask it to recalculate the route if you miss a turn. you just have to manually force that. you also have to manually scroll from turn to turn.

Nov 14, 2006, 6:50 PM

External stereo speakers?

The Hero has a pretty impressive set of stereo speakers that i use a lot (mostly in the shower😛) i was wondering if the drift has ext speakers? and if so, they any good?
It has stereo speakers.

Nov 13, 2006, 7:00 AM


Are you guys going to be doing a video on this phone? Your videos really helped when choosing between the Kickflip and Hero.. Now I'm deciding on the Drift or the Fusic... I'm leaning more toward the drift though. :-p
Invader J

Nov 11, 2006, 3:48 PM

"finally" able to...?


Just wondering, when you mention things like:

"Also the Drift is finally able to read mp3s, movies and pictures you load on the device yourself by using mass storage mode."

What exactly do you mean by "finally" - what are you comparing the Drift to? On my Hero, I have tons of movies music and photos on both my MiniSD card and the internal memory.. also, the Hero has always had the option to auto-save photos you take...

Thanks for all the great pics!
probably reffering to the same phone, except that when the phone was unveiled and tested the first time, it didn't have those features enabled yet...

Nov 11, 2006, 7:33 PM

Is this review incomplete?

i've only managed to get to the "location" tab, am i missing something, or is the article really incomplete? 👀
nevermind this thread, just read it's a PREVIEW...

Nov 11, 2006, 12:38 AM

i guess white is no good

on your pic with the black and white drift, the white one has no signal vs. the black with a few bars...

i guess white one is bad for all i know 🤣
🤣 🤣 🤣 That's really funny 🙂
the white drift pictured is not a production model. it was a semi-working sample. helio has been working with samsung to get the color and feel of the white plastic right. the two will be the same when they're available for sale, don't fear.
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