Review: Samsung u550
There are two displays on the u550. The exterior display is about one square inch. It is just large enough to show you the time, date and service level indicators. Because of the glossy finish over it and the proclivity of that surface to attract finger oils, the screen was often difficult to read outdoors. Even under cloudy skies, without any sun present, outdoor light always seemed to obscure the screen a bit. In comparison, the internal display was much better at surviving sun glare. It is nice and bright, and the resolution (176 x 220) is just high enough that you don't notice any rough edges to icons or images on the screen. Colors looked dead on.
As with many Verizon phones, the u550 has two signal strength indicators. One for 1xRTT, and one for EV-DO. Each goes up to a full-strength of four bars. In our time with the u550, the EV-DO indicator never had more than two bars of signal strength. We know that the area we tested the phone is blanketed with strong EV-DO coverage (my laptop has 5 full bars of EV-DO coverage as I write this), so there's something about the u550's internal antenna that is keeping it from latching onto the full signal that's available. The 1x indicator fluctuated between two and three bars, but rarely reached four bars. In the NJ vault test, the u550 lost signal entirely, and was unable to make or receive calls at all.
Even though the u550 didn't exactly lock onto Verizon's signal with all its might, call quality on the u550 was superb. It is one of the better phones we've tested in recent memory. There was no crackling, burbles, hissing or any other strange noises during calls, and conversations were crystal clear. Not only could we hear calls in noisy coffee shops well, but the u550's ear piece speaker was loud enough to be heard during an Iron Maiden concert. Yes, it's that loud. Even at that volume, the speaker did not become distorted. The speakerphone performed equally well. Set to full volume, calls were very audible, even from several rooms away.
The u550 did well with battery life. Despite some serious calling, Web browsing and music listening, we managed to get 3 full days out of it. If you dial back usage, you can get closer to 4 days. There's no doubt that you can go away for the weekend without bringing along your charger.
Jan 14, 2021
Samsung today officially unveiled its Galaxy S21 series of flagship phones for 2021. All three models sport a distinctive new "Contour Cut Camera" design where the metal frame extends around one corner to surround the rear cameras.
Mar 23, 2021
OnePlus today announced the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, its newest flagship phones. The 9 Pro is a true flagship-class phone with a QHD AMOLED display with variable refresh from 1 to 120 Hz, and IP68 water rating, starting at $969.
There have been a number of "smartwatches" for kids in recent years. They all have GPS and let you keep tabs on your kid's location, and offer some limited forms of communication.
Feb 9, 2022
Samsung today announced its lineup of flagship phones for 2022: the Galaxy S22 series. The top-end S22 Ultra sees the biggest changes as it essentially absorbs Samsung's Note series with an integrated S Pen stylus and a more Note-like shape and design, instead of the Contour Cut design of the other models.
Aug 10, 2022
Samsung has announced its newest generation of foldable phones: the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Z Flip4. Both have similar designs and features compared to their predecessors, with a slew of small updates and refinements across the board.