Samsung i780 can be considered the first communicator of the company with a full QWERTY keyboard, as its predecessors such as i320 and i600 were built on Windows Mobile 5 smartphone platform and aren’t considered communicator phones. Samsung SGH-i780, unlike the two previous models, also has a touchscreen, which coupled with its QWERTY keyboard gives the maximum possibilities for entering data.
The buttons of the keyboard are rather small – so small, in fact, that it’s unclear where the company intends to put localized labels, as the buttons can barely fit two symbols at the moment. For entering information in non-English languages, you will need to use the virtual on-screen keyboard; it’s entirely possible that the commercial version of the phone will have this downside as well. Here’s how it looks:
The phone is pretty compact for a communicator; when compared to, say, Nokia’s E61i, the i780 is significantly narrower and slightly longer. Its dimensions are entirely acceptable for a phone of this type and it fits in your hand nicely; you can also reach all the buttons of the keyboard with just one hand. You will only need your other one if you’ll want to use the stylus. Speaking of which, the stylus is telescopic and pretty convenient to use.
There are two additional buttons on the sides of the phone – the volume control on the left, and a programmable button on the right. The memory card slot and the standard Samsung port for connecting headset or the USB data cable are located just above it. You can see all that in the photos below:
The back panel of the phone is made from rubbery Soft Touch plastic. Under it, there’s a pretty large battery. The capacity wasn’t specified on it, but I expect it to be at least 1200 mAh. The back cover when closed stays secured in place without any hint of squeaks or looseness. The speaker and the lens of the built-in camera are located at the top. A photo coming right up:
Continuing with the design of the phone, the block of navigational buttons deserves a note. There are your standard red and green buttons for accepting or dropping the call and a navigational button on each side, as well as Start and OK buttons. What makes it interesting is the touchpad – yes, a touchpad –in the middle. It works similarly to touchpads in notebooks; you can control the cursor on the screen with it, and it’s quite convenient and easy to use. You can set the sensitivity level for it, and it also works as a clickable button.
The phone has a pretty unusual square display using 320×320 resolution (having in mind that most communicators use either 320×240 or new 640×480). Since the aspect ratio is different, there are problems with some software. Several applications, like those from PBS software, either don’t launch at all or don’t fit into the screen completely. Opera, on the other hand, works just fine. If you plan to buy this phone, you need to keep in mind the fact that some software won’t work properly.
The i780 is a good business device with wide possibilities for entering data. Note that if you will only be using the Latin alphabet, you’ll be fine; otherwise, the QWERTY keyboard will be mostly useless to you as it’s very doubtful that Samsung will manage to localize it.
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