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Review: Samsung Highnote

Form Basics Extras Conclusion Comments  14  

Music Camera Photos/Video Browse/Customize Extras  

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Highnote is a plain EV-DO phone, not Rev. A. But Highnote zips along the Internet as fast as most of Sprint's EV-DO non-Rev. A phones, around 7-15 seconds to load a page, depending on that page's graphical content.

Highnote's WAP 2.0 browser defaults to Sprint's aggregated content home page, from which you can cursor down to news, games, sports, entertainment, etc. Within each of these categories are additional sub-menus with links to popular destinations such as CNN.com, ESPN.com, FoxNews.com, USAToday.com, etc. You can change your home page, if you'd like, through the Settings menu.

A Google search bar is included in the One Click carousel, which speeds Web searches considerably since you can skip the content category home page. This carousel Google menu includes links to Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. You can add Google News, Photos, Google SMS, Orkut, Calendar, Reader, Docs and Notebook to this list.

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In case you forget about the independent Google bubble, there's a Google search bar on the content aggregate home page as well. You also can enter a URL via the browser's "go to web address" soft menu option.

 

Customize

Sprint's One Click carousel's claim to fame is its customization options. For instance, you can add "bubbles," which provide direct access to Web-based information sites. There are currently five "bubbles" to choose from to add: Finance (for stock quotes), Horoscope, News, Sports News and Weather. Theoretically, additional bubbles are to be added with firmware updates.

Adding "bubbles" is easy. One of icons in the carousel is a paint brush for personalizing the carousel – changing the ringtone, screensaver or wallpaper, deleting or adding a "bubble." You also can delete some of the carousel icon tiles if you don't want or need quick access to that particular function.

There also is a Shortcuts bubble where you can add direct access icons to functions or applications not already in the carousel. Most of what you'll need semi-instant access to is already represented in the carousel, however, with a couple of major exceptions.

For instance, when connecting the phone to a PC to sync music, et al, you have to go through the Tools menu to switch the phone to PC mode. You can add a shortcut to get to this option, but that's besides the point. The PC knew the Highnote was connected – I got a pop-up window in Vista telling me it was. So why doesn't the Highnote know it's connected and provide a pop-up message to ask me if I want to switch to sync mode, instead of making me drill through multiple menus or create a shortcut?

You can use your own picture or one of the included graphics to decorate your home page. Make sure the picture you choose is in portrait mode – there's no way to crop or rotate a photo to fit within Highnote's display parameters.

You can change the white-on-black dial font from small to large, which produces characters about a third larger, about a fifth of the total screen height. These "large" fonts are still small compared to other models I've seen.

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